lyosovs at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 31 13:45:57 EST 2001
Thank you for answering me.
Though I work mostly in Moscow, I am familiar with the evergrowing
textlinguistic literature on BH. All the mentioned books of the Longacre
school (and some more) happen to stand on my bookshelf, though I have not
read all of them with equal attention. I started exploring the problem 5
years ago, when I felt there is a certain enigma in BH waw. I had known
Harald Weinrichs Tempus since my Uni years (vom Haus aus I am a Romanist)
and was excited to learn that his project of Textlinguistics was extensively
used by W.Schneider and later by Nicacci. But my (hopefully unwarranted)
suspicion is that this trend in BH studies is not unlike Literary Criticism
in Biblical Studies, i.e. it is partially determined by gender-correct
political (financial?) circumstances rather than by a meaningless pursuit of
(uncapitalized) truth wherever it might lead.
I am looking for fellow co-claimers to discuss, inter alia, two things.
1. On a very concrete level, apposition (?) without waw in narrators
speech, cf. 2 Sam 8:14; 1 Sam 6:12a; 14:15, 35; 17:13a, Gen 37:24b, etc.
about 50 contexts, mostly in Sam and the Story of Josef. (I have a full list
of contexts in Gen through 2 Kings.) I labelled this autocommentary and I
know of no specific treatment of the subject. Recently I came across a
couple of my contexts in Gibsons Syntax, and a colleague told me there
was an article on what I call autocommentary: Livnat Z. and Sela M.
"Apposition - the third relation?" Leshonenu 59 (1995) 57-70 (Hebrew). I
have been as yet unable to get the text of this article. I feel this
phenomenon of waw-less clauses in narrators speech might be important for
a understanding of BH syntax.
2. On a very speculative level. I have never seen an explanation of how it
became possible that narrative wyqtl was used (only) in Ancient Hebrew
(epigraphic evidence), Old Aramaic, Deir-Alla, Moabite and in various
Epigraphic Old South Arabian languages. In Ugaritic narrative waw-less
Kurzform der Praefixkonjugation is extensively used (examples see in
Tropper, Ugaritische Grammatik, S.697 f.). I feel that since BH is no
language, but rather a collection of texts whose language has little to do
with languages actually spoken by the texts authors, one is destined to
have hard time explaining the famous enigma of the BH verbal system in
synchronic terms. Indeed, if narrative aoriste/preterite is a vestige of a
Semitic linguistic state before the appearance of the new perfect
(sometime in the first half of the II millennium BC?), how one explains its
presence (verging on disappearance in favour of perfect), almost always with
waw, in various languages of the first half- and mid- first millennium? Is
there a consensus explanation of this phenomenon? I feel the real enigma is
how nations who first obtained literacy (and actually writing systems) at
the time when qtl must have long ago replaced (short) yqtl as THE past tense
in their respective speech types, - how did they manage to preserve this
archaism in their late-born literary languages? Was it an independent
development in each (or some) of these languages, or was it a shared
heritage of what? Or is there a third explanation possible?
Ugaritic is (in this respect) of course, a separate, but still a burning
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