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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Oct 7 12:20:25 EDT 2004


Yigal:

What I object to here is the giving of a unique definition to a term without good reason.

An example of a good reason is GZR in Esther 2:1. In all other Hebrew uses GZR has the meaning of severing, but here that makes absolutely no sense. But recognizing that the Jews living under Persian rule in Susa probably knew Aramaic better than Hebrew, and that the use here is the same as the Aramaic use, GZR here is an Aramaic loan word into the Hebrew text.

But in Jeremiah 5:7 GDD does make sense as incising as part of idolatry, which is the context leading into this verse,  consistant with 1 Kings 18 as well. This is consistant with the total context of Tanakh. Whether you trust Tanakh or not is immaterial to the analysis of lexeme use within Tanakh.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>

> Karl,
> 
> 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.
> 
> Yigal
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> 
> 
> > 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
> possibly
> > > hitpolel of GWD to despoil. I personally understand it as meaning "house
> of
> > > 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.
> (The
> > > phrase lacks the word "in" so the idea of being "in a house of
> prostitution"
> > > doesn't fit.)
> > > >
> > > > Karl W. Randolph.
> > > >
> > >
> > > Karl,
> > >
> > > GDD means "to cut". The whole idea of hitpael is that it is reflexive -
> it
> > > is what you do to yourself. So "hitgoded" CAN mean "to cut yourself",
> either
> > > 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:
> "and
> > > come [into] the house of ...".
> > >
> > > Yigal
> > -- 

-- 
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