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

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Mon Nov 20 11:30:12 EST 2006

On 20/11/2006 16:14, K Randolph wrote:
> Peter:
> 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, I agree with you, except in disagreeing with myself! This was more 
or less the point I was trying to make. But since you admit that 
"available vocabulary (which includes idiomatic phrases)
influences ... how people think", I don't see how you can insist that 
"thought bears NO direct relationship to language". However, we entirely 
agree that language does not predetermine how people think.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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