vav conversive

myron kauk myronkauk at
Mon Sep 6 16:18:26 EDT 1999


Dave Washburn write

>We're still undecided on exactly what it
>does, and there are at least three opinions that I know of on this
>list alone, but conversion to an opposite tense isn't among them
>that I'm aware of.

I'm interested to know what those three opinions are.  What is the current
state of the discussion?

I learned in beginning Hebrew that a waw-consecutive expressed logical or
temporal consecution without changing the aspect of the imperfect.

I later studied advanced Hebrew under B. Waltke and was exposed to the idea
that there originally were two preformative conjugations, one of which is
partially preserved by the waw-resultative as Waltke calls it.  According to
Waltke, the waw-resultative 1) has consecutive force, 2) is conservative in
that it preserves the old short preformative conjugation, and 3) is
conversive in that it results in a perfective force for the preformative
conjugation which otherwise has non-perfective force.  At least I think this
is a fair brief representation of Waltke's views.  However, I know that
Waltke's understanding is not universally accepted either.

After spending 3+ years in pastoral ministry I find myself back in Academia
and teaching both Hebrew and Greek (I consider myself stronger in Greek).
What I tell my students is

        1) there is no tense in the Hebrew verb, only aspect.
        2) the waw-consecutive expresses logically or temporally consecutive
        3) due to wide-spread disagreement as to what happens to the aspect
of an imperfect governed by a waw-consecutive it is best not to press
aspectual issues in such cases.  What seems clear is that action of the verb
following a waw-consecutive is somehow subordinate to the action of the
preceding verb.

I realize I have probably opened a hornets nest.  Treat me as an honest
investigator.  I have no drum to beat.  I'd simply like to know what the
current state of the discussion is.  Is the situation still as murky as when
I was last in the classroom or have things become more settled.  I'd like to
know where to look for a defense of the different views.

OK, that's enough.  Have at me.

Grace be with you,

Myron C. Kauk

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