[b-hebrew] Definite articles and proper names in B-Hebrew

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Tue Oct 13 18:29:06 EDT 2009

Dear James,

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, p. 404, para. 126, 2.
    "The article is, generally speaking, employed to determine a substantive
wherever it is required by Greek and English; thus:
        (a) When a person or thing already spoken of is mentioned again, and is
consequently more definite to the mind of the hearer or reader; e.g. Gn 1:3 and
God said, Let there be light; verse 4 and God saw the light ('et-ha'or).

Probably more to the point is pages 410ff.
    When a genitive, deteremined in any way, followsa nomen regens, it also
determines the nomen regens, which, according to para. 89 a, is always in the
construct state. Moreover, every pronominal suffix attached to a substantive is,
according to para. 33 c, to be considered a genitive determinate by nature. An
independent genitve may be determinate -
    (a) By its character as a proper name (according to 125 a), e.g. debar YHWH,
the word of the LORD.

Of course, Gesenius gives several examples of instances where the article is
omitted due to rhythm or rhetoric.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James Christian" <jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com>
To: "Joel C. Salomon" <joelcsalomon at gmail.com>
Cc: "Biblical Hebrew list" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 2:22 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Definite articles and proper names in B-Hebrew

> I hate to bring this up again but after so long a discussion we don't seem
> to have reached any kind of grammatically plausible explanation of why the
> article is consistently missing in the style of the creation account.
> Is there anybody in favour of this being explained in the same way as the
> absence in construct forms is explained? i.e. that phrases don't need
> definite articles if there are other indicators which make the phrase
> definite? If so, what are those indicators?
> Could it be that implicit definiteness is what explains that lack of
> definite articles in most languages? Native speakers of Slavonic languages
> like Polish, Ukrainian and Russian - what difference do you perceive between
> names and titles in your native languages? (NB there is no definite article
> in Slavonic languages)
> James Christian
> 2009/10/6 Joel C. Salomon <joelcsalomon at gmail.com>
> > James Christian wrote:
> > > I think you are referring to ויהי איש אחד מן הרמתים צופים which is
> > commonly
> > > translates as 'And there was a certain man from Ramathaim-Zophim'. I'm
> > > guessing that you are trying to point out that Ramathaim-Zophim is a
> > proper
> > > name and yet is used with a definite article?
> >
> > I have seen this explained (by Malbim, IIRC) that "the Ramathaim" were
> > twin towns named Ramath.
> >
> > —Joel Salomon
> >  _______________________________________________
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> > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
> >
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