[b-hebrew] Syriac ; was BH verbal system
furuli at online.no
Mon Feb 1 02:57:09 EST 2010
I start with a few definitions: The deictic center (C) is the
vantage-point from which an event is seen; event time (ET) is the
time an action takes from beginning to end; and reference time (RT)
is the part of ET that is focused upon or made visible. Aspect is
the relationship between ET and RT and represents non-deictic time
(time that is not defined in relation to the deictic center). Tense
is the relationship between ET and C and represents deictic time.
Languages such as Burmese and Mandarin do not have tense, so we can
only speak of temporal reference and not tense in these languages.
When ET comes before C, the tense is past; when ET comes after C, the
tense is future, and when ET coincides with C, the tense (or temporal
reference) is present. I use "temporal reference" as an alternative,
because, for example, I do not analyze English present as a tense.
Modality indicates how the speaker or writer views the words; it is
related to wish, will, certainty/uncertainty. Indicative relates to
this world, while modality relates to imagined worlds.
Then we look at Matthew, chapter 24. and we start with the QATAL of v. 15.
And English translation can be: "And when you see (QATAL) the
abominable sign of desolation, which was spoken (QATAL) of by Daniel
the prophet, standing in a holy place, then use discernment (NEQTOL,
the same as BH YIQTOL)."
The deictic center is speech time, and there can be no doubt that
reference time (the seeing) would occur after C. Therefore the
reference is future. Do the words refer to this real world or to
imagined worlds? Jesus referred to a prophecy uttered by Daniel, and
his words show that he was certain that the abominable sign of
abomination would come and would be seen. No one would take Jesus'
words as: "If you happen to see the ab.," "you might see the ab...,"
"Daniel's words may have a fulfillment, and in that case, if you se
the ab.." Jesus referred to this world and to a certain situation
that would come in the future. The fact that Jesus exhorts them in a
certain way, is dependent on the fulfillment in this world, and this
fulfillment is not dependent upon the exhortation. Thus, the seeing
event expressed by QATAL is in the indicative and the exhortation is
modal. So, the QATAL form is used with future reference, and QATAL
can therefore not be defined as "grammaticalized past".
We have a very similar situation in v. 33. As an answer to the
question, "what will be the sign of your presence," Jesus mentions
particular events that will occur in this world; in his mind this was
a certainty and not a possibility or a hope. The seeing of these
events would be a reality, and this seeing was not dependent on the
exhortation. So again, the seeing situation is indicative, and the
exhortation is modal.
BTW. Some people would say that future reference always is modal, and
that for example English does not have a future tense. I take the
side of B. Comrie in this case and analyze English future as future
tense. I also analyze Classical Greek future as future tense.
University of Oslo
> >Syriac QATAL is normally
>used with past reference, but in Matthew 24:33
>the QATAL form of the verb XZ) (to see) is used
>with future reference. >
>This sentence also illustrates the need to evaluate how an analyst
>divides and assigns data.
>The verb Hazaytun 'you saw' is in a subordinate clause mo d- 'what that'
>to main clause with an imperative "Know".
>The main command to 'know' indirectly relates to the future,
>but it is specifically in the volitional world,
>"i want you to know" the non-indicative world.
>The subordinate 'seeing' can also be viewed as relatively past to the
>'knowing'. "When you would see, then you should know.."
>So one should not take this Syriac qatal as an unambiguous, simple
>Randall Buth, PhD
>randallbuth at gmail.com
>Biblical Language Center
>Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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