Etymology: YHVH = haShem (Dave)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Thu Aug 26 21:23:50 EDT 1999


>> > >Someone earlier mentioned a book that detailed etymological origins of
>> > >Biblical Hebrew terms. Could they look this up for us and explain
what the
>> > >book says about SHEM ?  SHEMAYIM? etc. ?
>> >
>> >Etymological studies are interesting enough- but they really do not help
>> >much in understanding either usage or meaning in context.
>> 
>> I disagree. History is the context of all.
>
>This is a nice cliche, and you're certainly free to disagree with Jim's 
>statement.  However, in the context of language, words mean what 
>they mean because a society chooses to use them that way.  

Dave, we have a problem with Hebrew, which you're well aware of: we have no
language users from that society to ask what things mean. All we've got are
the texts, and you can see what sort of problems the list is having with
one aspect of the verb system. If you've got a valid etymology, you can get
closer to understanding. Valid etymology will always provide information
regarding the significance of the language item. Maybe etymological
information of long before may be misleading, but the closer you get to the
time of the usage with your etymology then the more indication you have of
significance.

>How 
>they got where they are is sometimes an interesting study, but it 
>frequently tells us virtually nothing about what the word meant at 
>the time in question.

Got any examples?


Cheers,


Ian





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