[b-hebrew] Review of Alter's Translation

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Oct 27 12:13:28 EDT 2004

On 27/10/2004 16:54, Christopher V. Kimball wrote:

> I've read the review and was struck by the following assertion attributed
> to Sáenz-Badillos:
> (The vernacular vocabulary, according to the Spanish Hebrew scholar 
> Angel Sáenz-Badillos, must have exceeded the Bible’s—a lexicon “so 
> restricted that it is hard to believe it could have served all the 
> purposes of quotidian existence in a highly developed society.”)
> Is the vocabulary too restricted for daily life in 6-th century BCE? 
> Is it restricted compared to other documents of the same period?
If the vocabulary is restricted, it is surely only because the subject 
matter is restricted. For eaxmple, there is no recorded word for "cat", 
but that is not because this word was somehow excluded from a restricted 
subset of Hebrew which biblical authors were permitted to use, it was 
simply because none of the biblical authors happened to need to refer to 
cats. If they had needed to refer to them, or to any other features of 
daily life which don't happen to be recorded in the Bible, they would 
surely have used the appropriate commonly used words.

Anyway, while it is hard to make cross-language comparisons, it seems to 
me that a lexicon of more than 8000 words (admittedly perhaps one third 
of these are proper names) is not really all that restricted.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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