[b-hebrew] A Question

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Mar 17 04:25:26 EST 2004

Dear Bryan Rocine:

But I thought I had limited my discussion 
to issues brought up in the last few days 
and how they affect our understanding of 
Biblical Hebrew. I had it in the context of 
examples of Biblical Hebrew.

All of us start with philosophical 
presuppositions that affect how we 
interpret the linguistic data that make up 
Biblical Hebrew. Many don’t recognize their 
presuppositions. I thought I had limited 
the discussion to those presuppositions 
that affect how I interpret the data, 
giving examples.

People confidently claim that ancient 
Hebrews adopted the Phoenician alphabet, 
but that is based on a philosophical 
presupposition that I don’t buy. They claim 
that ancient Hebrew had more phonemes than 
represented by the “Phoenician” alphabet, 
but that again is based on beliefs with 
which I disagree. The question as to when 
Hebrew ceased being a language natively 
spoken to one spoken fluently only by an 
educated elite as a second language, is 
answered very heavily influenced by how one 
interprets the data, and one’s beliefs 
influence that interpretation: most of my 
letter was taken up with showing how my 
beliefs affect my answer to this question.

My final paragraph indicated that all my 
preceding paragraphs would be untenable if 
one held to philosophical presuppositions 
widely believed by members of this list, 
and I indicated a couple reasons why.

How should I have discussed how one’s 
philosophy affects his interpretation of 
Biblical Hebrew? I apologize if I went too 
far, but I thought that showing how my 
beliefs influence how I recognize 
linguistic patterns was the best way to go.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "B. M. Rocine" <brocine at twcny.rr.com>

> Actually Karl, I have to agree with Uri's insinuation that the discussion
> has wandered out-of-bounds.  We can discuss almost anything on this list if
> we only take a broad enough view of "context."
> Please all, let's limit our discussion to matters more closely related to
> Biblical Hebrew.
> Thank you for your cooperation--signed, the management!    ;-)
> Bryan Rocine
> b-hebrew co-chair
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