earlier dictionaries? was [b-hebrew] Offend/dealt corruptly - chet bet lamed (nehemiah 1:7)

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Jun 22 16:39:17 EDT 2004


Are earlier lexicographers inspired in the theological sense, that they never made any mistakes? Yet, when I look at the dictionary that I wrote, only a tiny minority of the entries have different meanings than given by earlier lexicographers (who sometimes disagreed). The big change I made was to compare lexemes with their synonyms where they could be recognized.

Secondly, I have a different philosophy of lexicography, especially when it applies to Biblical Hebrew: that the lexeme’s meaning, hence its definition, is to be recognized by the action it refers to, only secondarily by the form that it takes. Even so, most of my entries have the same or similar meanings as in earlier lexica.

Thirdly, whereever possible, I look for a unifying meaning that ties all uses of a lexeme together: root and derivitives. That is not always possible. After all, a word may have changed such that it looks as if it came from one root, when it actually came from another. Or a word could originally have been a loan word with a pronunciation that makes it appear that it is related to one root, when it isn’t. To try to find a unified meaning, I go through each occurance of a word in Tanakh asking if, in each context, does it give a semantically recognizeable and consistant meaning where all uses share the same root definition.

Where there are synonyms, I tried to find where they differ in meaning. Not always easy.

One problem is the small corpus we have written in Biblical Hebrew with its large number of hapax legomai words, idioms and phrases.

One of the few words where I differ from earlier dictionaries is in the meaning of XBL, where I see no need for a definition including to offend or deal corruptly. It has many derivitive meanings, but they all go back to a root meaning referring to knotting up or tying up. For example, giving birth comes from the idea of labor pangs, which are the contractions (knotting up) of the muscles. Sailors have a reputation going back to ancient times for their skill with knots. A loan is something that one is tied to, even though this is not a physical knot. And so forth.

I looked at earlier dictionaries, I just don’t agree with them all the time.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Harold R. Holmyard III" <hholmyard at ont.com>

> Dear Karl,
> HH: I have to tell you that it bothers me that 
> you ignore what every lexicon I'm familiar with, 
> if I remember correctly, as a meaning for this 
> Hebrew root XBL. If you plan to produce a 
> dictionary, this sort of behavior seems 
> irresponsible.
> 				Yours,
> 				Harold Holmyard
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