[b-hebrew] GDD (was not: Self-mutilation)

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Oct 5 13:56:37 EDT 2004


Your assertion that "some of the common practices [of idolatry] are ritual
prostitution, scarification and mutilation" is an unproven assumption based
on a (Jewish and Christian) midrashic reading of a few pieces of
Deuteronomistic propaganda. We actually have very little evidence of any of
these practices in the ANE, and they certainly were not "common practice".
In any case, Jeremiah here, like many of the prophets, uses prostitution as
a metaphor of Israel's unfaithfulness, "her" "sleeping around" with any god
that promised immediate payment. The metaphor is so commonplace that it does
not need further comment. So it's you who are taking a general term
(GDD/cut) and forcing a particular meaning into the context.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
To: "Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 7:43 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] GDD (Self-mutilation)

> Yigal:
> Unless there is good reason that demands a different, unique definition
for a lexeme than its standard meaning, even in difficult situations I think
it is better to ask if this is an indirect statement, or one with an
ideomatic phrase or other such. (Allowing for a different definition for
each semantic domain serves to hide ideomatic phrases, irony, satire, and
other literary devices.)
> Given the frequent prophetic statements that the service of other gods
was, to use the KJV term "a-whoring", in other words committing adultary and
prostitution, and further that the context is one where the people are
worshipping other gods where some of the common practices are ritual
prostitution, scarification and mutilation (in other words, we are not
talking about common sex with a prostitute), is there any reason to insist
on a unique reading of GDD in Jeremiah 5:7? I don't see it.
> The context soes not demand a different definition.
> Karl W. Randolph.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- 
> > From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> >
> >
> > > Is the word used in Jeremiah 5:7 from GDD meaning cutting out or
> > hitpolel of GWD to despoil. I personally understand it as meaning "house
> > prostitution self mutilates" using the metaphore that the people serving
> > other gods are like prostitutes, and in that service of other gods they
> > practice scarification and other self mutilation condemned in Torah.
> > phrase lacks the word "in" so the idea of being "in a house of
> > doesn't fit.)
> > >
> > > Karl W. Randolph.
> > >
> >
> > Karl,
> >
> > GDD means "to cut". The whole idea of hitpael is that it is reflexive -
> > is what you do to yourself. So "hitgoded" CAN mean "to cut yourself",
> > purposely or by accident.
> > But in the case of Jeremiah 5:7, the context does not call for "self
> > mutilation". What they are doing in the Beyt Zonah is paralleled to
> > "yin)afu" - committing adultery. "Yitgodadu" means "making themselves
> > Gedud". In English you might say "trooping to the brothel".
> > The fact that the sentence doesn't have an "in" is no problem. The
> > preposition is often left out, especially in verse. Look at Zech. 6:10:
> > come [into] the house of ...".
> >
> > Yigal
> -- 
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