[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8 lamo

George F Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Mon Dec 20 08:55:32 EST 2004

On Mon, 20 Dec 2004 14:31:07 +0200 "Vadim Cherny"
<vadim_lv at center-tv.net> writes:
> > > To find out the
> > >meaning, we need to establish the etymology. ...
> >
> > No, no, NO!!! Meaning is not established by etymology. Meaning is
> > established by usage in context.
> Everywhere but in Hebrew and to some extent in Chinese. Of course, 
> modern
> languages, for one, deviated from etymological meaning, and for 
> another,
> accumulated huge contexts. This does not work with Tanakh, where we 
> have a
> handful of lamo, and where, as in isaiah 53:8, it is the context 
> that
> depends on the meaning of lamo. Again, we have so little of the 
> clear
> context that the relation is the opposite: etymological meaning of 
> the word
> allows us to clarify the context. In this case, etymological meaning 
> of lamo
> as lhemo shows that nega is to people, not to the character.
> > >
> > Agreed. Even if we agree that etymologically lamo and lmo form an
> > absolute/construct pair, that is a poor guide to meaning because 
> the
> > meanings of the absolute and construct could have shifted apart.
> >
> btw, camoha besides cmo might help your smihut argument
> Vadim Cherny
> _______________________________________________

The use of etymology to determine the meaning of words also does not work
in Greek so it's not just in Hebrew and Chinese that this fails to work. 
I suggest that you read James Barr _The Semanitcs of Biblical Language_.


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