[b-hebrew] Prophetic Perfect? Jer. 50.

furuli at online.no furuli at online.no
Wed May 19 15:55:29 EDT 2004

Dear Liz,

I have not stated the assumptions that you ascribe to me, and whether 
or not I believe that a person whose name was Jeremiah, who lived in 
the times of Zedekiah, wrote the book,  is irrelevant from a 
linguistic and translational point of view. This is so, because even 
if a person a long time after Zedekiah wrote the book and pretended 
to be a Jeremiah of the 6th century B.C.E., he would naturally give 
the verbs a future reference. If he did not write "prophecies", 
people would quickly see through his scheme.

Therefore, when I say that except when a prophet (read:a book 
claiming to be written by a certain prophet) utters words of judgment 
against a present population, the default interpretation of a 
prophet's words is future, that is a descriptive statement and not a 
theological one. It does not require any particular view regarding 
the writing of the book.

To use the verb forms to find the time that is referred to by a 
certain writer is impossible. And to argue that by the use of this 
verb in the book of Isaiah, which is past tense,  we unmask the 
writer. He pretends to be a prophet speaking about the future, but 
without realizing it, by the use of this and that verb, he shows that 
he writes after the events have happened. Such arguments are 
fallacious in my mind.
A very good example showing that I do not switch the meanings of the 
verbs around to conform to my hypothesis, is  Psalm 107. If you in 
this Psalm manage to find a pattern on the basis of the YIQTOLs, 
WEYIQTOLs, WAYYIQTOLs, and QATALs  I will admit that I am guilty of 
this switching.  I also suggest that you take a look at the long 
lists of different Hebrew forms used with the same meaning in the 
works of Alexander Sperber, from 1938 to 1959. After studying these 
lists, I think that second thoughts regarding the use of verb forms 
to fix time would emerge in the mind of manu students.

Best regards


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>  Dear Rolf,
>I don't agree that Jeremiah 50 speaks about a future event.
>That katav is used in fact demonstrates that Jer. 50 is about
>a past event not about a future event.
>Now you assume that it is about a future event because you
>say that Jeremiah lived in the time of Zedekiah and that
>the fall of Babylon didn't occur until the time of Cyrus.
>I don't assume this however. I assume that a later
>writer added to the book of Jeremiah and wrote about a past
>You switch the meanings of the verbs around to conform to
>your hypothesis that these are all the exact words of the
>prophet who gives his name to the book.
>Liz Fried
>Ann Arbor

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