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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Oct 8 02:00:56 EDT 2003

Dear Peter:

How do you know that it is not Arabic from over a thousand years later that split one root into two? Even with post-Biblical Hebrew, we see that one letter, sin, was split into two: sin and shin, other letters had taken on two pronunciations, and this happened before the earliest example of Arabic. So how is it not speculation to claim that Arabic with its split should take precedence over Biblical Hebrew which has no evidence of such a split? Remember, Biblical Hebrew gives indications that it was phonetically written, so the lack of letters indicates that these were sounds the language lacked.

To me it appears pure speculation to claim that the forms of one language should take precedence over the forms of a cognate language from over a thousand years earlier, especially when there is no other evidence for it, nor any allowance made for how languages change over time.

Karl W. Randolph.

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

> 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)
> http://www.qaya.org/
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