[b-hebrew] XSD

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Aug 23 12:16:57 EDT 2005

On 23/08/2005 17:01, Karl Randolph wrote:

>... By allowing for the "stronger" use of WAW in 
>Leviticus 20:17 preceding the NKRTW a reading of the verse 
>will not force us into a unique meaning for XSD rather the 
>XSD HW) WNKRTW L(YNY BNY (MM is the complete phrase.

I accept that this parsing is not totally impossible, although unlikely. 
But this still means accepting a unique sense of XESED as suggesting 
some kind of command.

>XSD is another lexeme in Hebrew with no equivelant in 
>English. And just as I told Harold Holmyard concerning 
>X+)T having a broader "secular" meaning than its most 
>common theological application, so we should not leave 
>out the possibility that XSD also has a broader "secular" 
>meaning than found in its theological uses. And in its 
>"secular" uses could have somewhat a negative flavor 
>while still preserving its basic meaning of "undeserved 
>good favor".

Well, if the meaning is negative, we would have to drop the "good". 
Perhaps "inappropriate response" could cover both aspects.

>As for lexemes having diverse meanings, while I don't rule 
>that out, after studying a few foreign languages I have 
>found that lexemes having diverse meanings are quite rare. ...

I don't claim that XESED necessarily has two completely different and 
unrelated meanings, just that the meaning in these two or three verses 
must be somewhat different from in most other places.

>... That is not the same as recognizing that a lexeme may have 
>such a broad meaning that it can be translated by several 
>lexemes in another language, nor is it a claim that all 
>lexemes have narrowly defined boundaries in meaning, 
>rather a recognition that it is rare for a lexeme to have 
>both one meaning and its near opposite, or even a 
>completely unrelated one. ...

I agree that this is rare, but it is not unprecedented.

Another example, by the way, is BARUK "blessed", which is occasionally 
used with a meaning something like "cursed". This is usually understood 
as a euphemistic replacement of an original curse word. The result of 
this substitution is that the word occasionally means the exact opposite 
of its regular meaning. Perhaps the same is true of this use of XESED, 
as a substitute for an original strongly pejorative word. On the other 
hand, the rather negative sense in Arabic and Aramaic suggests something 

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

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