[b-hebrew] Ezek 3:26

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Wed Jul 31 20:12:39 EDT 2013

No Karl, Jerry is not a 'perfect medievalist'. The 'ad fontes' ('to the sources') motto of the Reformers did not mean to pass over or ignore all commentators, or to consult them second. On the contrary, if you read the work of the Reformers you will see just how indebted they were to previous commentators, especially the Church Fathers. They studied the sources in conversation with the contributions of others. Jerry is doing exactly what the Reformers were doing. He is engaging in a conversation over the meaning of the sources, acknowledging previous contributions with appropriate credit and critiquing them where he deems it fitting. He refuses to do his scholarship in bleak isolation with the sources only, as though he needs to 'invent the wheel' on his own and then maybe see what other 'wheels' people came up with. He is, rather, doing the wise thing of listening to others before he speaks—a wholly appropriate way of dealing with the sources. It's called scholarship.

I can't see where Jerry has committed a logical fallacy, but I can see where you wilfully choose to sideline the contributions of others in order to trump up your own opinion formed largely in isolation. Rather than misperceive Jerry's approach and clang publicly over it, I suggest your limited time would be better spent going to the commentators in order to glean some of the wisdom that might be on offer. This does not mean surrendering your faculties to them. It just means joining the scholarly conversation. If that's not something you see as valuable, then I question your need to be on this forum, where we are interested in constructive conversation with valued contributions. Perhaps you should do as I have suggested many times to Jim Stinehart, namely move your views to a blog where you can simply air them without having to engage in real conversation.

Dean of Research,
Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
Sydney, Australia

From: K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com<mailto:kwrandolph at gmail.com>>
Date: Thursday, 1 August 2013 3:25 AM
To: Jerry Shepherd <jshepherd53 at gmail.com<mailto:jshepherd53 at gmail.com>>
Cc: B-Hebrew <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org<mailto:b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>>
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Ezek 3:26


On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 8:12 AM, Jerry Shepherd <jshepherd53 at gmail.com<mailto:jshepherd53 at gmail.com>> wrote:

Hi Karl,

Here's my reply to the rest of your post.

You ask: "Why do you think I normally don’t read commentaries?"

I don't know the reason, but I am sure it is not a good one.  It is not to one's credit to ignore the wealth of scholarship of those who have devoted their lives to examination of the biblical text.

You say: "If you reported accurately concerning these commentaries (not saying that you didn’t, just using this as a rhetorical intro), here we find commentators have not done their homework vis-à-vis the Hebrew language is concerned."

You sound like a perfect medievalist, i.e. one who follows medieval way of thinking. They studied commentaries before making their own opinions.

The Reformation turned that on its head, go to the origin first, in the case of theology to the Bible, only after then look at commentaries and evaluate them based on how well they followed Scripture.

In going to Scripture first, I find I just don’t have time for most commentaries. I’m not a professional theologian with scads of time on my hands.

Let me assure you, the scholars I quoted, Wilson and Block, are quite well known for definitely doing their homework.  And they have especially done their homework with regard to work on the Hebrew text and the understanding of the Hebrew language.  Comments like these are ill-informed and needlessly denigrating.

I’ve forgotten the name of this logical fallacy, but if you look at my message from July 19, you’ll see that my statement refers not to what followed my statement, but to “The grand majority of translations and commentators” that preceded my statement, to which your quote also disagreed. You conflated my statement to a context other than to where I applied it.

You say: "First of all, this is a participle, used as a noun. This is not a verbal use of the word."

This is incorrect.  To be  sure, it is a participle and it is a noun, but the participle is a verbal noun,

That’s still a noun.

and there is still a verbal content in the noun.  The only difference between a finite verb and a participle is that the finite verb refers to the action, and the participle refers to the one performing the action.  There is no semantic difference with regard to the meaning of the verb.

Not necessarily. A participle can also refer to the acting out of an action when used as a noun. E.g. “The searching for words in a dictionary can be frustrating” and as far as I can tell, Biblical Hebrew uses participles in a similar manner.

You ask: "Secondly, is the reason that he is not someone who is one who puts forth a case for God to this people because God had no use for him to do so, or was it because the people were not ready to listen? Is not the answer in the context, namely that the people were defiant until their reason for defiance, namely Jerusalem, fell?"

Your questions here suggest that you have not understood the problem or the context.  The book of Ezekiel is fairly chronological.


  In the verse in question, 3:26, if Yahweh is telling Ezekiel that he will not be putting forth a case for God, then that doesn't correspond to the fact that for the next seven years (and the next twenty-some chapters), that is exactly what Ezekiel does – he presents the case over and over again as to why Yahweh is going to judge the people, bring a siege against Jerusalem, destroy the temple, and send many more Israelites into exile.

Sorry, … ah, what’s the use?

You said: "Or to put it in a more exacting definition, based on discussions with Ruth, it is used for a wide variety of functions, hence it has a wide semantic range."

When linguists use the term "wide semantic range," they mean exactly what I have been arguing for, that a word has a wide variety of meanings.  But this is what you are denying.

Are you claiming that I’m misusing another linguistic term? I have repeatedly defined my understanding of “wide semantic range” as meaning that can be applied in many different contexts.

You said: "I just looked up Gen. 20:16 and 24:14, 44 and in all three cases the consonantal text is consistent with נכח and not יכח. Further the contexts are consistent with נכח and not יכח. Therefore you can’t include those in your list for יכח. It looks as if you have documented some cases where the Masoretic points are wrong. . . . Your case is greatly weakened by including examples that are not from the root of יכח."

While I appreciate the attempt, and while it is possible that everyone else in the whole history of interpretation is wrong and you are right, I consider that possibility to be very remote.  Perhaps there is a lexicon or commentary on the text of Genesis out there that takes the three cases, Gen 20:16; 24:14, 44, to be places where the verb is נכח rather than יכח, but I haven't come across them yet.  And there are no occurrences of a verb נכח in the Hebrew Bible.

I’m nine time zones away from my concordance, but I have listed Exodus 14:2, Isaiah 57:2, Ezekiel 46:9 and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more.

  I know you think there are, but you need to demonstrate this rather than simply stating it and taking it for granted.  יכח does fit the occurrences in these three Genesis passages, as an extension of the idea of rendering a decision or issuing a judgment, choice, or decree.



Jerry Shepherd
Taylor Seminary
Edmonton, Alberta
jshepherd53 at gmail.com<mailto:jshepherd53 at gmail.com>

Karl W. Randolph.

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