[b-hebrew] 1Kings 22:40 a Presentational vayyiqtol clause

C. Stirling Bartholomew jacksonpollock at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 29 16:03:11 EDT 2004


Heimerdinger:1999 page 142, cites 1Kings 22:40,

1Kings 22:40 wy$kb )x)b (M-)btyw wymlK )xzyhw bnw txtyw p

"So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead."

Heimerdinger acknowledges that this text contradicts his conclusion (p. 139)
"Referents which are brand-new but not-yet-activated are not immediately
used as topics of vayyiqtol clauses." He suggests that this apparent anomaly
is explained by the fact that 1Kings 22:40 is an example of a standard
formula of succession. Is that really and explanation?

Another way of approaching this is to question the assumption that
topic-comment and presentational articulations are a mutually exclusive. If
the second clause "and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead" is ALL new
information then perhaps we can label it exclusively presentational. But
Ahaziah could also be seen as a semantic component in the frame "kings of
Israel" which would be accessible to the original audience. In that case the
clause "and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead" could be seen as a
topic-comment construct within a presentational formula.

On the other hand, I don't find this alternative analysis very compelling.
For one reason the constituent "his son", which links Ahaziah to an active
participant Ahab, looks like a case of "anchoring" a completely new referent
to an active participant. However, "his son" does not prove that Ahaziah is
new information. 

When all the smoke clears the second clause looks exclusively presentational
and if so Heimerdinger's rule is called into question:

"Referents which are brand-new but not-yet-activated are not immediately
used as topics of vayyiqtol clauses."

Heimerdinger:1999 page 139

Sweeping aside the data because is embedded in a presentational formula
raises more questions than it answers. Why should a clause be given a
special pragmatic status because it is included in presentational formula?


greetings,
Clay Bartholomew 
 
*Heimerdinger, Jean-Marc. Topic, focus and foreground in ancient Hebrew
narratives, Sheffield Academic Press, c1999.





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