[b-hebrew] qal passive

Donald Vance donaldrvance at mac.com
Fri Jun 18 10:16:20 EDT 2010


In fact, what I wrote in my grammar was that if we have Dp (pual)  
forms of a root for which no D (piel) stem is preserved, there is a  
good chance that we are dealing with a Gp (Qal passive), which is  
preserved in Aramaic for example.

Sent from my iPhone

Donald R. Vance
donaldrvance at mac.com

On Jun 18, 2010, at 3:23 AM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com> wrote:

> [KR]
>> so that while they are not perfect, they are close.
>
> Finally,
> we might be able to talk. One of the refrains we hear
> from Karl is that 'the MT is not perfect, therefore it cannot be
> trusted'. But now we hear that 'close' may be acceptable.
> Good.
> Because 'close' it is. Perhaps we need to review a couple of
> earlier statements on the thread before continuing. Alternatively,
> one might just jump down to an example below (***) where the
> MT tests out better than might be expected/amazing.
>
> [RB]
>>>> When interpreting the MT, it is always good to remember that
>>> the masoretes knew Hebrew.
>>> [JC}
>>> That's quite a bold assumption you're stating Randall!
>
> [RB]
> Yes, the Masoretes knew Hebrew. Let me go WAY out on a limb
> here--I'll even state that the pope is Catholic and that the Masoretes
> were circumcized. OK--after all these bold assumptions--
> we can return to a discussion.
>
> . . .
>
> [KR]
>> how many of the ambiguities of the text were
>> self-inflicted? Based on the fact that they were trying to read  
>> Tanakh
>> through the lenses of tradition, medieval Hebrew and medieval  
>> Aramaic?
>
> Who said that they were trying to read through such lenses? [Someone
> from the 21st century who doesn't recognize an idiom like
> ish liqrat re`o/re`av and ish et re`o/re`av in unpointed Hebrew?] It  
> needs to
> be pointed out that the line of argumentation by KR is apparently  
> based
> on suspicion and assumption, and that no LINGUISTIC evidence is  
> brought
> forth. Just how much alleged influence is coming from medieval Hebrew,
> medieval Aramaic, or medieval Arabic? These allegations can be
> examined, and they must be, in order to know if it is neglible or  
> system
> changing. But until they are examined and supported by some evidence,
> they need to be labelled what they are: fearful allegations.
>
> So let's restate this, to make the discussion clear.
> The Masoretes were not trying to read the Tana"x through the lenses
> KR alleges, But one will need to know BH and the related languages
> in order to know that the suspicions are sweeping and overgeneralized.
> KR cites a suspicion as 'based on the fact ...', but without any  
> example
> or proof! And remember, disagreeing on a verse does not prove
> that the Masoretes did not control or preserve Hebrew as a language.
> One must show how and where they have been influenced in their  
> language.
> It is actually relatively easy to show how and where they have NOT  
> been
> influenced. But you need to know the other languages to prove that.  
> The
> morphological system reflected in the MT is NOT mishnaic Hebrew, NOT
> medieval Aramaic, and NOT Arabic, yet it is a linguistically coherent
> system and can be fit into a stemma for the Semitic languages as a  
> whole.
> Amazing.
>
>> It is very possible that the modern student can know better  
>> Biblical Hebrew
>> than did the Masoretes.
>
> Yes, it is possible to learn things that they did not know.
> See below for one example.
> But that does not mean that one can expect to do do so by ignoring
> the MT pointing.
> When we study the MT,
> we find them preserving things that they did not get from Aramaic or
> Arabic, nor mishnaic Hebrew, sometimes with proto-Semitic roots.
> Maybe the MT should be listed as one of the wonders of
> the ancient world. It's a remarkable work that can be tested for  
> internal
> linguistic consistency and development, but in order to do that one  
> must
> control historical and comparative linguistics, and the related  
> Semitic
> languages and dialects. If someone throws that out, and throws out  
> the MT,
> too, they would be left to 'conspiracy theories' and maybe a foreign,
> analytical
> lexicon based on 19th century scholarship. (And why would that be  
> trusted?
> I wouldn't. )
>
> [KR]
>> That is best done when the student of Biblical
>> Hebrew has not cluttered his mind with cognate languages, e.g.  
>> Mishnaic
>> Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, Arabic, etc.,
>
> KR is free to ignore these languages, but he might be cluttering his  
> mind
> with non-Semitic languages, even creating a 'conspiracy Hebrew', while
> these closely related dialects and languages offer a chance to  
> measure the
> allegations and claims, to test them for probability and linguistic  
> soundness.
> [e.g., KR refuses to acknowledge that hishlik is a hif`il in BH,  
> even though
> the MT is unanimous and he has no counter example, just suspicion.]
> Refusing to compare AND also refusing the MT data is unconscienable.
> Of course, many have already tested MT Hebrew as a linguistic system,
> but based on their own results, they don't walk KR's road.
>
> Anyway, now that a De-Cartean perfection is not allowed to throw out
> all human-touched evidence, we can discuss probabilities within the
> real world. The MT can stand the tests and we will be able to  
> profitably
> discuss places where it can be evaluated.
>
> ***
> I'll give an example where we can update the MT linguistic system:
> the internal Qal passive is an item that is not part of the  
> traditional
> Hebrew grammar description and thus was not a part of 19th century
> anayltical lexica.
>
> The MT has retained vocalizations like luqqaH and yuqqaH לֻקַּח  
> יֻקַּח
> as well as yuttan יֻתַּן and 'ennenu ukkal' איננו  
> אֻכָּל. [Note that this
> last form is a participle, and thus not pu`al, nor feminine like  
> 'fire'.]
> This is remarkable because Aramaic had no internal qal passive, nor
> even a nifal. [Aramaic did have forms built off of the passive-perfect
> participle with cEc-I-c vowels.] And the BH vowels don't fit the  
> Arabic
> passives, *luqiHa. They do not function as pu``als, and there are no
> pi``els attested for them to be passives to. From comparison with
> other Semitic languages it is clear that an internal Qal passive used
> to exist, but a qal would not have a lengthened middle consonant:
> either *luqaH or *luqiH. but not *luqqaH.
> So how can the dagesh in MT luqqaH be explained?
> Due to the nature of long and short vowels in unaccented syllables,  
> the
> passive nature of these BH forms needed to develop a morphological/
> phonetic change during the biblical/post-biblical period. The phonetic
> lengthening of the consonant after the [u] vowel achieved this. But
> this resulted in a homonym with pu``al forms in the past/suffix tense
> and with hof`al in the future/prefix tense. (Arabic, too, has homonyms
> between qal future passives and "hif`il" [a.k.a. af`ala] future  
> passives,
> which is one of the reasons for the dimishing of the "hif`il"  
> pattern in
> spoken Arabic. But that is another story and thread.)
> The Masoretes preserved this [u], letting us see quite a few  
> examples of
> internal qal passive in the Hebrew Bible, EVEN THOUGH the Masoretes
> themselves were unaware of the grammatical status of these forms.
> They knew the words, they knew what they meant as words/verbs, but
> they did not know how they fit into a grammatical system.
> "We" now know.
>
> So we have learned something about Hebrew beyond the Masoretes
> themselves, and we can applaud the fact that the Masoretes did
> NOT obliterate or change these forms that did not fit a system, but
> instead, they preserved them so that later generations might have
> access to the language system and might better understand them.
>
> (NB: analytical lexica of the 19th century do not list an internal qal
> passive, if I assume/guess correctly. So students should not
> rely on those as a last word, nor as a fully reliable authority.)
>
> My bottom line is this: everyone can go ahead and read unpointed
> Hebrew to their heart's content. But one should learn one historically
> attested dialect, and internalize it, so that one is on the same page
> and can communicate with Hebrew speakers and texts from
> throughout the ages.
>
> -- 
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
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