[b-hebrew] Other languages in the Tanakh

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Nov 14 11:52:21 EST 2003


I hesitate spending even a little on a book that I already know I will use only very sparingly. When I had regular access to the BDB dictionary, I was not impressed by what according to my standards appeared to be rather sloppy lexicography. To me, it appears that that “sloppiness” is at least in part philosophically biased. The only advantage it has over the tools I presently have is its references to cognate languages which, though useful, must be used with caution if needed at all.

As for calling BDB’s philosophy anti-Semitic, I stand by it. True, its main target is Christianity as understood by the Reformers, but one of the ways to accomplish that goal is to denigrate the intellectual and historical accomplishments of ancient Israel, which is anti-Semitic. How can it not be anti-Semitic? Delegitimizing a people’s ancient accomplishments is one way that belittles their descendents today. The German philosophy that was the basis for Gesenius’ work has been refined and developed, and is still taught in theological schools in Europe and America.

More responses are interspersed below.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>

> On 13/11/2003 13:08, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >Peter:
> >
> >Didn’t you just libel me? Or is it just your opinion, which makes it not libel?
> >  
> >
> My defence is that I wrote what was true, or what you had just said was 
> true.
What I just said is true? Then it’s not a wild guess.
> >As for BDB, they were students of Gesenius, and Gesenius was a member of the German rationalist school of the early 19th century. From what I have seen of that philosophical school, particularly as it pertains to their treatment of the Bible and ancient Israel, I don’t see how it is not anti-Semitic. However, this is a “platonic” anti-Semitism that does not advocate violence. Is there anything in this paragraph that is not accurate?
> >  
> >
> The individual statements may be true, or maybe not. Actually probably 
> not, as Gesenius died in 1842 and Brown, Driver and Briggs were still 
> active in 1906. But the logic "A was B's student. B believed X. 
> Therefore A believed X." is not valid. This is attaching guilt by 
> association.

As an amateur musician, I am a student of Bach. By that, I study Bach’s music and incorporate what I learn from it into my own music. There is no way I met Bach personally, but I find it easy to incorporate lessons from Bach because I agree with him philosophically. Likewise, BDB were students of Gesenius and as far as I can tell, agreed with his philosophical presuppositions as well. Some of the details may have been different, but the general framework was the same. (It is from sources outside this discussion group that I have seen indications of the philosophical beliefs of both Gesenius and BDB.)
> >As I wrote earlier, I do not have access to BDB’s dictionary, so I was relying on previous posts to this list as a basis for my response. If previous posts are accurate, and I have no reason to doubt them unless shown otherwise, then how is my response inaccurate? It fits the philosophic pattern.
> >  
> >
> Perhaps you should look at the book (which is widely available and 
> inexpensive) before accusing it in generalised terms ("When a word is 
> found in both Biblical Hebrew and another language, they seem to make 
> the presupposition that the word is a loan word into Hebrew.") on the 
> basis of reports of a small and unrepresentative sample of its contents. 
> Anyway, which particular posts concerning which BDB entries led you to 
> this conclusion? I don't recall anything on the list which could justify it.

In particular that’s how I read Elaine Keown’s posting on this subject on the 11th. Do you think I read more into it than what is there? I know in other aspects, e.g. writing, theological concepts, etc., that’s exactly what BDB did, so it fits the pattern if they did with lexemes as well.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk

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