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

davidfentonism at aim.com davidfentonism at aim.com
Mon Nov 20 17:48:09 EST 2006


  In the Bowman (1960) text, Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek, we read that, "The peculiar character of the Hebrew language and its manner of expression must have been obvious to every European who has read the Old Testament in Hebrew; Luther made occasional reference to it, and Herder described the distinctive traits of Old Testament poetic art[1]. The question of the formal and real relationship between Israelite-Jewish and Greek-Hellenistic thinking became for Christianity and the Church a live problem, and the occasion of penetrating theological investigations, only after Adolf Harnack had called attention to its great importance for the development of dogma in the early Christian Church, a Church endowed with Greek thinking and mental life, and after he had maintained that the Gospel was hellenized and that dogma was a product of the Greek intellect in the soil of the Gospel[2]"
 
 I think the principle about difference between Hebrew and Greek thoughtforms is further illustrated by the respective understanding of Torah (i.e., instructions on the one hand and law on the other).
 
 Regards,
 David
 ----------------------------
 [1] J. G. Herder, Vom Geist der ebraischen Poesie
  [2] A. Harnack, History of Dogma  
 -----Original Message-----
 From: kwrandolph at gmail.com
 To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
 Sent: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 12:53 PM
 Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Hebrew language and thought forms, was: "Desire of Women" in Heb. Text of Dan. 11:37
 
  Peter:

I think I see a difference in our English usage.

On 11/20/06, Peter Kirk <peter at qaya.org> wrote:
> 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
>
I make a distinction between language structure and language usage. It
appears to me that you combine the two, to a certain extent.

I view vocabulary as part of language usage, as it changes with
changing requirements, even the frequency of word usages depend on the
author's intent. And where new ideas are needed to be discussed,
neologisms, importing terms from other languages and redefining old
terms can give voice to these new ideas.

But you are right that when vocabulary lacks expressions for certain
ideas, then it makes it more difficult to conceive and communicate
those ideas. Thus if you take "language" as including vocabulary, it
does have some influence on thought patterns.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph.
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