[b-hebrew] GDD (was not: Self-mutilation)
Harold R. Holmyard III
hholmyard at ont.com
Sat Oct 9 10:14:32 EDT 2004
>We don't know when the Damascus Document was authored, but from the
>sounds of it, it was centuries after the last of the Hebrew canon.
HH: The date attributed to it is about the first century B.C.
> In other words, at a time when the people on the street spoke
>Aramaic and only the scholars spoke Hebrew more or less fluently
>(much like the medieval monks spoke Latin). Thus it is very likely
>that GDD in the Damascus Document is either an Aramaic loan word or
>a late development of GDWD into a verb.
HH> These ideas that GDD in the Damascus Document is an Aramaic
loanword or a back development from a noun are arbitrary assumptions.
The Damascus Document is a Hebrew document, and GDD is a biblical
word. We don't know that the authors didn't know Hebrew. Quite a lot
of the Dead Sea Scrolls, even the non-biblical material such as
letters, are in Hebrew. Here is a quote about the Dead Sea Scroll
period from _Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation_, by Michael Wise,
Martin Abegg, and Edward Cook:
Hebrew was manifestly the principal literary language for the Jews of
this period. The new discoveries underlined the still living,
breathing, even supple character of that language. A few texts
pointed to the use of Hebrew for speech as well as writing. . . .
Rabbinic Hebrew was shown to be no invention, but simply a
development from the ordinary spoken Hebrew of biblical times.
>As for the "up-to-date lexicon", have you not noticed my discussions
>concerning BDB? All of those that I know of since Gesenius have been
>written with presuppositions that I reject: presuppositions such as
>evolution, the late development of the Hebrew canon, the
>backwardness of the ancient Hebrew people,
HH: I reject all these things, too, but they are somewhat irrelevant
to the issue of GDD.
> and that word usages in cognate languages and in post Biblical
>Hebrew accurately reflects Biblical Hebrew use. (The last point can
>often give us clues to rarely used Biblical Hebrew terms, if used
>with caution.) I find that comparing lexemes with their roots and
>synonyms within Tanakh more useful for finding accurate definitions
>than looking at cognate languages.
HH: I don't think lexicons assume that one can transfer wholesale
into Hebrew the word usage of cognate languages. I have not really
seen that sort of thinking.
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