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

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Mon Nov 20 14:38:15 EST 2006

Dear Karl,

It suffices. See also my reply to Peter. Also I was thinking of the Hebrew
word TSADDIQ and cognate and the Greek word DIKAISOSUNH and cognates. Both
refer to "conforming to a norm." That norm would be legal, ethical, social,
cultural, etc. To the Hebrew, the conformity to a norm was a divine norm as
revealed in the Torah, i.e. God's character as revealed in the Law of Moses
(later to mean the entire Tanakh). To the Greek, while early in Greek
literature it referred to the divine norm revealed by the gods, it primarily
referred to the legal or social/cultural norms. In fact, Genesis 38 has
Judah saying of Tamar that "she is more righteous than I." Now, here is
where a mixture of cultural and legal are mixed.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Hebrew language and thought forms,was: "Desire of
Women" in Heb. Text of Dan. 11:37

> Bryant:
> On 11/20/06, Bryant J. Williams III <bjwvmw at com-pair.net> wrote:
> > Dear Karl & Peter,
> >
> > Please give examples.
> >
> > Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
> Probably the easiest would be to give examples in English.
> The sentence, "He is evil" can be understood two different ways, even
> in English.
> If one follows the thought pattern used by the ancient Greek
> philosophers, "evil" would be considered an intrinsic and immutable
> part of the person.
> However, because of the influence of the Bible and the Reformation on
> English thought, "is" can be understood in an activist sense,
> referring to the actions the person does, actions that the person can
> change.
> Another example is the famous Japanese koan, "You've heard the sound
> of two hands clapping, what is the sound of one hand clapping?" From
> the ancient Greek view, they look at the form of the hand doing the
> clapping, while the activist thinking sees the action of the clapping,
> which is when two surfaces strike and they don't have to be hands.
> Thus the koan is a nonsense statement, as one surface cannot clap.
> When we look at Biblical Hebrew, we find an activist choice of terms
> and vocabulary usage. Even the verb "to be" is widely recognized as
> referring to activity such as becoming or doing. Because of the
> commonality of activist understanding in usage, we perceive that it
> would be difficult but not impossible for a person living in that
> society to conceive and express ideas consistent with ancient Greek
> philosophy. However, that difficulty we perceive could stem from the
> fact that we have extant only a subset of the ancient Hebrew language,
> that the ancients may have had an easier time expressing other modes
> of thought than we can conceive of.
> What both Peter and I recognize is that the
> functional-activist-historical thinking is not intrinsic to ancient
> Hebrew language itself, rather to the use of the language in contrast
> to those who would say that languages intrinsically communicate
> certain ideas and cannot communicate other ideas.
> Does this help?
> Karl W. Randolph.
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