[b-hebrew] Infinitive Absolute (Verbal Noun)

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Tue Apr 10 21:33:10 EDT 2007


Bryant,

I am afraid that this "INTENSITY that the Infinitive Absolute brings"  
is a figment of the imagination. In my opinion there is nothing  
grammatical in MOT TA-MUT of Genesis 2:17 and it should be simply  
translated as "you will die". Any addition to this is but a marring  
detraction. Similarly, I would translate Exodus 21:5 AMOR YO-MAR, as  
"shall say", and not "shall plainly say". What is this "plainly" for?  
I am tempted to translate this verse as "And if the servant shall  
come and say" to add to it some literary flesh, but "come" is not in  
the original.

As I said before this "Infinitive Absolute" is a mere cadential  
device made possible in Hebrew by the fact that the language is root  
based, and by the interchangeability of the vowels (universal  
personal pronouns) O, U, I as in SOS, SUS, SIS, all from the root SS.  
It is not reproducible in English and should always be left alone.  
You want to experience the unique flavor of the Hebrew Bible---study  
Hebrew.

Notice also how random and sparsely used this device is. In 1Samuel  
24:20 we find MALOK TI-MLOK, but in Micah 5:3 it is KI ATAH YIGDAL,  
and not  KI ATAH GADOL YIGDAL.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Apr 10, 2007, at 3:29 AM, Bryant J. Williams III wrote:

> Dear Isaac,
>
> First, note the change in subject line.
>
> Second, the Hebrew is quite clear, but it is the way the English
> translations (probably should go to the Bible Translation site) vary
> translating the Infinitive Absolute (Verbal Noun). The verses you  
> quote
> clearly show that. But I wonder if there is really any way that the
> INTENSITY that the Infinitive Absolute brings could really be  
> brought out in
> the Target Language (English in this instance) without resorting to
> redundancy or over translating?
>
> Hey List, any thoughts?
>
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
> To: "Bryant J. Williams III" <bjwvmw at com-pair.net>
> Cc: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 5:23 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17
[cut]
>> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
>> To: "Scott McAliley" <scottanderin1 at hotmail.com>
>> Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
>> Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2007 10:38 AM
>> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17
> [cut]
>
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