Deut. 4:26

Reginald Wallace Ponder, Jr. rwponder at
Fri Sep 29 14:56:41 EDT 2000

   Dear Ben -- Thanks for your reply.  It has been helpful in solidifying
my thoughts on Deut. 4:26.  I have responded specifically to some of your
observations below.

You wrote:

>  Dear Reggie,
>  No doubt the b-hebrew gurus will answer you in full. My "take" is that only
>  the Consonantal Text is "given" (the KeTiB), and that the pointing is added
>  by the Massoretes to facilitate our construing of the text. So no canonical
>  authority is invested in the pointing, ISTM.

   I agree that no canonical authority is invested in the pointing, though
it does represent the work of some of the best scholars in a community
that had been using the texts liturgically for centuries.  In other words,
it represents in most cases the consensus of Synagogue practice in that
day.  This certainly is not infallible, but it seems basically reliable to
me, with a few exceptions.
>  The penultimate word is certainly taken by translators to be the Niph`al
>  Infinitive Absolute even though it is pointed Hi$$FMeD (inf construct with
>  tsere) instead of Hi$$FMoD (inf absolute with holem). The LXX (Brenton) has
>  ALL' H EKTRIBHi EKTRIBHSESQE - clearly for the Infinitive Absolute emphasising
>  the verbal idea of the root $-M-D.

   Thanks for pointing out the witness of the LXX.  I have the LXX in my
study, just a shelf or so below my Biblia Hebraica, and I do read Greek,
so I should have pursued that avenue myself.  Good reminder.  -- RWP
>  I was always taught to be cautious about conjectural emendations of the
>  sacred KeTiB. Now the Pointing - that's fair game...
   I agree: Caution is the appropriate approach.  The only question that
remains is the question in my original post on this topic about the uses
of the infinitive at various stages in the development of the language. 
The history of the language just is not my area.  I hope that, as you have
expected, the "b-hebrew gurus" will answer me in full on this matter.
I really appreciate your response. Shalom -- RWP  
>  Shalom
>  Ben
> -- 
>  Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
>  <ben.crick at>
>  232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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