Is R)$YT even a "time" word?

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Fri Mar 22 19:37:08 EST 2002

>I am not "redefining time phrases and clauses".  I am questioning whether
>R)$YT is considered as a time word in the Hebrew language.  

As I have said Paul, I'm not talking about r'$yt, but 
br'$yt. When did Jeremiah received the word of God? 
At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. It answers 
a when question. It is therefore a time phrase. This 
is not a difficult concept and I see no reason for 
even questioning it.

>The fact that it
>can be tied to (W)YHY, which is clearly a time word in the narratives, does
>not make R)$YT a time word just because there are other cases where time
>words plus the beth are used in similar situations.  In fact, it weakens the
>case, as it makes it an event which the writer felt needed a clear time
>qualifier to bring out the time aspect.

It shows that br'$yt operates just as bywm does. It's 
that simple.

>Your whole case on associating the clauses Gen 1 with 
>BR)$YT is made on

Not my whole case, Paul. I have clearly listed three 
reasons why I do it. 

>parallelism between time words which are clearly that 
>(normally day), words that are by definition a duration 
>of time, and R)$YT, which is by basic definition the 
>first item in a series.  

Sorry, Paul, but if I say in English, at the beginning of 
June, it's a time phrase. If I say I was born at the 
beginning or the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it is simply a 
time phrase. If Jeremiah is said to have received the word 
of God at the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, one 
would normally take that as a when. Your doubts about this 
matter have nothing to do with the Hebrew. I can't think 
of any reason why you even venture to postulate the idea. 
It doesn't stem from the text or normal understandings of 
the phrases under question. 

>I would not disagree that generally
>BR)$YT refers to time.  I do not agree, however, that dropping off the beth
>results in a time word.  Therefore, by your declaring it as such without
>clear justification is actually *you* redefining the term "time word".

I've never talked of "dropping off the beth". And if I 
have ever talked of a time word, then it was a slip. I 
have consistently talked of time phrases. br'$yt, bywm,
b`t (and what is connected to them). When it is an 
answer to a when question then it is a time phrase. 
There is no redefinition on my part: this is just you 
retorting a previous statement of mine. You hadn't 
thought of this little number before I pointed out the 
relation whith other time phrases, so now you are 
trying to say that it is not a time phrase. You get the 
chronology here? What I would like to know is your 
motivation for reinventing the significance of br'$yt.

>So I am not asking you to justify that BR)$YT is a time word.  The beth is
>common to both sides of your proposed parallel structures.  You still do
>need to show that R)$YT is a time word, as is YWM, for your parallelism to
>hold forth.  

You're talking about r'$yt for some reason. As there is 
no reason to talk about the term without the b-, for 
that is what we need to analyse, let's get back to the 
subject: if the phrase of which br'$yt is the start 
responds to the question "when" then the phrase is a 
time phrase. There is no need to talk about r'$yt per 

>I trust you can see the difference between what I am asking,
>and what you have argued below.

Sorry, but I can't.

>I'm afraid that I'm not the one making the stretch here.

You're simply trying to invent a new meaning to br'$yt, so 
that it's not parallel to other such time phrases.

The bottom line is, if br'$yt is a response to when, which 
is the only important criterion. As such it is directly 
analogous with bywm and b`t, "on the day" and "at the time". 
It is simply less frequent. As both bywm and b`t take 
clauses there is no reason to believe that br'$yt doesn't as 
well. In fact, br'$yt, which is qualified in all other uses, 
makes perfect sense as a time reference qualified by what 
follows, and, without qualification, doesn't yield much sense 
at all without an overlay of two thousand years of erroneous 
eisegesis of the dequalified phrase.

If you accept that br'$yt responds to when as in the examples 
from Jeremiah, then I don't see why you are arguing here. 
Attempting to say that bywm must be a duration because ywm is 
not punctiliar seems to miss the point. "I got married on the 
first day of June" is functionally equivalent to "I got 
married at the beginning of June", where the first would 
involve bywm and the second br'$yt. Semantic content comes 
from words and context, not just words alone.


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