evolution of the suffixed forms (Gesenius)

Bryan Rocine brocine at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 16 13:31:38 EDT 1999


I have a take on the following sentence from Gesenius that
you might find interesting.  I don't have a German Gesenius
available to me locally, so some of you who do have a German
Gesenius may be able to inform my interpretation.  If so,

Here's Gesenius' first sentence on the meaning of qatal
(sect. 106):

"The perfect [qatal] serves to
express actions, events, or states, which the speaker wishes
to represent from the point of view of completion, whether
they belong to a determinate past time, or extend into the
present, or while still future, are *pictured as in their
completed state*." (emphasis mine).  I think it's worth
bringing emphasis to two points.  First, Gesenius views the
verb forms as expressing subjective viewpoints; that is, a
situation is represented with a viewpoint that the writer/
speaker is more or less free to choose.  I agree.

Second, he asserts that the qatal represents a situation as
a (completed) state, and, in fact, I do not think the word
*completed* adds anything essential to the description.  In
the corresponding passage on the yiqtol (his imperfect), he
does not use the word *state* at all, because, IMO, he
cannot do so and still correctly describe the meaning of the
form.  Instead he says the yiqtol represents those
situations "...which are
regarded by the speaker at any moment as still continuing,
or in the process of accomplishment, or even as just taking
place" (sect. 107).  Again, and for what it's worth, I



B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

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(home) 315.479.8267

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