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

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Wed May 19 16:51:19 EDT 2004

> Dear Liz,
> I have not stated the assumptions that you ascribe to me, 
No, you haven't stated them.

> 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. 
I don't think so.

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.
No, this is your unstated assumption, and one I don't share.
Do you think that there was no Second Isaiah? or third?
Or second Zechariah? or additions to Amos or Hosea?
These spoke from their own time and place about events of
their own day. They had no problem adding their words to
those of their forebears. It is only modern squeemishness about
authorial rights that causes us to get upset. 
> 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.
Yes, it does. That is what you don't see.
You label a book prophetic, and that allows you to interpret verbs
as futures which you wouldn't do if you found those same words
in another book, say Chronicles.
> To use the verb forms to find the time that is referred to by 
> a certain writer is impossible.
Well, that is where we disagree.

 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.
Those are not my arguments.
I argue that you know nothing about who wrote it,absolutely
nothing. You take the first line of a book and assume that it applies
to the whole book. On what basis do you make that assumption.
You assume you know exactly how these biblical books came to be
written, that they were written by one person during a few years.
You have no knowledge of how these books came to be written.
I assume they were written over centuries, certainly not by one person.
And I don't assume anyone is pretending anything. Later writers
simply add their words to those of earlier ones. 

> 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 don't see a problem in the psalm. I would translate the verbs the way
I always do: The WAYYIKTOBs, and KATABs are narrative past, the 
YIKTOBs, WEYIKTOBs are either future or jussive. The NRSV often uses
the future where I would use the jussive or subjunctive,i.e, "that he
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.

Liz Fried

Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph. D.
Visiting Scholar
Department of Near Eastern Studies
University of Michigan
2068 Frieze Bldg.
105 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan  48109-1285 

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