[b-hebrew] God vs angels in Ps 8:6

Trevor Peterson abuian at access4less.net
Sat Mar 26 15:43:45 EST 2005


James C. Kirk wrote:
> Trevor,
> 
> Given that BH has no separate reflexive pronouns a preposition or 'et
> with a suffix may be used with reflexive force (IBHS 16.4g), but are
> there any other potential examples of a full noun phrase being used in
> the reflexive position?  Unless there are I would think that this would
> be closer to a definitive argument against the "elohim = God"
> interpretation.  What do you think?

Well, to start with, I'm not sure you've framed the question correctly. 
It's not so much that there is a reflexive position; grammatically, we 
might say that there's simply no need for a reflexive in Hebrew. The 
pronouns and structures used to make a referent the same as the subject 
are essentially those used when the referent is different. The question 
is, when is a pronoun acceptable, and when is a full noun preferable? 
The possible explanations I mentioned were an attempt to point out some 
alternatives. Certainly deference can put a noun in place of a second 
person pronoun. I can conceive of a poetic motivation, although I don't 
claim to know enough about Hebrew poetry to say whether that's a likely 
explanation. Distance from the last time the referent was specifically 
mentioned is a common reason in most languages. And again, if the 
reference is to God-ness, that would be a reason to use the term (which, 
BTW, is not an actual repetition, since it is not how he is addressed 
earlier in the Psalm).

I'm not saying the argument is entirely unconvincing. My primary concern 
in responding was to clarify what I thought was a muddled articulation 
of the argument. Beyond that, I have tried to offer some possible 
alternatives that should be addressed.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics



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