Dr. Friedman's theory about the songs being evidence for the later arrival of the Levites seems to be busted because of the weird date it gives for the Exodus. Not to mention the general flimsiness; the fact that Levites aren't mentioned in the song of Deborah has no significance.
That doesn't mean the Levites couldn't have been the only group to leave Egypt, just that trying to prove that through the songs is silly. Still, why ascribe to a belief that completely disembowels Judaism by making the epiphany at Sinai (for example) one that was not shared by all the Jewish people? This is just worse than accepting things at face value; worse even than non-belief.
There is an argument that the Song of Deborah is pre-monarchic but that may be circular in that the united kingdom is most probably mythical. Therefore a date of 12th or 11th century is probably partially based on a monarchy arising in the 11th. One also has to wonder if the tent is an anachronism -
Most blessed of women be Jael, Wife of Heber the Kenite, Most blessed of women in tents. (Jdg 5:24 TNK)
It's not clear if tents existed before the Iron Age - continuing
25 He asked for water, she offered milk; In a princely bowl she brought him curds.
26 Her left hand reached for the tent pin, Her right for the workmen's hammer. She struck Sisera, crushed his head, Smashed and pierced his temple.
27 At her feet he sank, lay outstretched, At her feet he sank, lay still; Where he sank, there he lay -- destroyed.
Shining Stars of Davida: Deborah, Jael, and Sisera's Mother - http://starofdavida.blogspot.com/2011/0 ... -jael.html
Sisera asked her for water; however, she gave him milk. One reason for this may have been that dairy induces sleepiness (a fact that Judith knew well), and Jael wanted to put Sisera to sleep.
Maybe I have a dirty mind but perhaps this has something to do with sex.
In reviewing Dr. Friedman's work, he seems to have concentrated on Women's issues. Therefore his fascination with the song of Deborah and referring to the song of the sea as the song of Miriam is understandable.
One of the ironic things about Women's studies is that they usually have a prurient side and Song of Deborah is no exception.
TNK and JPS both give "At her feet" while the Hebrew is actually closer to "between her legs." It goes almost without saying that many commentators think there was sex/rape going on.
29 The wisest of her ladies give answer; She, too, replies to herself:
30 "They must be dividing the spoil they have found: A damsel or two for each man...
This sort of recalls the SecretAlias cup thread. "Damsel" is an overly polite translation of רַ֤חַם
which means womb (I don't believe it can be found anywhere else in the bible) and a correct English rendering would be cunt.
Anyway, the correct dating of this is far from clear. My guess is it's not that much older than the rest of Judges.