[b-hebrew] b-hebrew] Tense

Dave Washburn davidlwashburn at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 16:26:54 EST 2012

On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM, Dr. Frank Matheus <post at matheus.de> wrote:
> Dear list members,
> Karl wrote:
> Going back to the question that started this thread, don’t the number of
> cases where the Wayyiqtol is found in non-past contexts make it impossible
> to say whether or not a single Wayyiqtol standing alone refers to a past
> event apart from a context that indicates past tense?
> I would say no. As most waw-PCs (wayyiqtols) point to the past, it is the
> only form that indicates this time sphere by itself.  As Comrie writes: „The
> existence of such counterexamples to the general characterisation of the
> English past as indicating past time reference does not invalidate this
> general characterisation.“ (Comrie, Tense, 1985, 19-20). Taking up Rolf’s
> thesis that we do not know for sure whether the wayyiqtol expresses tense by
> itself, we can also assume a narrative mode, where the time reference is by
> itself past, but not revealed by the verb form (like the English historic
> present). But anyway, perceiving a single wayyiqtol-form lets us think of
> the past. This is not the case with a single qatal-form like אָמַ֣ר  , which
> can be found in a narrative mode (cf. Gen 13:14 וַֽיהוָ֞ה אָמַ֣ר
> אֶל־אַבְרָ֗ם  ), but might also express anteriority (cf. Gen 22:3 וַיֵּ֔לֶךְ
> אֶל־הַמָּק֖וֹם אֲשֶׁר־אָֽמַר־ל֥וֹ הָאֱלֹהִֽים ) which the wayyiqtol usually
> does not.

The latter clause only expresses anteriority because it's an אֲשֶׁר
clause. It has nothing to do with the form of the verb, except for the
fact that wayyiqtols can only appear in clause-initial position. So
I'm not sure these examples actually show what you're trying to

Dave Washburn

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