[b-hebrew] Alleged "prophetic tense"

James Spinti jspinti at eisenbrauns.com
Mon Dec 3 10:40:39 EST 2012


In addition to John Cook's book, you might want to check out Joosten's new book on the Hebrew verb:
The Verbal System of Biblical Hebrew: A New Synthesis Elaborated on the Basis of Classical Prose
by Jan Joosten 
Jerusalem Biblical Studies - JBS 10
Simor, Ltd., 2012 

The Hebrew verbal system is the subject of a large amount of disagreement right now, so finding a consensus will be difficult…but I would say that most/all would agree with you that there is no "prophetic perfect" encoding. The context is what determines the interpretation.

James Spinti
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Eisenbrauns, Good books for more than 35 years
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On Dec 2, 2012, at 2:03 AM, George Athas wrote:

> Barry,
> I'm with you. I don't think there is such a thing as a prophetic perfect. However, I think this because I do not believe that the Qatal is encoded for perfective aspect. I would instead argue for it encoding a 'definite' (as opposed to indefinite) aspect. Its functional usage usually refers to the past, but this is not intrinsic to the verb form itself. Rather, it has to do with its syntax and context. The Qatal breaks momentum in a narrative, and this is usually caused by a break in the narrative to give some significant information (usually something in the past). However, the Qatal in and of itself doesn't preclude the possibility of the verb referring to the future. However, given its functional usage, this would be highly irregular.
> You should check out the new book on the Hebrew verb by John Cook published by Eisenbrauns (though I disagree with John's perfective–imperfective aspect polarity), as well as articles by Alexander Andrason.
> Dean of Research,
> Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
> Sydney, Australia
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