[b-hebrew] Basic question on vowel points and verbals

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Jul 19 13:09:06 EDT 2003

On Saturday 19 July 2003 06:43, waldo slusher wrote:
> Please pardon my basic questions, but I am very new to
> Hebrew. In fact, I am reading an Introduction to
> Hebrew for the first time. The author (Allen Ross)
> indicates that vowel points were created in the 7th to
> 9th centuries by the Masoretics. Back when the OT was
> written, I am assuming that Hebrew did not use vowel
> points. As I was reading on the Qal, Niphal, Piel, and
> Pual, I was understanding the author to say that some
> of these verbal stems are distinguished BY THEIR VOWEL
> POINTS. Am I right in assuming that these stems were
> distinguished in OT times based on CONTEXT/USAGE
> rather than any formal markings?

Pretty much.  As with modern Hebrew, native speakers generally know when a set 
of consonants denotes this or that stem.  The Masoretes tried to preserve the 
pronunciation tradition that had come down to them, and overall they did a 
good job of it.

> Also, perhaps I haven't read far enough, but so far,
> no indication has been forthcoming of the Hebrew verbs
> TEMPORAL nature. The author has yet to say whether or
> not the Hebrew verbal system is TEMPORAL, ASPECTUAL,
> or BOTH. Which is it, or is this a debatable topic?

It's very much debated.  Check out the archives of this list for some of the 

And while I'm at it, welcome to Hebrew!  Don't hesitate to let us know where 
we can help.

Dave Washburn
"God does a lot of things in the Psalms
that He can't get away with in systematic theology."

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