Hebrew Syntax.

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Fri Apr 12 08:14:00 EDT 2002


Rolf, I come with the observation that there are prefix forms and suffix
forms, that the latter have a variety of shorter and longer forms, that
some of these forms are prefixed with a simple WAW (which I do not
define a priori to be a conjunction), and that some (at least in the
Masoretic pointing, which needs to be evaluated separately) are prefixed
with WAW, patah and doubling of the initial consonant. No one can claim
to come with no presuppositions, but I am open to recognize those
presuppositions (when pointed out e.g. by you) and attempt to work
around them. But I rule nothing out a priori.

 

Peter Kirk

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Rolf Furuli [mailto:furuli at online.no] 
Sent: 12 April 2002 12:34
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: RE: Hebrew Syntax.

 

Dear Peter,

 

 

Three simple questions in order for me to better understand you: When
you enagage in discourse analysis, do you presume that there are four
different conjugations in  Hebrew (YIQTOL, QATAL, WAYYIQTOL and
WEQATAL)? Or do you start with the observation that Hebrew has
prefix-forms and and suffix-forms, and some of each group are prefixed
by the conjunction WAW? Or are you saying that you have no
presuppositions at all?

 

 

Regards

 

Rolf

 

 

Rolf Furuli

University of Oslo

 

 

 

 

 

Rolf, you have shown here that you totally misunderstand both discourse
analysis and proper scientific procedure. I don't think DA assumes a
priori that these WAWs have different functions. I certainly do not and
have explicitly rejected this view. We are open to both possibilities,
either all WAWs have the same meaning or there are two or more different
meanings. We note that (speaking generally) even the identical form can
have different meanings and/or discourse functions in different
contexts, and also we note a difference of form here which may or may
not be significant. So we do not assume a priori that even the same form
(let alone different forms) must always have the same meaning. This
seems to be your a priori assumption concerning the prefix WAW. You
insist that everyone else follows this a priori assumption. You neither
yourself examine nor allow other to examine the evidence that WAW has
different meanings in different contexts. This is unscientific, and as a
result your whole dissertation, despite its promising introduction, is
fatally flawed. Yes, Rolf, I know those are strong words. I invite
anyone else on this list to tell me if they judge them unjustified.

 

You assert that "if the WAW prefixed to a verb "has a specific discourse
function" this should be true in ALL instances where the WAW is prefixed
to the verb". But this is your assertion and not mine; rather, I suggest
that WAW is polysemous or at least has a range or shades of meaning. My
method would at least in principle allow that even in WAYYIQTOL forms
the WAW may have various different meanings, including a simple
conjunction as well as perhaps various different discourse functions. So
my method cannot be attacked by your demonstrations that not all
WAYYIQTOLs have the same meaning or place in the discourse. Anyway, your
specific examples demonstrate your ignorance of how these verses would
be understood in discourse analysis. In Zechariah 10:3 your "little
doubt that the temporal reference for all the verbs is future" is not
shared by almost all of the English versions on my shelf: KJV, English
RV, Ferrar Fenton, RSV, NRSV, JPS Tanakh, and NLT (Only NIV and TEV
translate the last three verbs as all future, as does LXX) and so your
whole argument is based on an assertion without evidence.

 

Peter Kirk

 

 

 

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