[b-hebrew] XSD

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Aug 25 13:56:11 EDT 2005

On 8/25/05, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:
> Dear James,
> >>Recourse to scholars usually indicates a lack of ability to support
> >>one's position from data
> >>alone. And IMNSHO all discussion on this list should be based on
> >>data alone if it is to be
> >>taken seriously.
> HH: The virtually unanimous opinion of Bible translations,
> commentaries, and lexicons is data.
Another issue is that when you are working without knowledge 
of various scholarly discussions on a word or any issue, you find 
yourself with one hand or both tied behind your back.  You have 
the data, at least some of it.  You are not aware of additional data, 
that may be raised from comparative linguistics or analysis, and 
you are not aware of various arguments in support and against the 
various positions that have been raised.  You may not even be 
aware of the various positions that have been raised.  Working 
directly with the sources is fine and preferred, but you should also 
be at least familiar with the positions and arguments that have 
been proposed, especially when they are widely accepted.

On 8/25/05, Karl Randolph wrote:
> studies on scholars and traditions, I base mine on
> methodology. One part of the methodology is that it is
> very rare for a lexeme to have two or more distinctly
> different definitions. Another part is to use an
> unpointed text. Another is where there are synonyms
> and antonyms recognized, that comparisons with these
> can help. And there are others.

If that is methodology, it is very faulty methodology.  It can be
more properly described as assuming certain attributes of the
evidence (such as that it is very rare to have two or more
distinctly different definitions) ahead of viewing the evidence.  
I'm not saying you should come to a text and assume it 
definitely has a meaning different from all other cases.  But 
you shouldn't come to a text and assume it has a meaning 
equal to all other cases as well.  You should assume neither, 
and decide whether it does or does not based on what seems
most convincing and most appropriate for that case.  After you
have done this for all words, then you can check each word
and see how many times it has two distinct meanings.  Then 
you can conclude if it is rare or not.  

> I think you are confusing idiomatic phrase with compound
> lexeme. In the English example of "strike out" one has a
> meaning one would never guess from just the meanings of the
> individual lexemes that make up the compound lexeme. Other
> compound lexemes are not so obscure, but still share the
> property of having a definition that is distinct from
> either word taken seperately. On the other hand, BYT )B in
> Hebrew can readily be understood even never having seen the
> term before, when one recognizes that BYT refers not only to
> a physical house, but also to a family and )B to ancesters.

You are applying two different methods to the words "strike out"
and "byt )b."  Starting with the phrase "byt )b" and having no idea
of what it means, could you guess it?  Why can't it mean 
"ancestral home"?  Do you really think that you could guess the
meanings of the words just from the meanings of the individual 
lexemes and without examples of its use in context?  On the
other hand, if you have such examples of the use of "strike out"
do you really think you could never guess the meaning?

Yitzhak Sapir

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