[b-hebrew] translations of important quotes using Rolf's ideas

Ken Penner ken.penner at acadiau.ca
Mon Apr 9 10:37:07 EDT 2007

Thanks, Steve.

It seems to me that a good test of the usefulness of a theory about the Hebrew verb forms is its ability to correctly predict which forms the Hebrew author would have chosen.

If what the prophet had in mind would have been spoken in English as follows, which verb forms would Rolf's theory predict him to have chosen in Hebrew:

52:13 Look! My servant will act with insight. He will certainly be high
and elevated and exalted very much.
52:14 Just as many will be appalled at him - so 
disfigured is his appearance more than that of any other man, 
and his form more than that of mankind -
52:15 likewise he will startle many nations. Because 
of him kings will shut their mouth.  For what had 
not been recounted to them, they will actually see,
and to what they had not heard they must 
turn their attention.
53:1 Who will believe our message?  And to whom will 
the arm of YHWH be revealed?
53:2 He will come up before him like a tender 
shoot, like a root out of dry ground. He will not have a 
stately form nor any splendor. We will see him, 
but he will not have an appearance that we should 
desire him.
53:3  He will be despised and avoided by men, a 
man of pain, who is familiar with 
sickness. He will be like one from whom men hide their faces, 
a despised one, who we will not esteem.
Where the theory is not able to correctly predict the verb form, we need to ask why (this is not a rhetorical question). Is it because English lacks the precision necessary to convey the nuances of the Hebrew verbs efficiently? Then we should try over-translating, in order to convey that nuance. Is it for some pragmatic reason? If so, that reason should be spelled out so we can take it into account. Is it for no apparent reason? This should be stated.

How does this sound as a test of a theory regarding Hebrew verb form semantics?


Ken M. Penner, Ph.D. (McMaster)
Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic vocabulary memorization software: 

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