Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- historical diagnostic

Deuteronomy 4:10 is also an example of something about the uncertainty epistemic that relates to the certainty epistemic.
יוֹם אֲשֶׁר עָמַדְתָּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּחֹרֵב בֶּאֱמֹר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי הַקְהֶל־לִי אֶת־הָעָם וְאַשְׁמִעֵם אֶת־דְּבָרָי אֲשֶׁר יִלְמְדוּן לְיִרְאָה אֹתִי כָּל־הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר הֵם חַיִּים עַל־הָאֲדָמָה וְאֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם יְלַמֵּדוּן:
Epistemics look in two directions at the same time.   Since the people who didn’t learn fear of Heaven think they will get off, what about the people who were supposed to teach fear of Heaven?
We are only human. We are not omniscient. We have no hard and fast rules for how to teach fear of Heaven; our best approximation is to obey the law ourselves. But we are also not perfect. A person who wants to go wrong, will pick on any imperfection as an excuse for his own imperfection, and then go farther. (This is the lesson behind Lemekh’s 77-fold.)
Using the uncertainty epistemic lets off both the subject and the object of the verb, the way Avraham’s use of the uncertainty epistemic in Genesis excused him on the basis of his own ignorance, and also let Gd off from a vow that could not be carried out. 
Notice that this looks both ways, just like the certainty epistemic and narrative past do.
Modal morphologies existed in Biblical Hebrew as a vernacular, the street language, and people learned about it as they learned to talk.  They didn’t learn it in school.  That requires an analytical grammar teaching the functionality of morphology.  There was no analytic grammar of Biblical Hebrew until David Kimchi about 1000 CE, and his work was dedicated to talking about the triliteral root system.  People learned the material with the grammar as it existed at the time they learned it.  They understood it because they heard people using the same grammar on the  street.
During the Babylonian Captivity, the Jews learned to speak Aramaic – which  modern  linguists call Neo-Babylonian. It was a hybrid of Aramaic and Akkadian, and its modals came from Akkadian, an eastern Semitic language. They used particles and auxiliary verbs (periphrasis), not morphology.  The generation that returned to the Holy Land and built the Second Temple had no vernacular training in using modal morphologies or a grammar to learn it from.  They recited modal morphologies in a text they had memorized, but they couldn’t produce them spontaneously (with an exception I’ll talk about soon.)
That’s the diagnostic for when the books of the Tannakh were created. The ones in Aramaic actually are Neo-Babylonian. The ones in Hebrew that use modal morphologies came into being before those forms disappeared from the vernacular. Anybody who tells you differently shows that they don’t understand Biblical Hebrew as well as you do now.

Let's summarize before I go on to mess with your head some more.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment