Biblical Hebrew Syntax
lyosovs at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 2 19:28:40 EDT 2001
David, Peter, and Trevor,
1. Since qtl (the new perfect) is a shared West-Semitic innovation,
distinguishing Akkadian/Eblaitic from all other Semitic languages, it must
have arisen (according to standard Stammbau view) before the separation of
West-Semitic into Central and South groups. Canaanite elements in Amarna
correspondence (~XV BC) suggest a fully developed Canaanate language,
distinct from Aramaic. This brings West-Semitic linguistic unity early into
the second millennium or so. I assume that as soon as the qtl developed out
of stative, the question of distribution qtl vs. old preterite arose, - and
eventually it led to the disappearance of preterite yqtl. This was the
reasoning behind my question. Hebrew and Moabite epigraphic show
coexistence of qtl and waw-yqtl in the same narration, so it is natural to
infer that waw-yqtl was becoming obsolete in the literary language, as
R.Garr correctly stated in his Dialect Geography.
2. I am still very interested in getting bibliographical suggestions about
autocommentary/asyndetic clauses in narrators speech. I do not think the
phenomenon passed unnoticed by scholars. I do believe it has to do with
pragmatic relief of narrative prose, as Dave mentions.
I outlined a preliminary classification of narrators aparts, starting
from asyndetic remarks to the reader, and then including (alas, guided more
by intuition than by formal criteria) clauses introduced by al ken, raq, az
and some of ki causale. Examples adduced in an earlier posting were of the
purest type: wehabbor req: `en bo mayim; or wayyaSem be`edom neCibim: bekol
`edom Sam neCibim, i.e. (partly) tautological remarks, often containing a
delta of information. The authors rationale could be to single out a piece
of information and as it were to revolve it in the direction of the
reader, extracting it (by deleting waw) from the narrated world. There is a
fine example of it in Yavneh-Yam inscription: wyqH `t bgd bdk .. ..: lkH `t
bgd bdk, - exactly like in some passages of 1Sam! More examples: 1 S 14:15,
1 Sam 17:13, Gen 18:11 (Hadal lihyot leSara `oraH kannaZim) 1 Sam 6:12.
These are what I would call unpredictable autocommentaries = purest
type. Many more are formalized, depend on contents and are lexically and
This brings us to the next issue.
Sure, Ju 1:21b might seem a Gegenbeispiel: wayyeZeb goes (contradictorily)
with ad hayyom hazzeh. But: 1. the author is free not to use the
autocommentary format if it is optional, i.e. if speech etiquette does not
make it obligatory. 2. This kind of phrase they somethinged (closed list of
possible contents) ad hayyom hazzeh always (as it seems) goes with waw. I
noticed it and thought it might be an intentional combination of two
pragmatic tasks becoming a cliche. At least, I know of no contexts like
yaZab/yeZeb bGN ad hayyom hazzeh.
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