[b-hebrew] watered ground & forming dust

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Tue Nov 10 19:29:30 EST 2009


On 10 Nov 2009 at 14:06, Gerry Folbre wrote:

> Shalom, Naama:
> I fully realize that most if not all of you here will be unreceptive
> to the
> idea(s) I am hoping to discuss.  These idea(s) are not what you have
> been
> taught and therefore are not what is commonly construed from this
> particular
> Hebrew narrative.

In most cases here, my own included, it has nothing to do with what we've been taught.  It 
has to do with what we've observed in the language.  There's a wide range of grammatical 
and lexicological viewpoints on this list, so it might be a good idea to listen when they all 
agree on something.
> Naama:  I comprehend what you, K Randolph, and Yigal are sharing
> with me.  I
> have read E.A. Speiser´s Genesis commentary, as well as Nahum M.
> Sarna´s
> Genesis commentary and both convey similar ideas to what I am
> hearing from
> the three of you.
> I am not looking for an "argument", only a fair discussion of
> idea(s).

Please define what you consider "a fair discussion."
> Naama, you state above that   "can be dry or
> moist, and it can be
> formed."  I cannot find anywhere in the Hebrew Tanakh where 
>  is
> specifically designated as "moist" or where it is used as a
> material of the
> earth that is used for `forming´ vessels.  I am fully aware that
>  is used
> to describe the "surface of the ground", and that it can also be
> understood
> as "soil."  I have not found where  is used to describe
> "wet, irrigated
> soil on the surface of the ground" or where  is used in a
> "forming
> process."

As I recall, someone gave you at least two specific examples.  But even supposing there 
aren't any other examples in the corpus we have, you're looking at one, and that's enough 
to establish such a usage.  Words aren't like numbers, where a 2 is a 2 is a 2 and always 
will be.  Words mean what they mean because a society chooses to use them that way.  In 
that sense, (PR doesn't have any inherent meaning, it's nothing but a string of sounds.  
What gives it meaning is how people used it.  You have here at least one example of it 
being used for soil that could be formed into something, because the context won't allow any 
other sense.  

It's as if a bowler reads in the paper that the major league pitcher threw strikes.  To a 
bowler, throwing a strike means something very different than it does to a baseball pitcher.  
So the bowler has to realize that, in his sport, "strike" means "hit," i.e. knock all the pins 
down, but in baseball it means "miss," i.e. the batter didn't hit the ball.
Context is everything, especially in the word biz.

Dave Washburn


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