[b-hebrew] virginity

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Jul 19 21:43:23 EDT 2007


Yigal,

Excuse me, but how do you dare to compare mathematics to linguistics.  
If mathematics is the atlantic ocean, than linguistics is a small  
puddle under the garden faucet in our back yard. While mathematics is  
a monumentally rich deductive discipline, linguistics is mere  
Geschwaetz. Trust me, you can discard the entire content of your  
Hebrew linguistics into the nearest dustbin and it will be to your  
utter benefit. Hebrew linguistics did not move one millimeter, nor  
was one milligram of intellectual initiative added to it since  
medieval times.
Now you explain to me how is it possible that "ghayin is one of the  
basic consonants in Semitic languages, ancient and modern" and yet no  
separate letter was ever assigned to it in the Canaanite-Hebrew  
alphabet.
Turning a deep throated ayin into a G is not a tragedy: (ALMAH and  
GALMAH are essentially the same thing---a handsome and buxom woman,  
but turning a deep ayin into a resh, converting an (AZA into a RAZA,  
this is a crime against humanity.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jul 19, 2007, at 5:23 AM, Yigal Levin wrote:

> Dear Isaac,
>
> I know that you take pride in not accepting anything that linguists  
> say about languages, but what would you, as a professor of  
> mathematics, say if a historian, who (like myself) had no real  
> knowledge of mathematical theory, came up with some totally new  
> idea that threw what all mathematicians since Newton have done into  
> the dustbin. You, or at least most mathematicians, would say, "let  
> him acquire at least a basic knowledge and appreciation of present  
> theory, and then start deconstructing it". This does not mean that  
> the "uninitiated", that is, someone from outside the field, could  
> not have very useful insights. Indeed, it sometimes takes a fresh,  
> non-traditional look at things to put scholarship back on track.  
> But there are limits to this as well.
>
>
>
> The fact that ghayin is one of the basic consonants in Semitic  
> languages, ancient and modern, is well recognized by linguists. It  
> is not something that "some Arabs" have developed by talking funny,  
> but rather something "some Hebrews" have lost over time. Hebrew,  
> like any other language, developed over time and did not do so in a  
> linguistic vacuum.
>
>
>
> I do accept Dave's warning about not automatically accepting the  
> semantic meaning of Ugaritic "glmt" as being the same as biblical  
> 'almah. The words are definitely cognates and probably have similar  
> meanings, but even if the "glmt" of 13th century Ugarit means "a  
> young, married woman", the word could have had a different meaning  
> to Isaiah in 8th century Jerusalem.
>
>
>
>
>
> Yigal Levin
>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: Isaac Fried
>   To: Yigal Levin
>   Cc: b-hebrew
>   Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 7:20 AM
>   Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity
>
>
>   Yigal,
>
>
>   I know that some Arabs pushed some Ayin so deep into their throat  
> that they choked on it and had to spit it back out as a fuzzy G or  
> an R. (ALMAH could equally well be GALMA, CALMA, $ALMA, TALMAH.  
> SALMAH is already taken for a full dress, and KALMAH does not  
> connote well, as does BALMAH.
>
>
>   Isaac Fried, Boston University
>
>
>   On Jul 18, 2007, at 11:46 PM, Yigal Levin wrote:
>
>
>     Dear Isaac,
>
>
>     The G in "glmt" is really a Gh, the letter "ghayin", related to  
> 'ayin but
>     pronounced deeper in the throat. This letter still exists in  
> Arabic. The
>     ancient Hebrews kept the distinction between the two even  
> though they used
>     the same sign for both of them, somwhat like Shin and Sin. So  
> that some
>     'ayins are orriginally ghayins. For Example, this is why the  
> city name 'Azza
>     in Hebrew became Gaza in Greek - because that how in was still  
> pronounced in
>     Hellenistic times (and is still pronounced in Arabic). That's  
> why 'Amorah is
>     "Gommorah". In this case, the Ugaritic proves that the 'ayin in  
> 'almah is
>     really a ghayin.
>
>
>     Yigal Levin
>
>
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
>     To: "Tory Thorpe" <torythrp at yahoo.com>
>     Cc: "B Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
>     Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 6:34 AM
>     Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity
>
>
>
>
>       Tory,
>
>
>       It appears to me that the "Ugaritic" word glmt = galmat? you are
>       quoting below is from the root GLM, 'to have shape, to have  
> body, to
>       be compact'. The word ends in the personal pronoun AT for the  
> woman
>       itself. The word GOLEM, 'fetus', of Psalms 139:16 is one of  
> the words
>       derived from this root. The root GLM is of the root family  
> BLM, KLM,
>       CLM, SLM, $LM [hence the name $ULAMIT of Songs 7:1, in which  
> both the
>       U and the IT are personal pronouns] and TLM.
>
>
>       Isaac Fried, Boston University
>
>
>       On Jul 18, 2007, at 9:45 PM, Tory Thorpe wrote:
>
>
>         Dear Bill,
>
>
>         On Jul 18, 2007, at 6:03 PM, Bill Rea wrote:
>
>
>           Tory wrote:-
>
>
>             If Isaiah had intended physical virginity to be clearly
>             understood he
>             would have undoubtedly wrote "woman/girl whom no man  
> had known..."
>             which is the manner in which the Hebrew author of Jdg.  
> xxi 12
>             expresses physical virginity so as to remove any  
> possibility of
>             doubt.
>
>
>           This is an assumption on your part. As such you can't  
> elevate an
>           assumption to a fact. The Judges 21:12 can easily be read  
> otherwise.
>           To insist that the author must have added ``whom no man  
> had known''
>           to remove doubt is a reasonable assumption but no more  
> reasonable
>           than believing the author was engaging in repitition for  
> literary
>           effect.
>
>
>         It is more than merely an assumption when one considers,  
> for example,
>         the annunciation formula in the Hymn of Nikkal from Ugarit:  
> hl glmt
>         tld bn, "Look, the almah will give birth to a son" (UT  
> 77:7). This is
>         strikingly similar to Isa. vii 14. Ugarit and ancient  
> Israel shared a
>         conventional idiom, but used it differently. Cyrus H.  
> Gordon always
>         rendered glmt (= almah) in Ugaritic texts by "maid" and never
>         "virgin" since another text from Ugarit puts glmt in  
> parallelism with
>         'att ("wife"), thus showing that the two are synonymous  
> terms. The
>         implication is that the etymological counterpart of  
> Ugaritic glmt in
>         BH may also be applied to a young wife. Gordon wrote:  
> "almah means a
>         'young woman' who may be a virgin, but is not necessarily  
> so" (JBL 21
>         [1953], p. 106). I don't think its possible to be more  
> nonpartisan
>         than that given the evidence currently available. Nothing  
> has really
>         changed since H. Schultz, Old Testament Theology  
> (Edinburgh, 1892),
>         II p. 414, agreed with the rabbinic understanding that  
> almah has to
>         do with years of age, not marital status or chastity per se.
>
>
>         One needs to evaluate your assertion that the negative  
> expressions in
>         Gen. xxiv 16 and Jdg. xxi 12 were added by the biblical  
> author merely
>         for literary effect against the evidence from Sumerian and  
> Akkadian.
>         Similar negative expressions are used in these languages;  
> there is no
>         single word for "virgin". There is no one word for "virgin" in
>         Ugaritic or in Mishnaic Hebrew. I would also add Biblical  
> Hebrew
>         because of the way betulah is defined in the Mishnah and in  
> the
>         cognate languages of the ancient Near East. In this  
> instance at
>         least, I could cite others, the Mishnaic Hebrew illumines  
> the BH. For
>         other examples, see R. Gordis "Studies in the Relationship of
>         Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew" Louis Ginzberg Jubilee  
> Volumes (New
>         York, 1946), pp. 173-200; idem, "Biblical Hebrew in Light  
> of Rabbinic
>         Usage" in Sepher Tur-Sinai (Jerusalem, 1961), pp. 149-167.
>
>
>         Tory Thorpe
>         _______________________________________________
>         b-hebrew mailing list
>         b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
>         http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
>
>
>
>
>       _______________________________________________
>       b-hebrew mailing list
>       b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
>       http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
>
>
>
>
>
>
>       --
>       No virus found in this incoming message.
>       Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>       Version: 7.5.476 / Virus Database: 269.10.6/902 - Release  
> Date: 15/07/2007
>       14:21
>
>
>
>
>
>
>     _______________________________________________
>     b-hebrew mailing list
>     b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
>     http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> --------
>
>
>   No virus found in this incoming message.
>   Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>   Version: 7.5.476 / Virus Database: 269.10.6/902 - Release Date:  
> 15/07/2007 14:21
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
>




More information about the b-hebrew mailing list