Fw: The "times" of Isaiah

Paul Zellmer zellmer at digitelone.com
Sun Aug 15 19:12:48 EDT 1999


According to the "sent" times, you must have sent a copy of the message
to which this one is responding about three hours after you sent the
copy to me.  A quick glance showed it seemed to be the same message, so
I'm forwarding this interim response to the list as well.


----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Zellmer <zellmer at digitelone.com>
To: Rolf Furuli <furuli at online.no>
Sent: Sunday, August 15, 1999 11:31 PM
Subject: Re: The "times" of Isaiah

> I guess we're offlist for a reason.
> Rolf, this is not a complete response, as I have only a bit of time
> right now.  But there are a couple of statements to which I would like
> to address.
> You said,
> > I see several problems problems with your translation. The most
> important
> > one is the lack of collocation wit the rest of the book. A collegue
> mine
> > who is a native speaker of English and a translater (into Norwegian)
> as
> > well, confirmed what I allways have been taught: Simple past used in
> > descriptions and accounts indicates (if the contrary is not clearly
> states)
> > that an act was terminated before speech-time. Your use of past
> with
> > the singular subject creates two problems: (1) It signals that a
> particular
> > person working in the past is meant. (2) It signals that his acts
> > terminated in the past. I therefore find your translation ( choice
> tense
> > and mood) unatural, and more important: It does not collocate with
> > other messages of Isaiah: "You still live in your sins!" I look
> forward to
> > hear whether other translations use past tense.
> I apologize, but I was apparently under the mistaken impression that
> were talking about the timing as found in the Hebrew text, not the
> timing as would be produced in an English translation.  I did indeed
> state something earlier which you apparently overlooked or forgot by
> this time:
> > >How do you arrive at this "timing" determination?  Is it based only
> on
> > >the common English (and perhaps other European language) texts?  Is
> > >there really anything in the Hebrew text to prevent it from being
> > >translated, "Thus said YHWH"?  I was taught that the use of the
> present
> > >in cases results in a more vivid text, but that is an *English*
> And I also stated in two different posts that the translation was
> purposefully wooden.  There was no attempt made to put it into
> colloquial English grammatical structure.  But any translation you
> at *would* try to adjust for the receptor language grammatical
> structure.  One of my problems with your timing analyses is that they
> seem to assume that English or some other modern European language
> structure represents the "correct" universal timing of a class of
> communication.  Rolf, there is no restraint that demands Hebrew (or
> other language) to be expressing something in the present just because
> that is how English grammar structure expresses that concept.
> You might have a problem with my term "timeless" just like you
> Peter's term of gnomic.  By the way, I would also have a problem with
> Peter's classification.  My term was put in quotes and hyphenated to
> show I was referring to something other than is normally indicated by
> the term.  The point I was trying to make was that the focus was more
> the activity than on the time of the activity.  English uses the
> to do this, and Hebrew appears to use the same forms that is used in
> prose to describe historical events.  So my wooden translation
> that "historical" form of the source language text.
> You also stated:
> > You did not answer my question regarding the temporal meaning of the
> > different verb forms.
> I did not refer to that question, because you never asked it of me.
> (Didn't you ask something like that of Peter?)  But, had you done so,
> would have not answered it anyway, because the question does not
> to the statements that I made in my response to your initial post.  If
> that question was in the initial post, I do not recall it.  It was
> probably hidden in the middle of the data for which I had no way of
> verifying or not.  (This borders on that question game that I said I
> not going to get involved in.  Why don't we work with specific
> Then we actually do seem to come to an understanding where each other
> coming from, even if we never seem to agree!)
> BTW, if you do repost your response to the list, perhaps you might
> include in your form markings whether the verb is clause initial or
> I do believe you realize that that little fact is important to the
> verbal treatment that you are bringing into question.
> Oh, and just one quick observation, hoping that you realize that I do
> plan on a more complete response in the future.  (I will touch on the
> passage that I personally consider my favorite, Is 59, at that time.):
> In the treatment of 44:18-19, I purposely did not include them because
> the we had there another element which would have cause the
> of analysis to become much too long for the list.  In brief, however,
> you do realize, I'm sure, that speech in the Tanakh just like speech
> every day occurrences switches back and forth between historical forms
> and predictive forms and all other forms.  The quote in verse 19 does
> indeed seem to start off with a historical form, but then, with what
> marked as yiqtols and weyiqtols, I see those as cohortatives, a
> form of discourse.  The quote formula makes a difference in the
> application of the theory, Rolf.  (Sometimes I get the impression that
> you actually do know this, and you're just seeing if we know it as
> well!)
> More later.  Please be patient with a busy man.
> Paul

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