[b-hebrew] Re Ezk 3:14 in the heat of my spirit
srshead+bh at gmail.com
Wed Jan 21 16:10:32 EST 2009
No, I don't think XOMAH is conceptually related to heat. Why should it be?
Words of similar form will sometimes be conceptually (and etymologically)
related, but this is by no means always the case. "Tune" is related to
"tuner", but not to "tuna".
In the case of XOMAH, I am not aware of evidence from other languages of a
recurring relationship between the concepts WALL and HEAT. If you could show
me such cross-linguistic evidence, or even evidence within BH itself of a
conceptual connection along with an explanation as to why it might have
arisen, we would need to consider the possibility. But with XEMAH "anger",
there is indeed a recurring connection across diverse languages, and a very
obvious explanation. So your counter-question has very little to do with my
I am aware that my approach to BH is very different from yours, in that I
consider Hebrew to be no different, in principle, from any other language,
and amenable to the standard modern linguistic analyses.
Indeed, one of my areas of interest is the study of conceptual metaphors in
BH, and the way in which common conceptual "mappings" (like HEAT IS ANGER),
which have been observed in modern languages, can aid us in lexical
semantics of BH. From my research, I personally think there is much to be
gained in looking at the ways in which such mappings are manifested in BH.
Centro de Estudios Pastorales
---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu>
> To: Stephen Shead <srshead+bh at gmail.com <srshead%2Bbh at gmail.com>>
> Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2009 15:16:54 -0500
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Re Ezk 3:14 in the heat of my spirit
> So, do you think that XOMAH, 'wall', is also related to heat, possibly
> because it keeps the enclosed town cozy and warm?
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> On Jan 20, 2009, at 2:29 PM, Stephen Shead wrote:
> George (and Oun and others),
>> You said: "You may see two concepts, but Hebrew does not." I'm afraid I
>> disagree - and you go on to contradict yourself, in your example about
>> "run", where you say: "The concepts are very far apart, and yet the one
>> is used for all of them." This is the point of metaphoric language: if
>> is an obvious correspondence or conceived connection between two different
>> CONCEPTS, that construed connection will often show itself in a language;
>> i.e. one word (or word family) can serve for multiple concepts. In my
>> if a translation doesn't attempt to wrestle with the question at a
>> conceptual level, it isn't a (good) translation at all.
>> The construed connection between the physical/experiential concept HEAT
>> the emotional concept ANGER is well documented in the linguistics
>> literature, and (as far as I understand) exists in diverse language
>> families. Presumably this has to do with the fact that we become hotter
>> redder) when we become angry. So a connection between XOM "heat" and XEMAH
>> "anger" is entirely to be expected, and should not be written off as
>> accidental. Conversely, it is almost always obvious in the context whether
>> an emotional or a physical state is meant.
>> And as an aside to Isaac Fried, your root analysis of XOM/XEMAH ("XEMAH,
>> 'anger', needs have nothing to do with heat") ignores this
>> data in favour of your theory about the Hebrew root system.
>> What to do with Ezekiel 3:14, then? Firstly, Bill Rea suggested "heat" as
>> his initial translation. But even if you translate it as "heat", surely
>> are interpreting it metaphorically. You're not suggesting that Ezekiel was
>> out in the sun too long and wanted a drink and some shade? If not, it's
>> kind of emotional state - which is confirmed by the parallel with MAR
>> "bitter", and the phrase itself "XEMAH of my spirit". So what kind of
>> emotional "heat"? Leaving it completely uninterpreted simply avoids the
>> translation issue and hides behind a "gloss".
>> Secondly, XEMAH seems to refer very consistently either to "poison" or to
>> "rage, wrath". That is, there are two clear-cut and common senses
>> so we need a strong indication of something else here. Does "poison" work
>> metaphorically here (meaning something similar to bitterness)? That is
>> less likely than "rage" in my opinion, given that "rage" is the obvious
>> "emotional state" sense. (In fact, it never actually means "heat" in the
>> physical sense, unless I'm missing something, so why would we translate it
>> as that?)
>> So after all that, I think it is pretty straightforwardly "anger of my
>> spirit". That would leave us with the more interesting question of WHY he
>> goes away in a rage - and Bill's thoughts sound good to me. And perhaps a
>> little rage at the people's sin was needed to make him hard and unmoveable
>> (cf. 3:8-9)?
>> Stephen Shead
>> Centro de Estudios Pastorales
>> Santiago, Chile
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