[b-hebrew] Psa 1,1f

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Sun Mar 11 20:09:02 EDT 2012

Hi Karl!

Sorry if I misread you there — my apologies for that.

I disagree that all the verbal conjugations state simple fact, though I know what it is you're getting at. Using an aspectual approach, I'd argue Qatal presents an action as an accomplished fact, and view it simply and concretely. This is quite different to Yiqtol, which has a more complex view and, therefore, a wider range of possible translations into English. The Yiqtol has no specific occurrence of an action in view. It either looks at things generally (e.g. gnomic present), as occurring many times (e.g. habitual past), or as not having occurred yet (e.g. future, subjunctive). The distinction I'm drawing here is not just that the verbs state something (of course they do!), but how they present the action (an aspectual question). Yiqtol verbs do not present an action as simple, concrete fact. Furthermore, Wayyiqtol is aspectually different to Qatal, in presenting an action as though it were happening 'live', thus producing a sense of momentum.

The continuation idea you raise is interesting. My instinct is to say that Weqatal should be used, since it's the continuation verb in Hebrew. However, how would we achieve that in this case without a wholesale rearrangement of the syntax and, therefore, a very different poetic structure? Yiqtol can often be used to indicate potential result or purpose, so that could provide some sense of logical continuation. But I don't think that makes much sense here in Ps 1.1. So how exactly are you seeing continuation with the Yiqtol happening in 1.2?

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

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