[b-hebrew] Speaking only for myself ...

Yohanan bin-Dawidh yohanan.bin.dawidh at gmail.com
Fri Jun 27 19:42:06 EDT 2008

Shalom Shoshanna;

It is true that some of the commentators of Yahadut Rabbanit were biblical
Hebrew linguists, but it is also true that some of them were very poor when
it came to their knowledge of Hebrew. It is also true that some people who
were viewed as heretics during their own time, by the majority, are now
praised as great scholars, one being Rambam. It is strange to me that during
the time of the Ga'onim that our so-called scholars thought that Aramaic
(then Arabic) should be spoken by us, as our every day language, and used to
write our commentaries, believed Hebrew to sacred to speak on an every day
basis, which is truly asonine to me, because if culture is lost when a
language is lost. It is also strange to me, that the Rabbanim refer to the
Qara'im as heretics, when the Qara'im thought that Hebrew should be spoken
as our every day languge, over Aramaic (then Arabic), although many of them
did speak Judeo-Arabic.

Yo*h*anan bin-Dawidh

On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 5:44 PM, Shoshanna Walker <rosewalk at concentric.net>

> What bothers me about this list, is that many of the great Rabbinical
> commentators were Biblical Hebrew linguists, however they are never
> cited here, except when I used to bother, and their teachings, which
> solve a great number of quandaries, when I cited them, were dismissed
> anyway.  The impression is that, although this is a Bibilical Hebrew
> list, the list is not interested in the linguists who were connected
> to our Oral Torah tradition, even though they WERE linguists.
> Shoshanna
> Dear John Linebarger:
> On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 12:16 PM, John M. Linebarger <jmlineb at comcast.net>
> wrote:
> > I am a lurker on b-hebrew but more active on b-greek, and I am struck by
> > the difference between the two groups.  There is much more controversy on
> > b-hebrew,'Ķ
> One of the things that attracted me to the study of Biblical Hebrew,
> already
> back in my college days, was the realization that a lot less is known of
> the
> language than of Greek, for example. One of the results of less being known
> of the language is that there is more controversy between different
> understandings of the language with less likelihood that the differences be
> resolved.
> > 'Ķwhich is not necessarily positive or interesting.'Ķ
> Can be, but you're right, too often it is not.
> > 'Ķ The most recent exchange between Isaac Fried and David Kummerow is a
> case
> > in point.
> >
> > Quite frankly, speaking only for myself, what I find tedious is Isaac's
> > persistent refusal either to study linguistics or to accept its results
> as
> > being normative for that discipline.  Isaac appears to wish that
> lingistics
> > was much more like mathematics, but it is not.  So he appears to fight it
> > instead of accepting it and working within it.  As a result, what he puts
> > forward often appears to be gibberish to the linguistics community.  If
> the
> > goal is to change the field of linguistics, a prerequisite would appear
> to
> > be both an understanding of it and a willingness to use its medium of
> > discourse to communicate the need for change.
> >
> > My biggest problem with his theories is that too often he is wrong. But
> like so many such ideologues, he just blows off the criticism and soldiers
> on.
> > My humble request is that  unprofitable exchanges like this latest one
> > either be minimized or eliminated in future.  A ground rule for posting
> > would appear to be a willingness to express oneself in commonly accepted
> > terms of discourse in the linguistic community.  Failure to do that is
> > simply a conscious choice not to be understood, which dooms the
> > communication to be ineffective at the start.
> >
> > The problem is, where do you draw the line?
> The way I personally deal with it is to skip Isaac's postings when I come
> across them, putting them in the electronic round file unread. The way I
> deal with messages from Jim Stinehart is to leave them in the in box a
> couple of days, then when I round file them, they go with their accumulated
> responses unread.
> The problems for a list leader (sorry, the proper term escapes me at the
> moment) is different from my personal solution. How is he to choose which
> people to post, and which to forbid? By formal scholarship? If by formal
> scholarship, he would have to deny me, as I have all of one year (two
> semesters) of one class in Hebrew. Yet I have read the text of the
> Tanakh/Old Testament through several times and in the process wrote a
> dictionary from Biblical Hebrew to English, which few, if any, PhDs in
> Hebrew have done. I do not envy their job.
> > John M. Linebarger
> > PhD Computer Science (so Hebrew and linguistics are avocations, not
> > vocations)
> > Albuquerque, NM
> Karl W. Randolph.
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