[b-hebrew] Definite Article 7:14
JoeWallack at aol.com
JoeWallack at aol.com
Tue Jul 10 13:44:39 EDT 2007
In a message dated 7/8/2007 7:09:23 PM Central Daylight Time,
hholmyard3 at earthlink.net writes:
> HH: It can serve most of the examples we've discussed, theoretically all
> of them, since it is a category of usage for which these examples are
> cited. And the thought could be the same in the reader's mind as in the
> writer's. It does not have to be, as you suggest, definite for one and
> indefinite for the other. It is equally definite and generic for both.
> The one who escapes, if we provisionally accept that idea for Gen 14:13,
> would be, in both writer and hearer, a genus: "the one who escaped,"
> used specifically of an otherwise unidentified person who came to
> Abraham with news of Sodom.
> This is non-responsive to my question above. If you are willing to try
> harder I suggest you try to answer my one important question above:
> What examples would you give in the Hebrew Bible of the Author being
> Definite and the immediate Hebrew hearer taking it as Indefinite?
HH: I should have been clearer. If the context lacked a specific person
that the hearer could identify, he might have been able to understand
that the reference was generic and indefinite.
Genesis 14:13 is Narrative, not Dialogue. "If the context lacked a specific
that the hearer could identify". The most likely explanation is that the
identity is known to the speaker and not the hearer and the hearer understands
this. You want the possibility that the identity is known to the Speaker and
the Hearer does not know that the identity is known to the speaker. Even if
this is possible, isn't it unlikely? And considering that the same Author is
writing the part for Speaker and Hearer isn't it more than unlikely that there
would be this type of misunderstanding? Still waiting for an example of this
in the Hebrew Bible.
I'm beginning to fear that at the present rate of discussion the Messiah
could actually arrive before we determine his/her identity. In order to try and
avoid this contingency let me try to speed things up here. Regarding the
offending word of 7:14 and with Apologies to Isaac Fried, you and I agree that
the Hebrew Definite article is used. My position is that for starters this
indicates a defnite and therefore, known person to the Hebrew speaker, Isaiah. At
this point, whether or not this known person is known to the Hebrew hearer, I
say that "the" is the likely English translation. I'm guessing that your
current position is that you agree with me that this known person is likely
known to Isaiah. Yes or no? I understand you think it possible that this person
is unknown to the Hebrew hearer. Do you think that likely? Finally, if you
agree that the person is known to Isaiah but think this person is unknown to the
Hebrew hearer, do you think "a" is a possible translation or should be
> If I understand the category correctly it is something definite to the
> author that is indefinite to the immediate Hebrew hearer. I don't think
> any such category of Hebrew as the previous sentence has a natural
> contradiction. If someone did accept such a category than they would have
a huge amount
> of Uncertainty regarding whether any Author meant the Definite or
> An uncertainty I have Faith you do not possess.
HH: Context could give clarification. If no virgin has been mentioned or
is ever mentioned to the reader, he can gather that some other idea is
in view than a clearly identified individual.
Based on your qualifications above, in general I find this logical.
> Well you might want to do a current survey of translations. I believe that
> now the majority of Christian translations have "the".
HH: True, but English allows a somewhat similar idea to the Hebrew use
of the article that I learned. The reader can take "the virgin" as
generic if he chooses to do so. It is the typical young woman in Israel.
She gets pregnant, bears a child, and names him "Immanuel" because of
the hope she has in God and his protection of Israel.
Yes, this is a superior translation because it uses what's written in Hebrew
("the") and you present a possible understanding. But translations should be
based on probable and not possible. Same question as before though. Do you
think the young woman was known to Isaiah? Do you think the young woman was
known to Isaiah's immediate audience? If at least one of your answers is yes,
can you avoid "the" being the likely translation?
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