[b-hebrew] Relevance Theory & Hebrew Semantics

Eduard C Hanganu eddhanganu at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 19 22:14:06 EDT 2004

Dear Peter:

Of course, "mimicry of Isaiah's words, perh. senseless." We use such 
expressions in common English too ("blah, blah, blah"), when we want to be 
ironic with someone or dismiss him. But how is this evidence supporting the 
idea that the discourse fragment lacks cohesion, coherence and logicality?
I believe this blabbering clearly refers back to the beginning of the 

KJV Isaiah 28:1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, 
whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat 
valleys of them that are overcome with wine! {overcome: Heb. broken}


3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: 
{under...: Heb. with feet}

The whole chapter 28 in Isaiah is an ironic discourse on the "drunkards of 
Ephraim" who have lost their reason and sense and right and wrong through 
drunkenness and cannot be taught the ways of the Lord anymore because of 
their condition, together with the priest and prophet of verse 7 who "are 
out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in 

I see the whole chapter as a very cohesive and coherent message of rebuke 
from the Lord to those who have disregarded the Divine counsel and have 
fallen pray to the intoxicating influence of alcohol and therefore cannot be 
instructed anymore in the ways of the Lord if they remain in their state.


From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>
To: Eduard C Hanganu <eddhanganu at hotmail.com>
CC: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Relevance Theory & Hebrew Semantics
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 14:22:12 +0100

On 19/08/2004 03:40, Eduard C Hanganu wrote:

>You mention Isaiah 28:10,13 as an example of a "deliberately nonsensical 
>passage." How did you  reach such a conclusion? In most English 
>translations this passage makes rather good sense, the way I understand it. 
>What is your reading of this text?

It is a common interpretation of the words quoted here: CAW LFCFW CAW LFCFW 
QAV LFQFW QAW LFQFW that they are in v.10 a representation of the speakers' 
incomprehensible mutterings, a bit like "rhubarb, rhubarb" in English, and 
that the point of v.13 (cf. v.11) is that their foreign conquerors' speech 
will be similarly incomprehensible.

For support, see for example JPS Tanakh "mutter upon mutter, murmur upon 
murmur", and BDB s.v. QAW "mimicry of Isaiah's words, perh. senseless". I 
have seen more elsewhere but I can't find it now.

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

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