[b-hebrew] Alleged "prophetic tense"

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Dec 1 20:46:13 EST 2012


I don’ty know of any published articles in journals that deal specifically
with this question. However, I have published on this list reasons why this
“prophetic tense” is a fallacy.

The so-called “prophetic tense” comes from the belief that the Qatal form
of verbs codes for the past tense. While that is true for modern Hebrew,
and I’m not sure for how much earlier, it’s not true for Biblical Hebrew.
In Biblical Hebrew, the Qatal and Yiqtol forms code for neither tense nor
aspect, rather for mood: the basic moods being primary vs. secondary moods.
Hence, future events written about in Qatal form refers to a primary use of
the verb, indicative, of an event that has not yet come.

The Yiqtol secondary use is also secondary to the subjunctive mood, as well
as indicating results of the primary verb, intent and continuation of

It seems to me that sometimes the choice of Qatal or Yiqtol might be
related to grammatical use, but that impression may merely be the result of
poor understanding of the text on my part.

Karl W. Randolph.

On Sat, Dec 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM, Barry <nebarry at verizon.net> wrote:

> I'm writing an essay in response to some people who are seriously
> misusing the concept. My argument is that it doesn't really exist, not
> even as a usage. That a particular passage may be prophetic has nothing
> to do with the particular aspect of the verbs employed, but the context
> of the passage and how it is then subsequently understood in the history
> of interpretation (I'm especially thinking of canonical interpretation,
> but not restricted to that). I'd appreciate any comments on this, or
> references to any published discussions beyond the apologetically driven
> "articles" I've seen on various web pages.
> --
> N.E. Barry Hofstetter
> Semper melius Latine sonat
> The American Academy
> http://www.theamericanacademy.net
> The North American Reformed Seminary
> http://www.tnars.net
> Bible Translation Magazine
> http://www.bible-translation.net
> http://my.opera.com/barryhofstetter/blog
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