[b-hebrew] Re: Prov. 30:19

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Oct 7 17:35:57 EDT 2003

On 07/10/2003 12:14, Karl Randolph wrote:

>Dear Peter:
>I am cognisant of that argument, but I deliberately did not mention it.
>When I already question how applicable a contemporary cognate language is to the understanding of a Biblical Hebrew word, even question the use of Mishnaic Hebrew at times because languages change, how authoritative should I consider a cognate language first written over a thousand years later? If your only evidence is Arabic (which was the case at the time of Gesenius, even BDB) when the evidence internal to Tanakh and Biblical Hebrew indicate otherwise, it makes your argument even more presuppositionally biased and speculative than my admittedly speculated definition I proposed for Proverbs 30:19.
Well, etymology is quite an exact science concerning forms of words in 
cognate languages, though a poor guide to meaning. And Arabic is rather 
close to Hebrew. In Arabic there are two separate words, obviously from 
different root consonants, ghulaam (with gheyn) = boy and `aalam (with 
`eyn) = world. It is well known that Arabic gheyn and `eyn both 
correspond to Hebrew `ayin. It doesn't take much of a leap to conclude 
that Hebrew `elem/`alma corresponds ghulaam, and that `olam corresponds 
to `aalam. But you don't have to accept this evidence if you don't want 
to. Just accept that there is even less evidence, i.e. none at all, for 
most of your speculations.

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

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