[b-hebrew] Tenses - the test

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Sep 17 21:11:26 EDT 2005

On Saturday 17 September 2005 13:58, Vadim Cherny wrote:


> Natural sciences require three tests to accept a hypothesis:

Where did this come from?

> - it should not generally contradict known facts.

Of which we have precious few in biblical Hebrew, which is part of the 
problem.  Thus, there's no way to establish your hypothesis in a way that 
satisfies this criterion.

> - if contradictions arise, they should be explainable either as measurement
> (grammatical) errors or predictable deviations (idiomatic usage, in our
> case). 

Again I wonder where you got this "test" or if you just made it up, because 
it's rather ad hoc and vague.  There's no real way to test this test to be 
sure it is actually useful.

> Such contradictions should be no more than a few. - when several 
> hypothesis explain the facts, Occam's razor is employed.

Define "a few."  This is absurd.

> My hypothesis passes the razor: its application requires no interpretation.

Neither does mine, and it has fewer problems and counter-examples than yours 
does.  In addition, this statement is false.  There have been several 
examples in recent months that flatly contradict your tense approach and you 
resort to some very creative interpretation to explain them away.  I don't 
know how you define "interpretation," but apparently your definition is 
different than most everybody else's.

> I don't claim grammatical errors. I would accept idiomatic usage only as
> exceedingly rare.
> The real test is whether my hypothesis contradicts known facts. Thus, I ask
> Rolf:
> would you please state a Tanakhic example of a verb which, in your opinion,
> does not fit my definition of Hebrew tenses?

How does this test a contradiction of "known facts"?  Again, we have very few 
actual known facts.  Rolf can go so far as to question the existence of the 
"waw reversive" that you mention and make his claim stand up before a 
doctoral board.  If that doesn't demonstrate how nebulous this whole field 
is, I don't know what will.  In the past, Rolf has given numerous such 
examples, and I see no reason why he should be required to reinvent the 
wheel.  Go read the archives.

> Is there a verb in non-idiomatic Tanakhic phrase, such as:
> qatal or wayiqtol that does not refer to the past (relative to the deictic
> centre), or yiqtol or weqatal that does not refer to the future (relative
> to the deictic centre)?
> If anyone could suggest a better test, please let me know, and I would
> gladly participate.

Why bother?  It has become quite clear that no amount of evidence will 
convince you because you don't want to be convinced.  I can't see wasting the 
time and effort.

Dave Washburn
"Maybe I'll trade it for a new hat."

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