[b-hebrew] Psa 1,1f

Dr. Frank Matheus post at matheus.de
Sat Mar 10 06:11:45 EST 2012

Dear list-members,

there's an English abstract at the end of the book of about 20 pages, so
English readers will get a sufficient insight. Regarding the question, I'd
say that the Hebrew conjugations do not point to a specific sphere of time
by themselves, but are nevertheless tenses (like the German or English
present tense, which can be found in all three stages of time). "Tense" in
my study is defined as the ability of a verb to put a proposition with its
inherent event structure into a text (deictic character), where it enfolds
its temporal power, "aspects" are the time-relations within a text and do
not refer to the speaker (non-deictic). In Ps 1,1-2 both, the Suffix
Conjugation (SC) and the Prefix Conjugation (PC) do not point to a specific
point in time. Therefore German and English translation use the present
tense, which means, it can be aligned to all three time-stages: The man is
blessed in the past, present and future (so past tense and future tense
render as well). With Wolfgang Klein (Time in Language, London 1994) we have
to distinguish between the Topic Time (TT) and the Situation Time (ST), i.e.
the focused time and the time when an event actually takes place. The TT in
Ps 1 is the whole life of a man who is blessed. As he is not always tempted
to walk the way of evil, but only occasionally, we resolve this structure in
iterativity (ST happens sometimes within TT) and durativity (always blessed,
ST and TT coincide). If he walked just one time in the counsel of the
wicked, he'd not be blessed anymore. This case can only be found in the
future, as there would be no need of praise if he had done so in the past.
Same with the PC in V.2. There is no man in this world who is literally
meditating all the time. But he may do so several times a day. Again we
resolve this situation in iterativity. Clearly the verb forms do not express
these time relations by themselves - it is the event structure of the
propositions in relation to TT and ST, which lets us understand the temporal

Frank Matheus,
University of Münster, Germany


Thank you, Karl and Frank !

Frank, is it you, who wrote the Hebrew-German Lexicon (Pons)? I recommend
and use it regularly. I just ordered your book on Tempus and Verbal Aspect
at Lehmanns (no offer at Amazon), but it takes about one week for shipping.
Would it be possible for you to give one sentence to Psa 1,1f, as I have to
give a speech on this Sunday and this question remains open? It would be
beneficial for the English speaking readers of the list as well, as your
book is German.

Thank you a lot !

Peter M. Streitenberger, Germany

> Dear list,
> please cf. my recent study on that problem: Ein jegliches hat seine Zeit.
> Tempus und Aspekt im biblisch-hebräischen Verbalsystem, KUSATU B.1, 2011.
> On
> page 395-400 I cover Ps 1,1-2.
> Best regards
> Frank

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