[b-hebrew] Verbs, text-segmenting and clause-types

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Sat Jul 30 11:06:09 EDT 2005



Rolf Furuli wrote:

> A fine test-case of temporal ambiguousness is Psalm 107.
> 

I think you understand that I do not view the BH verb forms as tenses. 
On the other hand, I am not a Sperberite!  ;-)

In a different post, I mentioned how critical it is to segment a poetic 
text to comprehend the variety of verb forms used (it is true for a 
prose text as well; it is just that the need to segment a poetic text is 
less well understood).  We should not assume that the verb forms 
represent one continuous string from the beginning of a poem to the end.

In the other post I mentioned a mechanism by which to segment a poem, 
performance deixis.  In Psa 107, a different mechanism segments the 
poem; the performance deixis is consistent, bard > general audience, 
except for, perhaps, 29a, which is YHWH > storm.

Here is a schemeatic representation of the psalm's structure:

           _____
Hortatory |
Discourse |
           |  _____
           |  |
           |  | Historical Narrative 1
           |  |_____
           |
           |
           |  _____
           |  |
           |  | Historical Narrative 2
           |  |_____
           |
           |  etc.

IOW, a Hortatory Discourse, which may be characterized by the 
exhortation, "Let them praise YHWH!" has embedded within it several 
Historical Narrative sections that provide reason to praise YHWH.

In addition, some of the Historical Narratives have embedded within them 
   elaborative material that takes the form of other discourse types.

*Within each section*, the distribution of the verb forms is mostly 
conventional, that is, mostly just as we observe in prose texts *based 
on discourse genre*.  IOW, in Historical Narratives we will find a 
wayyiqtol mainline, in Expository sections we will see a noun sentence 
and complex noun sentence (X-yiqtols and X-qatal) mainline, and in 
Hortatory Discourse we will see an imperative and clause-initial yiqtol 
mainline.

Below is a verse by verse bracket diagram of Psa 107.  Note the pleasing 
parallelism between the embedded Nistorical Narratives.

Abbreviations:
H = Hortatory Discourse (makes exhortations)
HN = Historical Narrative Discourse (tells a story in the past)
E = Expository Dicourse  (explains a truth)
P = Procedural Discourse (for repeated actions in the past)


       _____
1  H  |
2     |
3     | ____
4     | | HN 1
       | | ____
       | | | E
5     | | |____
6a    | |
6b    | | P
7     | |____
8     |
9     | ____
10    | | HN 2
       | | ____
       | | | E
11    | | |____
12    | |
13a   | |
13b   | |__P__
14    |
15    |
16    | ____
17    | | HN 3
       | | ____
       | | | P
18a   | | |____
18b   | |
18c   | |
19a   | |
19b   | |__P__
20    |
21    |
22    | ____
23    | | HN 4
       | | ____
       | | | E
24    | | |____
25    | |
      ___________
26   | Parenthetical H
27   |__________
28    | |
29a   | | YHWH's H
29b,c | |
30    | |_____
31    |
32    |
33    |
34    |
35    | ____
36    | | HN 5
37    | |
38    | |
39    | |
40    | |
41    | |____
42    |
43    |_____________

Shalom,
Bryan Rocine






More information about the b-hebrew mailing list