<wayyiqtol> again

Galia Hatav ghatav at aall.ufl.edu
Thu Dec 30 09:41:57 EST 1999

Rolf wrote:

>Dear Galia,
>I appreciate that you accept the possibility of circularity and look out
>for it. I have for some time been interested in the principles for a
>diachronic study of hebrew verbs, but have found little consensus as to
>which methods to use and which conclusions to draw. There can be no doubt
>that the language is somewhat different in the late books of the Bible
>compared with the earlier books, but I am not aware of any real evidence
>that the basic structure of the verbal system changed between the first and
>the last books of the Bible. If I remember correctly, Alviero some time ago
>expressed the view after studying Ben Sira, that the verbal system was the
>same as in the Bible, and Qimron did not describe any basic changes in the
>verbal system of the DSS in his book on Qumran Hebrew (except that he
>expressed some uncertainty about the role of WAYYIQTOL). My own impression
>from reading the DSS (for instance the Rule of Discipline) is that the
>meaning of YIQTOL, WAYYIQTOL, QATAL, and WEQATAL is exactly the same as in
	In the latest issue of LESHONENU Qimron shows that the temporal
system underwent changes in DSS (but he talks more about the syntax rather
than the semantics). I don't have the article here with me, but if I am not
mistaken, he shows that to happen in LBH as well. I'll re-read the article
and come back to you with a more precise answer.

>Could you please tell us whether Ben-Hayim and Hurvitz and others claim
>that the *semantic meaning* of YIQTOL,WAYYIQTOL, QATAL, and WEQATAL is
>different in Genesis-Kings compared with the other books?

	As for Hurvitz, It seems that I did not recall what he said
accurately. I re-read him now (I am referring to his book from 1972). He
examines a few chapters from Psalms, showing that the book is from a later
period. Unfortunately, he does not make any comment concerning the temporal
system (unless I overlooked it).  As for Ben-Hayim, he does not suggest an
analysis of his own for the temporal system, but he shows that the existing
analyses such as Driver fail to account for it because they do not take
into account the differences between the two periods of the language. (He
also emphasises the importance of analyzing the verb forms separately in
the prose and the poetry texts.)  Ben-Hayim's argument shows you where the
problem is - Hebraists try to expalin the forms all over the Bible as if
there were no differences between the different books.  To my knowledge,
there is no systematic work dealing with the system in the Second Temple
period. I found in Saenz-Bandillos short descriptions. On p. 129 he talks
about the changes in meaning of the form <wayyiqtol> and on p. 142 on the
changes in the form itself. On P. 144, however, he claims that the use of
tenses does not differ essentially in the two periods, but later on that
page he comments "...the tense system was undergoing a transformation."  I
believe a serious study on the verb system in LBH is still to be done.

In that case,
>could you tell us what the difference is and what kind of evidence they
>have. The questions are very important because diachronic research
>evidently is a field which lends itself to circular reasoning. If we have a
>theory about the verbal system which is based upon narrative accounts, and
>it does not fit non-narrative books, it is tempting to claim that the
>non-narrative books use another verbal system. But perhaps it is the theory
>that is wrong! There *may* be more than one system, and therefore it is
>important to hear the claims and see the evidence. To relate this to your
>definition of WAYYIQTOL: Are you saying that we cannot test your definition
>of this form in any of the biblical books except Genesis-Kings? Or will you
>accept a reasonable number of counter examples from these other books as a
>real danger to your definition?

	Unless a study is done about the books from the Second Temple
period, I do not want to commit myself to whether my analysis would be
adequate for them
 ,too, or not.



>Rolf Furuli
>University of Oslo
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