qumran (was ruth)

yochanan bitan ButhFam at compuserve.com
Mon May 3 19:38:28 EDT 1999

rolf commented:
>  "The Rule of
> Discipline" from Qumran, this semester, and the impression I get from
> and other documents, is that even at this late time, the old verbal
> was intact. 

More or less, yes. agreed. (even the poetic 'tense' shifting in hodayot).

> However, a study of the Isaiah "a" scoll and the Habbaquq
> commentary reveal that wayyiqtols and yiqtols could also be used
> interchangeable, as we also find in non-narrative texts in the OT.

I am nervous about the word "interchangeably". 
In communication there are many contexts in which a person can use one
syntactic structure or another. One might say that such structures were
"interchangeable". But the different structures still do different things
with the communication. 
vayyiqtol and yiqtol are different structures. also morphologically
distinct (vayyax is not veyakke.) there are contexts where either might
have been chosen, but that does not make them the same. 

but more importantly, given the above,
the LXX, from a time earlier than our qumran texts above, did not treat
vayyiqtol and yiqtol the same. 
(but yiqtol and veqatal would be treated the same in same contexts.)
i would submit that the LXX translators actually understood the hebrew that
they were translating! 
They occasionally 'improved' the Greek style of their translation but
usually produced a product that fairly transparently shows their own
understanding of the hebrew verbs.
for those who followed the hebrew list discussions: 
the LXX does NOT use a historic present for vayyiqtol, even though greek
itself allows 'historic presents'. likewise, the LXX generally uses aorists
for vayyiqtol and 
LXX is able to use imperfects frequently where the hebrew has either a
yiqtol or veQATAL in a historical narrative.
ki yad`u et ha-safa. 
randall buth

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