[b-hebrew] Hebrew language and thought forms, was: "Desire of Women" in Heb. Text of Dan. 11:37

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Nov 20 11:14:47 EST 2006


On 11/20/06, Peter Kirk <peter at qaya.org> wrote:
> On 20/11/2006 01:38, davidfentonism at aim.com wrote:
> > I think the notion that thought bears no direct relationship to language is inaccurate. Hebrew thoughtforms are directly linked to its language units. This is not always the case with greek because of its propensity for abstractions. However, in Hebrew, thoughtforms/language is tied to instances or things existing in reality (e.g., the idea of stiffneckedness like an ox).
> >
> >
> I will try to stick to matters of Hebrew language in replying here, and
> avoid being distracted into comparative philosophy.
> I agree that "the notion that thought bears NO direct relationship to
> language is inaccurate", with the emphasis which I have added. But the
> strength and directness of that relationship has often been greatly
> overstated.
I disagree.

The basic grammar and language structure is not connected to any mode
of thought. People use language to express their thoughts.

Of course, available vocabulary (which includes idiomatic phrases)
influences but does not predetermine how people think. A person who
cannot express a concept using available vocabulary can use either a
description of the concept (sufficient for one or two explanations),
or coin a neologism or use an imported term,

Of course, available vocabulary results from common usage. In the case
of modes of thought, people can usually express themselves in an
uncommon mode of thought by using vocabulary available in their
language, but often by using uncommon frequencies of usages, terms and
metaphors that carry the intended message. Notice, those differences
result not from the structure of the language itself, but from how
people use it.

Because the authors of Tanakh used functional-activist-historical
("Hebrew") thought, it is mistakenly taken that the whole language,
not just the usage, reflects that mode of thinking. But in the case of
the New Testament, also written using functional-activist-historical
thought, there are enough authors in Greek who used
formal-repose-ahistorical ("Greek") thought showing that the
difference was not the result of the language structure, but from
individual purpose. If Tanakh were not the only book surviving from
pre-Exile Hebrew usage, I would not be surprised if other, now lost,
writings would have expressed formal-repose-ahistorical thinking.

Karl W. Randolph.

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