[b-hebrew] A Jewish perspective on reading biblical hebrew

Sameer Yadav sameer_yadav2 at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 25 17:20:11 EST 2004

I am sympathetic with Peter's thoughts about this. 
The grammatical problems of classical Hebrew are not a
matter of "cognitive dissonance" that can be cleared
up by native speaker intuitions about the
*contemporary* stage of its development.  It is a
problem for historical linguistics, and as such
everyone is more or less confronted with the same
descriptive difficulties with the same available
resources to solve them, no matter what their native
language is.  

- Sameer

--- Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org> wrote:

> On 25/11/2004 20:21, Noam Eitan wrote:
> > ...
> >
> >I'm curious what are the feelings of Modern Hebrew
> speakers on this board 
> >about this issue. I have a vague impression that
> they have been relatively 
> >quiet on this thorny grammatical problem on this
> board, maybe because Modern 
> >Hebrew speakers don't experience any tension or
> cognitive dissonance when 
> >following the tenses (if that's what it is) in the
> text.
> >
> >  
> >
> But surely there are places where the Hebrew Bible
> simply doesn't make 
> sense if all verb forms are read as if they were
> modern Hebrew tenses? 
> Aren't there? Can anyone suggest any examples?
> Perhaps 1 Samuel 1:5: is 
> this understood as "And to Hannah he will give..."?
> And what do modern Hebrew speakers make of WAYYIQTOL
> and WEQATAL forms? 
> I assume they cannot understand these simply as
> future and past 
> respectively, plus the conjunctions. That approach
> would certainly lead 
> to cognitive dissonance, not least in putting most
> of the historical 
> events of the Bible into the future!
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/
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