examples: vayyiqtol and adverbs

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Fri Sep 8 07:49:50 EDT 2000


Peter Kirk wrote:


PETER'S QUESTION:

>Dear Rolf,
>
>Perhaps this is not a fair question to a non-mother tongue English speaker.
>But what conjunction would you put between "In the year that King Uzziah
>died" and "I saw the Lord..." in a translation of Isaiah 6:1? I can't think
>of any that fit, if we rule out ones like "however" which come after the
>first element of the sentence, in English but not in Hebrew. That is because
>neither in Hebrew nor in English does one ever find a conjunction between an
>adverbial phrase and the sentence it modifies. Or how else would you
>translate this verse to demonstrate the force of the conjunction?
>
>Peter Kirk
>
>

 PETER'S ATTEMPT OF FALSIFICATION:
>>
>> Peter Kirk wrote:
>>
>> This makes me happy because if we do get even one example I have managed
>to
>> falsify one of Rolf's claims, and if we don't get any examples I can
>safely
>> conclude against Rashi's interpretation, on the grounds that it is based
>on
>> a unique grammatical construction as well as a conjectural emendation of
>> bara' to baro'. ;-)
>>

MY CLAIM THAT HE WANTS TO FALSIFY

>> ... The enclitic WAWs can in *all* instances be explained as mere
>> > conjunctions. You can falsify this claim by pointing to just one example
>> > where a conjunctive meaning is not possible.
>> >
>>


RANDALL BUTH'S EXAMPLES

>> Randall Buth answered:
>>
>> >shalom Peter,
>> >You asked about examples of the following
>> >> To put it another way, this interpretation demands
>> >>that in verse 3 there is a WAYYIQTOL form in a non-sentence-initial
>> >>position.
>> >
>> >I've presented on list the very nice Isaiah 6.1 and Moabite line 4-5? and
>> >31(?) as examples of pure adverbial followed by vav hahippux. there are
>> >others, and you might add any examples of "vayehi (befo`olo) vayya`as..."
>> >contrasting with "vayehi (befo`olo) veha-po`el `asa ..., et al.
>> >
>> >Of course, I wouldn't exactly say 'the conjunctive meaning is not
>> >possible', the question is very poorly phrased for Hebrew. It's looking
>at
>> >the language backwards/inside-out or outside-in, to turn a phrase.
>> >
>>
>>

MY COMMENTS TO RANDALL'S EXAMPLES

>> Dear Peter and Randall,
>>
>>
>> If something looks like a goose, it quacks like a goose, and it smells
>like
>> a goose, it probably is a goose.
>>
>> If something looks like a conjunction, it functions like a conjunction,
>and
>> it can be translated like a conjunction, it probably is a conjunction.
>>
>> None of Randall's examples are really convincing, particularly because WAW
>> can have the force of most English conjunctions. So it is necessary to
>> exclude more than the rendering "and" if one successfully should argue
>that
>> the WAW  before a verb is not a conjunction.


MY PRESENT COMMENTS


Dear Peter,


Your question is not unfair, and even though we both agree that the
subtleties of the source language cannot be argued on the basis of
translations into the target language, attempts to translate a passage may
throw some light on the problems being discussed.

THE VERSIONS

First, the old versions can give some clues. Both the Jacobitic and the
Nestorian Syriac versions treat Is 6:1 as if the WAW  was nonexistent (as
Randall suggests). However, the Syrohexapla (H. Middeldorpf, 1835, Codex
syro-Hexaplaris) introduces the verse with WAW+HAWA ("and it came to
pass"). Targum Jonathan is neutral because it adds the word (MR. The LXX
starts the verse with KAI+GINIMAI,  and the Ge'ez version has a WAW before
)EMZA (when/then), which is the first word of the clause. This means that
the Syrohexapla, the LXX and the Ge'ez version all take "in the year that
king Uzziah died" more like a casus pendens where the WAW of the WAYYIQTOL
plays the same role as the pronoun atached to the verb in the pendens
clause. Example (1) is a typical pendens-construction translated into
English, and (2) and (3) are translations of Isaiah 6:1 in the way the
three versions take it (I use capital letters for the elements that go
together.

(1) GOD, HE  is the one who gives ..

(2) IT WAS IN THE YEAR KING USSIAH DIED, THAT I saw...

(3) IT WAS IN THE YEAR KING USSIAH DIED, THEN I saw...


DIFFERENT USES OF WAW

We must try to learn the minds of the writers of the Tanach by a comparison
of *all* their writings - not even the Modern Hebrew intuition of Randall
can help us do that.

Please consideer Daniel 10:18; (4) and (5) are literal translations, the
difference being the subject of the first WAYYIQTOL.

(4) Then he acted again (WAYYIQTOL) and he touched (WAYYIQTOL) me.

(5) And it happened again WAYYIQTOL) that he touched (WAYYIQTOL) me.

Example (4) is quite unnatural but (5) is better. The point, however, is
that the first WAYYIQTOL has an adverbial relationship to the second, but
still the second has a prefixed WAW. An idiomatic translation would be (6).

(6) And again he touched me.

There are many instances where WAW  seems to be unnecessary or superfluous
from our standpoint, but where we need to learn the thoughts of the
ancients. One example is Ezekiel 12:28 where we find a construction
comparable to a pendens-construction with a WEYIQTOL. Both the construction
of the verse and the Masoretic pointing suggests that the noun DBR should
be taken together with (SH. The seemingly superflous WAW may have been
written for the sake of emphasis, as I try to express in (7)

(7) Not any of my words will be delayed any longer; that word, yes it shall
be done.


Also consider the following places in the prophets, where WAW  has the
meaning "then","even","certainly" etc Ezekiel 25:13 N+H; 26:16 YRD; 30:6
NPL, 30:20 $BT; 32:3 PR&, 34:20 $PT; 35:11 (&H; 38:10 HYH; 39:23
(WAYYIQTOL) YD(; Daniel 8:25
CLX, Zechariah 14:16 (LH.


ISAIAH 6:1

There are several possibilities for understanding and translating this
verse and at the same time account for the WAW. Example (8) stresses the
difference between what Uzziah and Isaiah experienced. Example (9) stresses
the exact time of the vision. Example (10) just tells when the prophet got
the vision. A parallel where "It was" is expressed explicitly, is Isaiah
37:1.

(8) In the year that king Uzziah died, I, however,got to see YHWH..

(9) In the year that king Uzziah died, then I saw YHWH..

(10) It was in the year that king Uzziah died, that I saw YHWH...


I certainly think I smell goose, or better, I certainly think that I smell
goose.



Regards

Rolf


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo


















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