[b-hebrew] Exodus 6:3 - was I not known to them.
kgraham0938 at comcast.net
kgraham0938 at comcast.net
Tue Jan 11 21:55:30 EST 2005
@Steven You wrote
Does the Hebrew grammar have grammatical construction or hints that
the verse is interrogatory as opposed to the declarative
"I was not known to them"
- or is the translation decision simply contextual ?
Surprisingly, I checked back a bit, and haven't seen this asked on the forum.
Thanks so much.. excellent forum.
Response: Believe it or not Steve I asked this same question when I first came onto this forum, and only got one response back. The only difficulty that I have with it is that there is no interrogative H in the passage, so the reading is a bit forced.
However we know that not every sentence in Hebrew that is a question has an interrogative. But I don't see why not.
However, Trevor Peterson said this in disagreement to it
"One question that I think needs to be asked is whether we can generalize
at all about polar (yes/no) questions that are not marked with the h-
prefix. Mitchell, which a century later still seems to be the most
comprehensive study of this construction, concludes essentially
(although he does not use the precise term) that the h- is only omitted
on questions with a mood of contraexpectation (aside from two instances
where it would precede the article). It should be noted that he
considers several instances where a question with lo but no h- has been
suggested and finds that they are probably not questions. If he had
judged otherwise in these cases, his results might have been different.
Still, I think caution is merited. It is too convenient to explain away
a difficult assertion by calling it a graphically unmarked question. If
we assume that a polar question can appear without h- under any
circumstances, we almost never have to deal with anything we don't like.
In this particular instance, I don't get any sense of contraexpectation,
so I'd be hesitant to call it a question. It also seems to make more
sense that he mentions only two names here if we read it as a contrast.
Otherwise, why mention two and only two, especially when the first
doesn't seem to be all that common? And why use two full clauses, when
he could have simply listed the names? We'd almost have to suspect a
poetic structure here to explain the cumbersome repetition, but I don't
know that the passage otherwise calls for a poetic reading. I don't know
that you can definitively rule out reading it as a question, but I don't
think I'd go that way myself."
> Hi b-hebrew,
> Since we had some interesting discussions of verses that may be questions,
> I will bring up another, very well known verse, where this issue arises.
> Exodus 6:3
> And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac,
> and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty,
> but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
> Similar to before, my main interest here is grammatical, not translation by
> or the theories of textual consistency, and especially not JEPD theories :-)
> Some translations add a question mark.
> And the KJB translation above appears to be essentially a grammatical
> question - "was I not".
> And perhaps the lack of a question mark means the interrogatory nature is a
> little less forceful,
> more like a rhetorical question.
> Does the Hebrew grammar have grammatical construction or hints that
> the verse is interrogatory as opposed to the declarative
> "I was not known to them"
> - or is the translation decision simply contextual ?
> Surprisingly, I checked back a bit, and haven't seen this asked on the forum.
> Thanks so much.. excellent forum.
> Steven Avery
> Queens, NY
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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