[b-hebrew] 998 non-past wyyqtl's, Dave

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Wed Dec 1 17:32:53 EST 2004

Hi Dave, You wrote:

>> Rocine said: Take paraphrasing with wayyiqtol as an example of "crossing 
>> the white
>> line." When a second wayyiqtol paraphrases or is identicle an earlier 
>> one,
>> the writer and reader's shared world knowledge cooperate with the meaning
>> of the wayyiqtol.  Writer and reader know the same event doesn't happen
>> twice. Writer and reader both realize we are back-looping with the second
>> wayyiqtol to cover the same sequence again.
> Let me be sure of one thing here: are you indicating that such a 
> "crossing" is
> deliberate on the part of the speaker or writer?

Consciousness or deliberateness is a hard thing to pin down.  Some students 
of narrative art examine witers' original manuscripts to try and track their 
editing to get a handle on what is conscious.  In my own writing, some of 
the choices I make are conscious and some are not or at least less 

To continue your analogy,
> in general when someone crosses that line, they do it on purpose, and for
> what they consider to be a good reason (whether the other people on the 
> road
> think it's a good reason is open to question, of course).  If we say the 
> same
> thing about a case of "paraphrasing with wayyiqtol" (a term I like), then 
> it
> is most likely a deliberate crossing of the boundary, and most likely for 
> a
> particular reason.  The question would then become "why?"  For this
> discussion, how about we stick with Judges 12:11, which I think we agree 
> is a
> clear example of the phenomenon that you call paraphrasing, if that's okay
> with you?  Assuming it is, the next logical question is "why did the 
> writer
> do such a back-loop?"  I'll expand on this below.
>> About the meaning of the wayyiqtol specifically:
>> I think Hatav has said it as well an anyone.  It's meaning is to create a
>> new R-time.  She has found something like 93-95% (I forget exactly)to do 
>> so
>> in the typical prose corpus.  If she were to add other, most notably
>> poetic, texts, I believe she would find nearly as high a percentage.
> While I tend to agree that there is "divergent" grammar (I don't want to 
> say
> "bad" grammar when referring to grammar that does something other than 
> what
> we expect based on our understanding of the forms) in the HB, I also tend 
> to
> think that, barring really strong reasons for divergence or "crossing the
> line," we do better to try and find some unified sense within the form 
> that
> accounts for at least 99%+ of the data (poetry excepted; poetry does its 
> own
> thing in every language).  As far as I know, the approach I have chosen 
> does
> that.  In fact, I have yet to find a counter-example.  That's not to say I
> have it all figured out, but my "simple declarative" seems to account for 
> an
> even higher percentage than Hatav's, even to the point of not only 
> explaining
> her "sequence" examples but also her counter-examples.  Having said that, 
> I
> do acknowledge that her data on modality has spun my head around a few 
> times
> and set me on a much different course than before regarding some of the 
> other
> forms.  Her monograph is one of the most profitable works on the subject 
> that
> I have ever read.

99+% can actually be a problem.  If we know that this phenomenon exists by 
which writer/speakers in all languages ignore rules and meanings sometimes, 
a 99% true explanation seems to me to signal something is actually wrong 
with the explanation.  There's no room in such an explanation for the chaos 
we know should be there.  Unless, of course, we believe BH is the special 
language of heaven, perfectly predictable and regular.  <tongue half in 
cheek>  Personally, I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God, but I 
think there is still room to believe that ancient Hebrew is the slightly 
chaotic language of man.

>> I don't believe the conclusion that wayyiqtol clauses are the "simple,
>> active propositions" of BH quite accounts for the data satisfactorily.
>> Critical to me is that the X-Qatal, the wayyiqtol's partner in
>> story-telling, is not used as merely the alternative consctruction when 
>> the
>> writer wants to promote an element to the first position of the clause. 
>> We
>> see that the X-qatal is strategically distributed within stories in 
>> places
>> where context indicates non-sequence.  It makes sense therefore, that
>> X-qatal's partner indicates the presence of sequence.
> But here's where it gets into trouble in Judges 12:11, because it would be
> natural to expect X-qatal in the second clause.  I agree completely that 
> the
> second wayyiqtol is a restatement/expansion of the first one; the question
> is, why did the writer choose to cross the line with a wayyiqtol there
> instead of using the more natural X-qatal?  I honestly can't think of a
> reason, because there doesn't seem to be anything particularly noteworthy 
> or
> special about Elon's term: he judged Israel; he judged Israel for X number 
> of
> years.  That's it.  So what would be the point of drawing extra attention 
> to
> the number of years by using a "non-standard" wayyiqtol?

This is a great question, the kind of thing I study all the time.  I don't 
know the answer for JDG 12:11, off-hand.  I'll look again.  I would look 
first at an explanation in pragmatics, then in text transmission.  I would 
be better at explaining the answer in Gen 7:18, which I did explain quickly 
in my last post titled "unsequential wayyqtl."

Enjoying the exchange.  Thanks.


B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

ph: 315.437.6744
fx: 315.437.6766 

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