TOHUW WA BOHUW in Gen & Jer.

Fred Putnam fputnam at
Thu Apr 4 09:43:34 EST 2002


I think that the statement

<snip> The X-QATAL construction implies not consecutiveness but a previous
state: "The earth had been TOHU..." <snip> would be more accurate if it were modified 
to something like:

The main function of w+X-QATAL seems to be to indicate that the event or situation 
described in the clause is *not* consecutive or directly dependent upon that described 
in the preceding clause. It may "flash back" to a situation or event anterior to the 
preceding clause(s), or describe something simultaneous or coterminous to it [or them]. 
Its function reflects the syntax of the clause (as modified by the context and the content 
of the clauses), not the verbal form (as your next sentence accurately implies), since it 
applies, mutatis mutandis, to non-verbal (adjectival, participial) predicates as well.

I have written about this briefly in the Hebrew Bible Insert: A Student's Guide to the 
Syntax of Biblical Hebrew (Stylus Publishing, 1996). [If this offends the list, please 
forgive me; my intent is to point to a resource.]

Best wishes,

Frederic Clarke Putnam, Ph.D.
"Dominus illuminatio mea."

Professor of Old Testament
Biblical Theological Seminary
fputnam at
215-368-5000x150 (office & voice-mail)

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