[b-hebrew] Psa 1,1f

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sun Mar 11 19:23:22 EDT 2012


On Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM, George Athas <George.Athas at moore.edu.au>wrote:

> A few issues here:
> Firstly, Wayyiqtol is not not the only way for referring to the past.
> Qatal can also be used. However, I would argue that even calling these
> conjugations as past referring is a misunderstanding of the grammar.
> Karl argued that Hebrew is not marked for aspect, but then defined this as
> an axis of completed/uncompleted action. That, however, is not so much
> 'aspect' as it is 'Aktionsart'.

You misunderstood me here, I wrote that it is not an axis of
completed/uncompleted action. What I wrote that if one wants to claim it as
dealing with aspect, aspect would have to be defined as other than
competed/uncompleted action.

> Todd did raise the issue of clause initial verbs, which is an important
> consideration. A negated verb can never be clause initial, because the
> negation must precede it. So there is a pragmatic consideration here. But
> even if we had three positive assertions being made in Ps 1.1, we would not
> get wayyqitol verbs, because they would each produce narrative momentum.
> This is not what the verse is trying to do, though. The use of Qatal verbs
> in this clause is for the statement of simple fact: a man who has not
> walked… stood… or sat… This is just what the Qatal does: state an action as
> a simple fact.

But this use of Qatal to indicate simple fact is used for all tenses, it is
the default for a spoken sentence to indicate simple fact, and is used for
both positive and negative statements.

A question has arisen in my mind concerning Qatals such as these: were they
originally Qals or Piels? Without points either can be read, and the points
from the Masoretes are not to be trusted.

> The use of Yiqtol in 1.2 is simply to indicate the generality of the
> righteous man's practice. These are actions that occur many times, and are
> indicative of the past, as well as implying intention for the future.

There are two ways to read the Yiqtol in this verse: as a continuation of
the idea expressed in the first verse, and/or as an indication of a desired

> Director of Postgraduate Studies,
> Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
> Sydney, Australia

Karl W. Randolph.

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