[b-hebrew] (no subject)

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Jul 26 20:44:21 EDT 2005

On 26/07/2005 22:25, Bill Rea wrote:

>Peter wrote:-
>>Rolf, let me make this clear. I have stated that there is a fundamental
>>logical flaw in your argument, that it simply confirms your initial a
>>priori assumption (that there are two semantically distinct verb forms
>>rather than fouror five). This devastating critique basically implies
>>that your work is valueless.
>First, if a man (or woman) has undertaken research, written up a Ph.D.
>thesis, had it examined by multiple examiners who are experts in their
>field including at least one external to the University the student is at,
>defended it orally, and been awarded his degree, one could rightly assume
>that the person's work had some value.

Has Rolf actually been awarded his degree? If so, I must assume that he 
was able to give a satisfactory answer to the critical questions of the 
external examiner, but has chosen not to tell us that answer. 
Nevertheless, there are flawed PhD dissertations in circulation, because 
even the best examiners as well as students are human.

>Second, on the question of two, four or five semantically distinct
>verb forms is it possible to demonstrate which of these is indeed
>correct without having to make some apriori assumption? It seems
>to me that Peter's objection to Rolf's two verb form model can also
>be leveled at a model which assumes a different number. ...

Absolutely! In fact the argument was originally Rolf's, with the number 

>... Put another
>way, if we make no assumptions about the number of semantically
>distinct verb forms can we arrive at an answer that convinces
>the majority of scholars in the field?

Well, we certainly cannot if we do make assumptions. So if we are to 
stand a chance we need to make no assumptions. But it is extremely hard 
to come up with a sound argument, especially for biblical Hebrew, for 
which we have no mother tongue speakers and a limited corpus. And even 
if the argument is sound, it is by no means sure to convince the 
majority of scholars, not least because those scholars have their own 
presuppositions and entrenched positions. But that's another matter.

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

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