[b-hebrew] Contextual Semantic Domains

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sat Nov 22 12:23:51 EST 2003

On 21/11/2003 20:02, Karl Randolph wrote:

>Dear Peter:
>Earlier I wrote that I thought that lexographers should write definitions as the words are actually used, and not according to our philosophical or theological presuppositions.
>This is an example of what I mean. I read some of the verses differently than Reinier de Blois with the result that I disagree with his detailed definitions. I agree with the core definition that XSD means kind actions (often not deserved) but I don’t see “*noun * = attitude of commitment towards fulfilling one's obligations; these may be obligations defined within the context of a covenant or agreement, or moral obligations to do well to someone who did well to you before; ST people, deities” as part of the definition itself, rather I see most of this as theological or philosophical reading back into the term the presuppositions of the lexicographer.
>I’m reminded of a poet who, when he heard one of his poems discussed in a literature class, came away surprised at all the insights in the poem that he didn’t know ever existed. Likewise, most of the definition (I looked at the site and checked some of the verses cited) I don’t see how he got it.
>Karl W. Randolph.
I think the point here is that you understand XESED quite differently 
from Reinier. You understand the core meaning as "kindness" (and here 
you agree with BDB for once!), but Reinier understands the core meaning 
as more like "loyalty" or "faithfulness", which are one word summaries 
of his definitions. These notions are not the same, as you seem to 
suppose, but rather fundamentally contradictory: in English, loyalty is 
fulfilment of obligations, whereas kindness is doing good things when 
there is no obligation. Which fits XESED better is not a matter of 
theology or philosophy but of Hebrew language usage.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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