Gen 4:1, X + qatal (Bryan)
596547 at ican.net
Wed Feb 10 13:41:39 EST 1999
> > analyze any one clause which seems to move forward the story time, the
> > question is what mechanism or combination of mechanisms moves the story
> > time forward. In BH the wayyiqtol can do it by virtue of its inherent
> > meaning. I suppose the X-qatal may do it exceptionally by virtue of
> > reader's world knowledge, the reading process itself, and maybe some
> > stuff.
> Bryan, I think one could say about the wayyiqtol form what you are saying
about the X
> + qatal. I.e. the fact that the vast majority of verbs used to carry
> story line are wayyiqtols is dictated by something other than the
inherent meaning of
> the form.
Well, I don't hang all my hats on statistical analysis of BH verbs, but we
are talking about overwhelming statistics here. X-qatal expresses sequence
a small minority of the time--no real surprise. It is used to express
simultaneity or anteriority of situations most of the time. It is used to
create a temporal frame into which a narrative fits many times. On the
other hand, we see less than 3% wayyiqtol which do not express sequence and
which cannot be explained. These aren't pretty good indications of
inherent meaning? I.e., my conclusion that X-qatal does not inherently
express sequence is based on a small percentage of times that it does. My
best guess, that wayyiqtol does inherently express sequence, is based on
the tiny percentage of times that it does not.
Liike I said, I am not totally sold on this type of statistical analysis,
primarily because our corpus is a relatively small sample of a language.
So I do have a question: what ratio of positive attestations to
counter-examples invalidates a conclusion? Is 90% good enough for a solid
conclusion? 95%? 98%? We'll never get 100% on anything will we? (I feel
like I am Abraham bargaining for the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah. ;-)
Thus I view Gen 18:7 we'el habbaqar
> rats Abraham as functionally equivalent to wayyarots Abraham 'el
habbaqar, and the
> question for the interpreter is not "why the change in verbal form" (the
> dictated by the change in word order), but "why the change in word
The use of the X-qatal in 18:7 indicates that while Sarah was baking,
Abraham was running. Contrast with the wayyiqtol in 18:8. There Abraham's
taking the butter, etc. is *not* simultaneous with the servant's
preparation of the calf. The calf was prepared, and then Abraham assembled
and presented the meal.
B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13208
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