The "times" of Isaiah

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Sun Aug 15 22:35:53 EDT 1999

Dear Rolf,

Thank you for your clear and helpful answer.

Let me take up just one point, from the paragraph which remains below.

First, I have not mentioned discourse analysis in this immediate 
discussion, but, yes, I believe it is relevant. But, more to the 
point, you seem to be forgetting that there has been a continuous 
tradition of interpretation and translation of the Hebrew text since 
at least the time of the LXX translation, and there is at least a good 
probability that this, in general terms, accurately reflects the 
meaning of the Hebrew. So we do not need to treat the text as if it 
was a newly discovered archeological find in a previously unknown 
language. Also, of course, we can get a good idea of the meanings of 
the Hebrew verb forms from their usage in simple contexts where the 
time etc relationships are clear, as in narrative and such passages as 
Exodus 25-40. We can then use the results of these studies to inform 
our studies of more complex texts like Isaiah. I accept that this 
process could be considered as "inductive", but I do not accept that 
it is thereby invalidated, and indeed it can be at least partially 
validated if it gives a meaningful and consistent explanation of the 
text which we have. I believe it does this, though of course there 
remain a small number of problem places.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[3]: The "times" of Isaiah
Author:  furuli at at internet
Date:    15/08/1999 06:59

Dear Peter,


Many of those who are much engaged in discourse analysis behave as if they 
*knew* the meaning of the Hebrew forms (just as you know English), or 
rather, they fix the meaning beforehand (of course on the basis of an 
inductive study of a part of the Hebrew text), and then they do discourse 
analysis on the basis of the meaning they ascribe to each form. This is of 
course necessary, for how can we do discourse analysis if we do not *know* 
the meaning of each form? However, this kind of exercise tells very little 
about the very *meaning* of each form, it only shows patterns where 
particular forms tend to occur, and of course, it is circular.  Discourse 
analysis should be used as one tool among others, not as "way, the truth, 
and the life".


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