[b-hebrew] Ecclesiastes 3:11

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Fri Nov 2 12:20:29 EDT 2007

Dear Martin,

Your response finally came through.

It is a puzzle regarding the intensive negative in 3:11. Maybe if I contact
Albert Pietersma or Ken Penner or any other of the LXX masters on the B-Greek
list they may be able to help.

Are you saying that God has made us  aware of the infinite and that results in
an awareness of just how  limited our knowledge is?

Yes, but another reason for my response about the infinite/eternity in the
heart/mind is that man was created in God's image, thus, not only will man have
that infinite knowledge, but also will always have the longing for the spiritual
realm, though unable to obtain it due to sin (I could go further, but it is not
appropriate for this list unless done so OFF-LIST). Man, then, is a spiritual
creature. This, of course, is the whole issue regarding, "man under the sun" or
"man in the natural realm." The Greeks would have divided the heart/mind of
Hebrew thought into the body/soul/spirit. I am making the connection that what
is referred to here is the connection of the soul (mind/emotions/will) and the
spirit. There is an awareness of the infinite and of eternal things within man
that cannot be suppressed, even when they deliberately try to do so. He is fully
aware of the infinite/eternal and the spiritual realm, but as Paul indicates
"has deliberately suppressed the truth in unrighteousness."

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Martin Shields" <enkidu at bigpond.net.au>
To: "b-hebrew Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 4:16 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Ecclesiastes 3:11

> Bryant,
> I'm not sure why you don't receive emails directly from me, perhaps
> you ISP is blocking mine!
> > Second, regarding the double negative with asher. It seems to me
> > that what may
> > be happening is the same use as the OU MH in Greek. It is
> > intensifying the
> > negative to the point of saying, "no way able" or "never able to."
> There are examples of double negatives in BH which do appear to
> function intensively, but none elsewhere that I'm aware of which
> includes a relative between the negatives. Nor is the Greek parallel a
> precise parallel, because ου μη is common and unambiguous. Were you
> to read negative + relative + negative in Greek then I would think
> that would serve as a more accurate example.
> Still, I'm quite aware that many commentators on Qohelet agree with
> you (as do the versions, the LXX renders it as a negative purpose:
> οπως μη), while none agree with me. So if truth is determined
> democratically I'm not the favourite!
> > Third, since I am taking the double negative in such an intensive
> > meaning, then
> > the OLAM would be equivalent to "infinite." This sense, although
> > "eternity"
> > would be the same, would allow for the idea that man will never be
> > able to grasp
> > the totality of "eternity" or "creation" from its beginning to its
> > end. There is
> > a lot that man will learn or may know, but man will never find the
> > beginning or
> > reach the ending of who, what, etc., of God. David, as the "Sweet
> > Psalmist of
> > Israel" (forgot who originated the phrase), had it right when he
> > said, "The
> > heavens declare the glory of God; and firmament sheweth his
> > handiwork....The
> > earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they
> > that dwell
> > therein....or the Psalm 139:1-18.
> OK, now I'm getting a little lost. Qoh 3:11 says that God put העלם
> in people's "heart" (לב so perhaps just as precisely rendered "mind"
> as "heart"), so if I understand you correctly you're saying that God
> put the infinite in our minds. Are you saying that God has made us
> aware of the infinite and that results in an awareness of just how
> limited our knowledge is?
> Again, there are many commentators who support this position, so
> you're in good company.
> Regards,
> Martin Shields,
> Sydney, Australia.
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