[b-hebrew] Proto-Semitic, was WAYYIQTOL
kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Mar 16 19:34:25 EST 2004
Our differences in philosophical outlook
affect how we perceive the development of
Hebrew as a spoken language.
To use an 18th century metaphor, the
creation of a watch uses different
principles (laws of physics) than the
operation thereof. The picture that the
Bible gives is that when God created the
universe, he did something different than
what we see going on today. Then after the
creation, God acted into creation only to
communicate with mankind and to make some
actions to advance his goals, in a similar
manner as a watch maker, after he has made
a watch, touches it only to wind the spring
and occasionally to make an adjustment for
more accurate operation. Likewise, Gods
actions into history are rare. Where there
is an alleged action from God into history,
the answer to its veracity will be found
not in science, but in historical analysis.
One of Gods actions into history is to
tell about things that havent occurred
yet. He did so to glorify himself, e.g.
As a result, I have no problem with Isaiah
naming Cyrus a century and a half early,
and that Daniel wrote while living and
working in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar to
As a result, I see linguistic patterns that
you cant see.
Daniel was a native speaker, having learned
his Hebrew before the Galut Babel, yet by
the time he sat down to write his memoirs,
he was more at home in Aramaic than Hebrew.
(A modern example is Chinese who came to
the U.S. many years ago as students: they
still speak, read and write Chinese, but
their work is all in English.)
Ezra, Nehemiah some of the post exilic
prophets remind me of immigrants children,
whose parents speak no English and insisted
that their children can read and write the
parents language. The children have also
made an effort to keep up the language.
Though the children are fluent, their
rendition of the parental language is
simpler and more bookish.
Esther is like the children whose immigrant
parents speak English and the children have
made an effort to maintain their parents
language. They are actually more at home in
English. That would describe how my
grandparents spoke Norwegian: fluently, but
not as well as English.
Seeing this pattern, and how it worked out
through the generations among immigrant
children, indicates to me that Hebrew had
ceased being the language on the street in
all but the most remote farming villages by
the time of the Maccabees, if not earlier.
Yet because it was the language of
religion, government and high literature,
it continued to be spoken by an educated
elite, much like Latin in Europe.
But if you believe in naturalism and that
the present is the key to the past, you
must posit that at least some of Isaiah was
written post exile, that Daniel probably
was late Hellenistic and so forth,
completely messing up the pattern that I
Karl W. Randolph.
----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> I accept that I am working by this principle. I hypothesise, with the
> positivists, that the laws of physics have held ever since the Big Bang
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
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