[b-hebrew] XBR vs. XBL: One Key to Understanding the Patriarchal Narratives
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Dec 9 15:00:31 EST 2008
1. You wrote: “Why do you keep wanting to make connections to a language
which, by your own claim, did not exist at that time? That's nuts!”
I do not understand what you are saying here. Biblical Hebrew is closely
related to the Semitic languages that preceded it. Moreover, in examining XBR
vs. XBL, I am primarily looking at the usages of those words in Biblical Hebrew.
The theory I am advancing on this thread is that if we look at
fully-developed Biblical Hebrew, there seems to be an unusual amount and variety of
positive “rope imagery”. You yourself have great expertise in Biblical Hebrew, so
your opinion will be valuable in determining whether or not Biblical Hebrew in
fact does have an amazing amount of positive rope imagery.
2. You wrote: “While linguistic study is the focus of B-Hebrew, insisting
that it be tied to a certain interpretation of history is a no-no on this list.
You are violating the rules you agreed to join this list.”
You are the one who keeps citing references to a supposedly historical Sodom
and Gomorrah on the southeast coast of the Dead Sea, and an historical Exodus.
I have said virtually nothing about those historical claims of yours,
because they are not the main subject of the b-hebrew list. By contrast, examining
whether the language of Biblical Hebrew has a great amount of positive rope
imagery, and then asking if that may help us pinpoint when Biblical Hebrew
separated itself off from earlier Semitic languages, is exactly the type of issue
that b-hebrew is designed to address, I would think.
3. You wrote: (a) “But far enough different as to be different words: XBL
to tie knots. XBR to join together.”
Yet note how the concept of “rope” neatly ties those two ideas together.
One often uses “rope” “to tie knots”/XBL. And “to join together”/XBR can be
conceptualized as being “bound” together as if by a “rope”. That is the
type of “rope imagery” I want to explore on this thread.
(b) “To be complete, you need to bring in other synonyms as well, such as:
)SR to tie to, such as yoking oxen to a plow
XB$ to bind on, e.g. saddle, bandages
)QR to tie up, wrapping a rope around
RKS to knot on and a few others. As you can see, some of the synonyms have
meanings closer to XBL than does XBR, weakening your argument.”
Thank you for these helpful leads. I will explore each of them.
4. You wrote: “You have already been repeated told that you need more than
BDB to make an argument. That this argument is based solely on BDB shows you
what you are talking about.”
My arguments are by no means based solely on BDB. In my next post, I will
quote primarily from the KJV translation. A rabbi I know well recommended BDB
to me. I myself think it is a pretty good source. Of course, I do not rely on
any one source exclusively, nor is BDB even my primary source in this area.
Karl, I listen to what you say Hebrew words mean. But I then balance that
against what the classics of Hebrew language say as to what Hebrew words mean,
and I look at many different translations. I think all of us benefit by
looking at numerous sources in trying to pinpoint the meanings of Hebrew words.
5. You wrote: In response to my assertion that “The basic meaning of XBL as
a noun is "rope"”, you wrote: “Wrong. The basic meaning is something that
is tied to something else, such as the fields around a city, contractual
agreement, moral limits. A rope is only sometimes connected with the action of
As to fields, they could be tied to a city. But I see XBL here as
referencing the fact that a field could be “measured”, and that such measurement of a
field might well be done by means of a “rope”. See Amos 7: 17 and Zechariah
2: 5. In a “contractual agreement”, the parties are “bound” as if by a “
rope”. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here. In my next post I will
look at all the many meanings of XBL that may arguably be connected to the
concept of a “rope”, either in terms of measuring something or in terms of “
binding” two or more things or people together.
6. You wrote: “XBR is never used in connection with rope. And when talking
about people, it is about a voluntary association, without the idea of being
tied down to
remain part of the group.”
Here, you are starting to get to the key issue that I will begin to raise in
my next post. I will try to show that the Hebrews considered a “voluntary
association” to be a situation where people agree to be “bound” together, as if
by a “rope”. Oddly and interestingly, the Hebrews viewed that “rope”
metaphor as being very positive. You instinctively reflect the view of most other
languages, which generally see a “rope” as being a negative image. You refer
to a “voluntary association” not having the attribute of “being tied down”,
where you seem to view a “rope” as a negative item that could “tie down”
people in an unpleasant and undesired way. In fact, most languages may think of “
rope” as being the means by which poor innocents are hanged! This is
precisely the point that I want to investigate on this thread. In my view, Biblical
Hebrew, uniquely among languages, may have an oddly positive view of “rope
imagery”. Though you and I and most other peoples on earth might view “rope
imagery” as generally being negative, I see XBR and XBL as setting forth a great
deal of positive “rope imagery” in Biblical Hebrew, where the idea of being “
bound” together, as if by a “rope”, was usually a good thing, not a bad thing.
But once again, we are getting way ahead of ourselves, as I have not yet set
forth the meanings of XBR and XBL that I see as backing up my view of the
case. However, maybe now you can see the issue I am driving at. If the first
Hebrews had a uniquely positive view of “rope”, unlike other peoples, that may
help us pinpoint the time at which the language of Biblical Hebrew emerged as a
separate language from the ocean of other Semitic languages of the Canaanites.
7. You wrote: “Have you considered that maybe the context [of the
Patriarchal narratives] did not call for a "rope"? Did you check all the synonyms for
"rope" such as (BT, MYTR, and others; were they also not used?”
Thank you for these good hints. I will pursue them.
8. You wrote: “With this language, you indicate that you are writing a book.
In fact, I am not writing a book. Rather, I am trying to determine the
historicity of the Patriarchal narratives, based in large part on a new look at the
meaning of the Hebrew words in the text, especially regarding geographical
place names in Canaan. I have learned so much about Biblical Hebrew and the
Patriarchal narratives since I became aware of the b-hebrew list. I understand
the Patriarchal narratives much better now than when I started posting on the
All comments by you and everyone else about Biblical Hebrew language matters
are greatly appreciated. I think we all learn from those comments. I know I
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