[b-hebrew] Ayin and Ghayin
kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Sep 26 04:51:46 EDT 2005
You asked for it.
I start with the theological position that God exists, that he
communicated with his creation, man, and that God
caused a record of his communication to be written down
in the volume we now call the Bible. Because God is not a
capricious individual, but is consistent in his word and
deed, the record that he caused to be written was exactly
as he wanted it to be, in its original autographs.
Today, all we have are copies of copies, which, because
of man's tendency to err, have copier errors. That's where
textual criticism has a role to determine, as closely as we
are able, which were the original readings and which
Just as in a modern computer, when one changes a
document that was originally written with Shelley Andante
font to Palatino, which looks very different but the
underlying coding remains unchanged, so when the DSS
copiers changed from archaic Hebrew font to square
Aramaic font, it did not change the underlying coding nor
meaning. The same 22 letters were used. That there is
evidence that Hebrew went through an earlier font change
is not evidence that there was an alphabet change
connected with it. There is no evidence of Biblical Hebrew
use of an alphabet with more than 22 letters.
When we look at the internal dating listed in the Bible, we
reckon that Moses wrote in the 15th century BC. He wrote
the Torah, all but possibly the final chapter. Because it
was not an issue in ancient times, there was no polemic
needed to assert this claim, hence none given.
This is not mere tradition, but conclusions based on a set
of philosophical presuppositions. It is this set of
philosophical presuppositions that is used to evaluate
various claims made by tradition, and finds many wanting.
What about Ugaritic? Depending on whose dating you
accept, the oldest texts were written one to three centuries
later, most texts three to five centuries later. That means
that Ugaritic had absolutely no influence in the original
development of Hebrew.
Aramaic? The oldest text listed was from six centuries
later. Again, no documented influence of Aramaic in the
development of Biblical Hebrew.
Like the two examples above, all your conjectures
concerning cognate language influence on Biblical
Hebrew is no more than "What if ...?" games. There is
historical evidence that Aramaic influenced post-Exilic
Hebrew, starting from stylistic clues from within Biblical
literature to the development of Mishnaic Hebrew, but
there is no proof of pre-Exilic influence.
Again, because of philosophic presuppositions which
value history over philosophic reconstruction, I'm not
satisfied with "What if ...?" games in the absence of
That does not mean that the study of cognate languages
is useless in the study of Biblical Hebrew, rather that such
studies have only very limited usefulness. Just because a
cognate language has a certain feature does not mean
that Hebrew ever had that feature, and that includes
>From your previous statements, I'd be very surprised if you
have the same set of philosophic presuppositions as
listed above. It is your different set of presuppositions that
makes you value cognate language study and diss the
I believe that your repeated misrepresentations of my
position is based on a narrow set of religious beliefs that
you have, a fundamentalism that I and others do not
Again, as I said in my last message, the above is not an
attempt to proselytize you, rather it is to show where we
differ, and that that difference is based first and foremost
on philosophical grounds. No amount of data is going to
change either mind as long as the philosophical
differences remain, which is why I have now twice
mentioned that we ought to stop this exchange. I am not
trying to shut you up, it is just that we need to bridge the
philosophical divide before the data has the same
meaning to the both of us.
Do you understand now?
Have a good trip.
Karl W. Randolph.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
> On 9/26/05, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > Yitzhak:
> > OK, I'll answer one question, if only to prevent the issue
> > from coming up again (hopefully).
> > [quoting me]
> > > ...
> > > And you didn't answer my question about why Ugaritic is
> > > not "ancient Hebrew."
> > No, not ever, no way, fergettaboutit, that dog don't hunt,
> > never, etc.
> > The reasons, which are outside the realm of this
> > discussion board
> The above question is well within the realm of the discussion
> list, as far as I know. It is very much related to Biblical Hebrew
> and has much to do with the way we interpret passages in
> Biblical Hebrew.
> > and for good reason, you have à priori
> > rejected and, if you would stop twisting and
> > misrepresenting them, you would recognize as just as
> > intellectually rigorous as your fundamentalism.
> This type of argument, however, is not.
> > It is not
> > mere traditionalism as you opine, but a complete
> > Weltanschauung that recognizes limits to tradition. You
> > have started from a particular religious/philosophical
> > belief which I and many others reject. Within your religious
> > fundamentalism, the data from cognate languages is
> > pretty convincing, but not outside your narrow religious
> > presuppositions.
> Many religious and traditional-believing Jews and peoples
> of all faiths accept what I suggest. You only have to look at
> this list to see that. So that what I suggest has nothing at
> all to do with one's feelings and philosophy vis-a-vis
> tradition. Also, what you suggest is not based in tradition.
> Because tradition says that not only the consonantal text
> but the entire vocalization was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
> > > ` The`` main point of the question is
> > > to force you to consider the different possibilities of
> > > classification.
> > >
> > > Yitzhak Sapir
> > I plan to continue mentioning what I believe, but I won't
> > push it. If you would stop proselytizing long enough, you
> > will find that I and others who share my and similar beliefs
> > are willing to tolerate your beliefs if you mention them on
> > this forum. There's a difference between mentioning one's
> > beliefs and proselytism: the one says "this is how I see it"
> > while the other "to force you to consider" as in the above.
> No. Asking you to look at evidence to see how you relate
> your theory to that evidence is permissible. The next thing
> after you learn Ugaritic and Aramaic would be for you to
> suggest a sensible way by which the phonemes developed
> that would account for the way the phonemes developed in
> those languages and Hebrew. It doesn't have to be the
> correct way or the only way. You simply suggest that what
> I say is not the only way. So I want to see another specific
> way that would explain all the data. No one ever concluded
> Ugaritic and Aramaic were related to Hebrew by looking at
> just a few words or set of words. They learned the language
> and showed systematic relationships across the breadth
> of many many words. That's also why it's not possible to
> show that, say, Hebrew and English are related by pointing
> to some few words that sound similar today. You suggested
> your opinion and I asked you to stand by it. To stand by it,
> you need to explain to me all the evidence from those
> languages. Show me one way, with specifics, as to how
> those phonemes developed. Simply saying you don't have
> time to look at the evidence may work as an excuse, but it
> won't allow you to stand by your assertions which go against
> everything linguists, those same linguists you count on in other
> cases to disqualify the vocalization of the Hebrew Bible, say. In
> this argument, there's simply no excuse for not looking at
> the evidence. Not even thinking I have narrow religious
> I will be away for two weeks now.
> Yitzhak Sapir
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