[b-hebrew] Consecutive waw in Lev .22:7 ?

Ken Penner pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Mon Sep 29 11:42:04 EDT 2003

Hi Peter,

The methodological problem of circularity is indeed significant, but not
enough to be called a "flaw". I am not sure how Rolf deals with the issue,
but it is my experience (analyzing Qumran Hebrew verbs) that context is more
helpful than one may have expected. My pilot project (available from the
link in the signature) notes only 6 instances (out of 96 verbs) where the
time reference is ambiguous in 1QSa. Circularity in the statistical
correlation between form and meaning can be minimized by noting those
ambiguous cases and leaving them out of the primary analysis.

So you are technically right, "some" verbs but not "all" verbs have a clear
contextual time reference. However, that "some" is the majority, and enough
to make a strong statistical case.

Ken Penner, McMaster/DSS

> I know we have been through this one before, but newcomers to the list 
> might not notice what seems to me an obvious flaw in your 
> methodology. 
> How do you determine which verbs have present, past and future 
> reference, independent of any indication of this derived from the verb 
> form - and independent of any translation as these are likely (to 
> understate things!) to have chosen verb tenses on the basis of the 
> Hebrew verb forms? If you do rely on verb forms for determining the 
> reference, how do you answer the suggestion which I am making 
> that your method is circular?
> I accept that for some of the verbs in the Tanakh it is possible to 
> determine from the context alone, independent of any verb 
> form, whether the reference is past, present or future. But this is not 
> possible for "*all* the verbs of the Tanakh".

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