Biblical Hebrew Syntax

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Thu Apr 5 08:32:53 EDT 2001

Rolf, you have been making this point repeatedly on this list at least for
the last couple of years. And I think that we have agreed that your approach
is scientific but does not give definitive answers. Indeed it seems to me
that the only answers it gives are "we don't know". Now possibly we need to
leave it there and accept that the Hebrew verb system is a complete mystery.
But there are other approaches which at least appear to be scientific (not
only "assumptions"), though they are rather different to yours (e.g. not
insisting on this "uncancellable" definition), and which give answers which,
although not exactly definitive, are more positive and helpful than yours.
For example, they don't insist on ignoring the evidence that in narrative
99% or whatever of WAYYIQTOLs have past reference but only 4.3% (your
figures for Genesis and Exodus) of YIQTOLs do. Perhaps these alternative
approaches deserve closer examination.

Peter Kirk

-----Original Message-----
From: Rolf Furuli [mailto:furuli at]
Sent: 04 April 2001 21:33
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: Re: Biblical Hebrew Syntax


... Only when past reference is an uncancellable property
of a certain verb form can it be termed as preterite. This approach will
not give definitive answers, but it is at least a scientific approach and
not only assumptions!


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