[b-hebrew] The use of the Yiqtol in Isaiah 1:21

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Apr 23 11:44:39 EDT 2009


On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 2:47 AM, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 4:10 AM, K Randolph wrote:
> > Native speakers of which language?
> >
> > We’ve already hashed out this question, so there’s no reason to hash it
> out
> > again. But there is evidence that Hebrew had ceased to be a natively
> spoken
> > language during the Babylonian Exile or shortly thereafter, it had been
> > replace by Aramaic and in Hellenistic areas by Greek. There is evidence
> from
> > the LXX that at that time certain terms in Hebrew had been forgotten and
> > that the translators were merely guessing.
> >
> > I merely mention this because the evidence is not enough to be proof.
> This
> > is why some of us rule out the use of translations as being more than
> just
> > advisory.
> >
> > I’ve made my point, let’s just agree to disagree.
> Karl,
> I don't see why you bring it up if you see no reason to hash it out again
> in the
> first place.

Because you brought it up, at least by implication.

>  There is no evidence that Hebrew ceased to be a natively spoken
> language, and there is evidence it continued to exist until no earlier than
> the
> 2nd century CE.

There is evidence even among Biblical books. Those that were written before
the Babylonian Exile show a greater linguistic complexity than those written
afterwards, e.g. the final three prophets, Haggai, Zakaria and Malachi used
the language in a simpler manner, as befits those who do not have native
fluency of the language, than their pre-Exile predecessors.

>  This is evidence you don't accept, and some others on this
> list also rule out some of the evidence categorically (for example,
> anecdotal
> evidence in the Talmud is ruled out because the Talmud is a religious
> work that should be ignored for these purposes in their opinion).

Wrong reason listed. Anecdotal evidence from the Talmud is too vague, can be
applied to those who spoke Hebrew in the same manner as Latin in the
medieval period.

>  However,
> practically all linguists of Hebrew do accept the evidence, and the
> relevant
> conclusions that Hebrew continued to be spoken until the 2nd century CE.

Bandwagon logical fallacy; even if all linguists, which is not the case,
does not make it correct.

> Specifically as far as your "evidence" quoted above,

I didn’t quote any evidence, just mentioned that it exists.

> I go further, and I think there is even some evidence it continued to be
> spoken
> until the 10th century CE.

Of course it continued to be spoken. The question is, was it natively
spoken learned at home, or was it a scholarly/literary/religious language
learned in school but not spoken in the market nor at home? I think the
evidence favors the latter, and I am not alone.

>   Dead languages don't coin words this easily.

Depends on your definition of “dead language” as neologisms are still coined
for Latin.

> However, between these two extremes we have the consensus amongst
> all Hebrew linguists

No we don’t have a consensus, just a majority opinion, a majority opinion
BTW that could be wrong.

> that Hebrew remained a living language until the 2nd
> century CE.  You may disagree, just like I disagree.  But we both should
> have the humility to recognize that our independent positions should not
> be presented as fact.

Then why did you present your opinion as fact?

>  You can say "Practically all Hebrew scholars think
> that Hebrew survived until the 2nd century CE, but I don't accept their
> evidence."  You can see how I worded my position initially: "the current
> vocalization was used by people who at best spoke Late Rabbinic
> Hebrew."

The statement I reacted to is the following, “This position seems odd to me.
 Why do they rule out translations to Greek and Aramaic which were done by
native speakers of the language, and which provide us first hand knowledge
of each verb (well, with the exceptions of such textual issues as noted
previously) and the way the native speakers understood those verbs.” By the
rules of English usage, this is presenting your beliefs as fact.

> Karl, there are various types of ways to present your own opinion
> on this list and deal with evidence.   You could ignore it, force it,
> contend with it, or learn from it.  I think contending and learning should
> be the way to go.  If practically all Hebrew linguists feel that Hebrew
> maintained itself as a spoken language until the 2nd century BCE,
> don't you think you have at least a duty to figure out -- on your own,
> not based on how someone on this list presents the consensus
> view -- what that consensus evidence is and to contend with it?
> Until then, I think it would be more honest, to just say: "Most Hebrew
> scholars feel that Hebrew was spoken until the 2nd century CE.  I
> disagree and think it died much earlier based on my own personal
> research though I haven't had the chance to explore their evidence
> in detail yet."  If you stated your position in this way, I'd have no
> problem to agree to disagree.  But when you present your position
> as fact, and ignore the consensus position, as if any and all evidence
> there is points to your position even if it is not enough to be proof, I
> don't agree to anything.  You're just wrong, misleading people on the
> list, and ignoring the evidence.
> Yitzhak Sapir

Yitzhak, I know you are not a native speaker of English, yet you do quite
well in English. Better than many uneducated native speakers. However, in
this and your preceding messages, either you misunderstand some concepts of
English language, or you are pushing an agenda. You have pushed an agenda in
the past, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt in this case.

Now if you go back and carefully reread my message, I merely said there is
evidence, not sufficient to be proof. That is not claiming that my
interpretation of the evidence is a fact, rather it leaves the door open to
honest disagreement among scholars as to how to interpret the evidence. I
have been careful not to push my view as being the only correct one,
contrary to your claim above.

Your final paragraph is either a deliberate distortion of what I said in
pushing an agenda, as in setting up a straw man argument, or you
misunderstood and you built on that misunderstanding. Right now I’m inclined
to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you misunderstood. But even in
misunderstanding, you're just wrong, misleading people on the list, and
ignoring the evidence.

Karl W. Randolph.

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