[b-hebrew] Basic observations on WAYYIQTOL

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Aug 16 11:46:47 EDT 2005

On 16/08/2005 12:01, Read, James C wrote:

> ...
> Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Rolf say that he had searched for 
> the parts which were
> uncancellable, indicating that he accepts that there are both 
> cancellable and uncancellable
> parts?

As I understood Rolf in the past, he held that semantic distinctions are
uncancellable, by definition, and so if a distinction is found which is
cancelled in some contexts and is therefore cancellable, it must be a
pragmatic i.e. non-semantic distinction. But he now seems to have
amended his definition of "semantic" to allow that semantic rules can be
cancelled in certain contexts. So I am left thoroughly confused.

> Anyway, back to the original point, it seems that this summary has 
> adequately shown that
> sequentiality is  usually present but can equally not be present 
> without 100% predictability.
> This naturally leaves only the context to decide whether 'wa' be best 
> traslated as and/but/while/when.
> For many readers, including the chronicler, the account at 2Sam24 was 
> not entirely sequential
> and neither was the subject so implicitly and strictly understood.
> Whether this non-sequentiality represents 'bad grammar' or not is 
> debatable but I remain of the
> opinion that it is the grammar that obeys the language and not vice versa.

I agree with you here. We cannot assume that 2 Samuel 24:1 is
necessarily sequential. It is certainly possible that the first clause
is a title for the whol chapter "YHWH is angry with Israel again", and
the second clause "(YHWH) incited David against (Israel)..." is the
first event in the sequence described here. On the other hand, this
loses the logical link between YHWH's anger and his action against
Israel. So I am not convinced. Note also that I am not allowing any
shift of subject, which would be about as unnatural as Rolf's
explanation of why "Heute ist strahlendes Wetter." might mean that it is

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

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