Sunday, October 30, 2016

DIY -- new favorite dessert

I've made cheesecake from scratch but this is better.

1 9 inch crust, either a short pie crust or a graham cracker crust

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 21 ounce can pie filling

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix cream cheese with  next 4 ingredients.
Pour into crust, bake 20 minutes.  It might be lightly brown on top.
Take out, turn oven up  to 400.
Spoon pie filling to cover cream cheese.
Put back in and bake another 20 minutes.  If the  crust is starting to burn, put a ring of foil over it.
Let cool and enjoy!
Keep in the fridge.

This is better because there's fruit with it. 
OK, the fruit is heavily sugared; you're not going to eat the whole thing in one day right?
My preference is berry pie fillings, not apple, peach or apricot.
The berries give more of a color contrast with the cream cheese.
YMMV.
I found this online.

Another suggestion is put 2/3 of a 15 ounce  can of pie filling in a yellow cake,
or especially raspberry or cherry in a chocolate cake.
You can use the leftovers in oatmeal.

I have a recipe by George Greenstein for  something called wine loaf.
It makes two large loaf cakes.
I love it with plumped dried fruit and nuts in various combinations.
I'm  going to try layering the cake with pie filling.

Dessert is back!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Septuagint and "and"

The 21st century way of looking at Biblical Hebrew has other important fallout besides identifying modality that Jewish Torah and Samaritan Pentateuch have in common, but which Septuagint never reflects.
First, it shows that Septuagint gets translations more wrong than anybody realized, even in the 20th century. The main fact in the proof of this is the simple word “and.”
Every time a vav shows up in Biblical Hebrew prefixed to a verb or any other word, Septuagint translates it as “and”. The habit has persisted ever since, and that’s why so many verses in your Bible start with “and.”
Dr. Cook shows in his 2002 dissertation that in most cases, the vav prefix does not mean “and”.
In a large number of cases, it’s a prefix for a grammatical form called “narrative past.” In Biblical Hebrew, the narrations have verbs in them that until now have mostly been classed as “aorist”. This comes from the model of Greek grammar, which uses the same stem for the aorist past tense and for the future tense. It was a convenient label for scholars in the Classics who turned their attention to Hebrew, but it has nothing to do with how Biblical Hebrew really works.
In Biblical Hebrew, what really happens is that the vav is attached to an imperfect aspect verb, not to a tense-conjugated verb. With a vav, and in verb-subject order, this narrative past reflects an action in a narrative before the narrative is over, but which happened in the past relative to the person telling the story.
The second largest number of situations where vav does not mean “and” is with a 2nd person verb, in either imperfect or perfect aspect, which indicates a commandment. It also shows up with a 3rd person verb, in either imperfect or perfect aspect, in descriptions of rituals which, therefore, turn out also to be commandmenets.
On the Hebrew blog I discuss why deontic imperatives are inappropriate in these situations, and also the difference that the verb aspect and person make in the significance of the commandment. I go into more detail in Narrating the Torah.
The next example of why Septuagint was wrong is that, with perfect aspect verbs, in verb-subject syntax, vav signals a subordinate clause of condition, purpose, result, cause or effect, called oblique modality.
And there are situations where the vav should be translated “but” or “[so] that,” or even “for” because it is the linchpin of a coordinate or relative clause or a subordinate clause that uses an imperfect aspect verb, not perfect aspect.
I know this is all very new to you. As I said, I discussed it all step by step on the Biblical Hebrew page. In Narrating the Torah I discuss examples in excruciating detail.
But what it means is that the habit of translating vav as “and”, which began in the Septuagint and has continued to the present, is proof that the translation of a word is not its definition. And that all translations which don’t take 21st century grammar into account, are wrong to some extent. Which is why I insist that you can’t understand work in translation, only in the source document for the translations. And for Torah, that’s in Biblical Hebrew.
Which had an effect on Hebrew in later times.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- dagesh redux

Call this an advanced lesson on dagesh. I told you previously that one of the rules governing dagesh is using it after a short vowel. I also told you that it occurs in piel and hitpael verbs. You have seen it in other places, or you will see it, as you keep reading Torah.
There are three situations which some writers refer to as gemination and there’s a lot of history behind that. I don’t agree with some of what I’ve read on the subject. My classification is this.
True gemination in verbs occurs only after a short vowel. It is marked by dagesh in Hebrew. Arabic does a similar thing; its sign is called shadda. Verb gemination in Hebrew applies regularly throughout the conjugations in the binyanim UNLESS it would fall in a guttural (alef, heh, chet, ayin) or resh.
The piel, pual, and hitpael binyanim are famous for gemination. Other Semitic languages function like this.  Akkadian geminates in the middle of its II-stem, cognate to piel, and the related stem which is much like the hitpael. Assyrian has the II-stem like its parent Akkadian. Arabic does it in Form II and Form V which is cognate to the hitpael. Ugaritic does it in the D-stem and the related stem that uses a t-infix.
Assimilation is the disappearance of a letter in one or more binyan, with dagesh in the following letter. This happens in nifal in Hebrew, and in the cognate Akkadian and Assyrian IV-stem. It also happens in hitpael, quite rarely; the premier example is Numbers 22:25 where the ass pushes herself into the wall.
Arabic has an “assimilated” verb root class but it does not use dagesh.  These are verbs starting in waw, not nun.
Contraction is where two identical letters appear in sequence, and they contract into one. This happens in some parts of the conjugation of polel verbs in Hebrew.  A polel verb has a root with the second and third letters identical. One example is bishesh, “was embarrassed.”  Some polel verbs drop the third root letter in nifal, if they have that binyan, but there’s no dagesh in the remaining letter because it is deduplicated. There are some examples in Torah.
There’s a problem between what is a stem (or Form in Arabic) and what is a verb root class. The polel is a verb root class in Hebrew. Its appearance in various binyanim is the evidence that it is not a binyan (or Form). Arabic has the “doubled” verb root class which is cognate to the polel and the various Forms in Arabic show up in verbs of this root class.
Cyrus Gorden mistakenly labeled his “L” class (in Ugaritic) a stem; it’s the same thing as polel.  Likewise, he mistakenly named his “R” class a stem; it’s a quadriliteral verb root class, both halves of  which  are identical.  Hebrew has them:  hitmahmeah.  Arabic has  them, and they conjugate in more than one of the Forms.  Gordon made his mistake due to a historical concept which some scholars of Semitic languages disagree with.

One more subject, something people wrestle with in their street language which  is also complicated in Biblical Hebrew.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Septuagint and Hebrew

In 2014 I discovered a doctoral thesis (approved in 2002) online that explained several points of grammar in Biblical Hebrew, about one of which I had a hypothesis on the meaning.  They show that Brenton is wrong in his claim about the resemblances between Torah, Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint, and so was Rev. Fitzgerald.  There is no better demonstration of how crucial grammar is to a good translation.  Be prepared to have your head turned around, unless you have been following my Biblical Hebrew lessons.
All languages have ways of reflecting the attitudes of the “speaker.”  Some languages use auxiliary verbs to do this.  Some use special verbs or descriptive words and phrases.  Some use modifications to the morphology of nouns or verbs.  Linguists call them modalities and divide them into three classes, oblique, deontic and epistemic.
Oblique modality covers subordinate clauses expressing condition, purpose, result, cause and effect.  They ask you to accept as true a subordinate clause, based on the previously accepted truth  of the statement in the main clause.  This is like saying “It’s sunny today, so my clothes will dry quickly on the clothesline.”
Deontic modality is about how the world should be, in the “speaker’s” opinion.  Imperatives fall into the class of deontic modality, because speakers issue commands to change things to the desired situation.  Another form of deontic is called volitive, which reflects how the speaker wishes the world was when clearly it is not.  An example of volitive is “I would like to buy that dress,” when you know you don’t have the money.
Epistemic modality is about the speaker’s investment in the truth of a statement.  In English, we say things like “I think he went to Marrakesh.”
Biblical Hebrew uses morphology to reflect modality in some cases.  It has not only the imperative of deontic modality, but also a volitive modal morphology.
It has an epistemic for absolute certainty, using current conditions as evidence of the factuality of a past action, or introducing the evidence for the truth of what is being said. 
And it has an epistemic for a fact, the truth of which the speaker is not quite certain of, and which may let people off responsibility for what they do or omit to do.  I will call this the nun-final form for a discussion which shows it has significant consequences throughout Jewish literature.
Besides the discussion on my Bit at a time Bible Hebrew page, I discuss examples of modality in depth in Narrating the Torah.
My interlinear comparison shows that Samaritan Hebrew has all the same forms.  In fact, Samaritan Hebrew Pentateuch has them in 80% of the exact same places that Jewish Torah has them. 
Septuagint never translates the nuances of modality.  Not with morphology and not with auxiliary verbs. 
And that’s why Rev. Fitzgerald was wrong, and why Brenton was not even wrong.

And now a case where Septuagint was not even wrong.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- et 2

If you didn’t see that title coming, you need to read more Shakespeare.
Here I’ll demonstrate some cases illustrating rules 6 and 7 from last week.
Leviticus 7:2-4 rings the changes, as Exodus 29 rang the changes on “passives”.
ב בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחֲטוּ אֶת־הָעֹלָה יִשְׁחֲטוּ אֶת־הָאָשָׁם וְאֶת־דָּמוֹ יִזְרֹק עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב:
ג וְאֶת־כָּל־חֶלְבּוֹ יַקְרִיב מִמֶּנּוּ אֵת הָאַלְיָה וְאֶת־הַחֵלֶב הַמְכַסֶּה אֶת־הַקֶּרֶב:
ד וְאֵת שְׁתֵּי הַכְּלָיֹת וְאֶת־הַחֵלֶב אֲשֶׁר עֲלֵיהֶן אֲשֶׁר עַל־הַכְּסָלִים וְאֶת־הַיֹּתֶרֶת עַל־הַכָּבֵד עַל־הַכְּלָיֹת יְסִירֶנָּה:
In verse 2, the olah is referred to here in contrast with the asham and they both take the segol version of et.  The blood is being considered as a specific part of the sacrifice so it does the same.  Same thing for the chelev at the start of verse 3; there is more than one place to get chelev and the et kal shows that each one of them is meant.
The alyah, the “fat tail” is considered as an entire entity, separate unto itself, and there are halakhot that specifically address component parts of it in Mishnah and Gemara.
The kidneys are another entity, like the alyah, and require the tseire version; the segol version is used with the chelev because it is considered in contrast to the actual kidneys and also to the other kind  of chelev.  The yoteret is listed in contrast to the liver of which it is part.
Test yourself.  Go through Torah and watch for the word erets.  I’ll give you the main examples that demonstrate my point.
Genesis 1:1 deals with heaven and earth as wholes.  This is part of the basis for the midrash that the creation story isn’t about the exact order in which things happened.  We don’t get the details.
בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ:
Exodus 20:11.  Notice the contrast with the tseire version in Genesis 1:1; this verse is dealing with the four different parts of the creation – actually five when you get to yom ha-shabbat.  There is no definite article with yom, but it is understood because this is a construct phrase.
כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת-יָמִים עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֶת-הַיָּם וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-בָּם, וַיָּנַח, בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי; עַל-כֵּן, בֵּרַךְ יְהוָה אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת—וַיְקַדְּשֵׁהוּ
When there’s a restrictive sense to erets, we get the segol version as in Deuteronomy 3:8:
נִּקַּח בָּעֵת הַהִוא אֶת־הָאָרֶץ מִיַּד שְׁנֵי מַלְכֵי הָאֱמֹרִי אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן מִנַּחַל אַרְנֹן עַד־הַר חֶרְמוֹן:
It’s pretty obvious that the only land concerned here is that of Sichon and Og.  It can’t possibly mean all of the world.  That’s why it has segol. 
We have a problem in Leviticus 26:42.  We have three contrasted covenants using the segol version, and we also have erets as a definite noun with NO et.  Why not?  Beats me.  Unless the emphasis  of the topic order clause  means et  shouldn’t be  used.
וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקוֹב וְאַף אֶת־בְּרִיתִי יִצְחָק וְאַף אֶת־בְּרִיתִי אַבְרָהָם אֶזְכֹּר וְהָאָרֶץ אֶזְכֹּר:
Just a few more dogs and cats to cover.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Slight change

The look of Twitter posts is going to change a bit.
The  automatic feed app is going away at the  end of the month.
I'll be posting manually.
This won't affect you as a follower or other Twitter user.
It's the link between Blogger and Twitter that changes.
If somebody publishes another way of  doing this automatically I'll try it  out.
But  my Facebook posts are done manually so this is no big deal.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

I'm just saying -- the sequel

Last week I wrote about how the chickadees' behavior may mean a harsh winter.

Yeah.  Winter is coming.  You're going  to see snow fly.  Get over it.
Seriously. 
If you have storage space in your home, you have no excuse not to be prepared for winter.
Stock up now on your canned food, crackers, bottled water, dry roast peanuts, dried fruit, jerky.
Stuff you don't have to cook.
Three weeks' worth. 
We've had back to back storms that kept the tractor trailers outside the Beltway that long.

Toilet paper doesn't go bad; get it.  Lots of it.  NOW.

Buy your calcium chloride and kitty litter.
Get a snow shovel.
De-icers don't work well on snow, they only keep pavement clean when they can get to it. 
You  have to shovel before you spread.

Get your batteries, your LED lamp, your battery powered radio.
Get some long johns, some ski gloves, some snow boots and thick socks, a hat and a scarf.
Get your chimney cleaned if you have a fireplace.
Keep up with your laundry, or buy extras because sometimes you can't get to the laundromat and sometimes a water main breaks.
Get a couple of Mylar emergency blankets for when the heat goes out.

Listen to the news and when it's going to snow, dress for it and drive for it.
Or stay off the roads.

Whining will not be tolerated.

I'm just saying...

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- {{citation needed}}

In 1851 the Bagster edition of Brenton’s English translation of Septuagint included an introduction from the translator, in which he makes a claim about Samaritan Pentateuch – which I believe he never saw.
Brenton claimed that when Samaritan Pentateuch and Torah differ, Septuagint is much more like Jewish Hebrew than it is like Samaritan Hebrew.  Brenton weasel-words this claim by restricting it to “important and material points.”  He never defines what he means by important or material.
He also said that in “many” places where Samaritan Hebrew and Septuagint both differ from Biblical Hebrew, they resemble each other.  As you know, “many” is the classic weasel wording that earns the remark {{citation needed}} in so many places on so many Wikipedia pages.
{{citation found}}, I think.  After digging around online a while, I found an 1848 publication with an article on this exact subject.  The author of the article, Rev. Walter Fitzgerald, said that, taking both similarities and differences into account (my emphasis), he believes that it’s a wash (my phrase) as to which of Septuagint or Samaritan more closely resembles Jewish Hebrew.  Brenton didn’t quote that part. 
And Brenton sneers at the “crooked” letters of the Samaritan alphabet.  I have traced this sneer, I believe, to another 1848 publication which is available online.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Brenton copied this information – and he did it without attribution – and that he not only could not read Hebrew, but he had never seen Samaritan.
To do that, he would have to access Rev. Brian Walton’s Biblia Sacra, also known as the London Polyglot, published by Bagster’s in the 1600s, 2 centuries earlier.  This work had eight versions of the Torah, including the Samaritan Hebrew and Samaritan Aramaic, each with a separate Latin translation.  The polyglot is available free on Internet Archive in 10 sections. 
Not only would Brenton have to see this work, but he would also have to know how the Samaritans pronounce and interpret their Pentateuch to evaluate how much it was like Jewish Hebrew.  He could only do that in his time if he worked among the Samaritans to find these things out.  Apparently Ze’ev ben Hayyim was the first person ever to do this – after 1950 -- and his five-volume work was available only in Hebrew until 2000 CE when an English translation of Volume V was published. 
And so Brenton’s urban legend about the relationship between Torah, Septuagint, and Samaritan requires him to do work that he probably could do only if he could read both versions of Hebrew.  But if he could read Jewish Hebrew and wanted to do an accurate translation from the Greek, he failed abysmally. 
But it gets worse. 
In 2014 I discovered information that shows Rev. Fitzgerald was also wrong.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- et 1

Possibly one of the most misunderstood elements of Biblical Hebrew – now that we understand the vav prefix – is the particle et.  It seems to show up randomly.  As I keep saying, a language doesn’t invent or use things randomly.  It always means something by what it uses.
In Biblical Hebrew, direct objects of transitive action verbs, when they are definite nouns – they either start with the definite article or are in the construct state – sometimes are preceded by et, spelled alef tav, with either tseire or segol under the alef.  Not all definite direct objects are marked with this particle and a lot of ink has been spilled trying to figure out what’s going on.
Here are the easy rules for et that I have worked out so far.
Rule 1: et only appears after a transitive verb.
Rule 2: et only appears with definite nouns.
Rule 3: et only appears with nouns that are the direct object of a transitive verb AND are not governed by a preposition.
Rule 4: et which is marked with tseire always has a conjunctive trop connecting it to the other words in the accusative phrase, and follows a word marked with a disjunctive trop. (I’ll say more on trop later.)
Rule 5: et which is marked with segol never has trop with it and always connects to its accusative phrase with a hyphen. 
I think I have found two more rules.
Rule 6.  The tseire version appears in  et sarah  ishto and some similar phrases; with kal meaning “all”; with asher and a collective noun phrase, and with something that is being considered as a whole.
Rule 7.  The segol version appears in et achiv et hevel and some similar phrases; with kal meaning “every”; and with something considered as a part, in contrast to or distinction with with something else.  This includes situations with the demonstrative ha-zeh/ha-zot, “this”; ha-hu/ha-hi, “that”; or ha-eleh, “these, those”.  metimes the restrictive modifier is not expressed, such as in cases where the Holy Land is obvious.
Absorb the last two rules over the week and then I’ll show you some examples.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Outdoors -- it's complicated

The crickets and chickadees are sending me mixed messages about winter.

On the one  hand, my annual cricket count stands at three.
Those were in the August/September time frame.
Ought to mean a cold wet period this winter like in December.

On the other hand, the chickadees are never far from my bird feeder.
This is supposed to be a sign of a hard winter.
I found out that the chickadees aren't eating all that food.
They stash food in various places to get to in the winter.
So this bodes ill, especially in the DC region where people have this fantasy that if they make it home without a wreck one day, they're golden for the rest of the winter.
Tow truck operators and body shops are sure to make a killing this winter.
If the chickadees are right.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Septuagint, Samaritan and Torah

Now that I have brought up Qumran, I’m sure some of you are saying, “but Qumran proves that Septuagint is closer to the Hebrew than Samaritan.”  Class, what does that have to be?
Right, an urban legend.  When I finished my verse by verse comparison the first time through, it turned out that Qumran settles about 640 or less than 11% of the differences; it settles 55% of the differences in favor of Jewish Torah.  But remember, in places where Jewish and Samaritan agree, Qumran may have a difference.  And also remember that Qumran has Greek for only 7 of the 24 books in the Tannakh (the Jewish count), and it’s in such tiny fragments it isn’t even worth publishing a book about.  Since Qumran proves nothing about Septuagint, the claim has to be false.
This time, I know the source of the urban legend: it’s in the 1851 introduction to Lancelot Brenton’s English translation of Septuagint. 
The first thing you have to know about this English translation is that it’s bad.  It’s really bad.  It’s not clear how it got to be so bad.  Brenton lived in Victorian England, a period when studies of the Classics in both Greek and Latin were still required for admittance to a university.  We don’t know where he got his education or how well he did at it.  We don’t know what resources he had access to, except that we know he lived on the Isle of Wight but his publisher’s office was in London.  That is, to get published at all, he had to go to London to meet with his publisher, and this opened up to him all the resources available in London.
What is also clear is that he could have used Liddell and Scott’s famous Greek lexicon which was in its third edition.  Unless it was drastically re-organized in the last century and a half, it suggests that Brenton had all the faults of an inexperienced or careless translator.
He uses the first definition in the dictionary in cases where a later part of the entry works better.  He could have avoided this if he realized that Liddell is a lexicon of Classical Greek by and large, and Septuagint was not Classical Greek but koine.  This falls in that category I was talking about of using a dictionary with the wrong focus.
Sometimes Brenton uses meanings for one Greek word that apply to another Greek word.  He uses “ugly” for aoratos, a word that actually means “unseen, invisible.”  You can’t call an invisible object ugly; it’s a conceptual error.
Sometimes he seems to ignore the dictionary completely and make things up out of his head.  In Genesis 1:16, Septuagint uses arkhi for Hebrew memshelet and Brenton turns it into “regulate”, which Liddell & Scott does not have for arkhi at all.
Finally, Brenton sometimes translates according to a received meaning in English which the Greek doesn’t support.
And then, just in time for the 1851 edition of his translation, he added an introduction which is the probable source for your urban legend above.  Brenton claims that in “many passages” where Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint BOTH differ from the Hebrew, they resemble each other and Septuagint more closely resembles the Hebrew.
I think I have discovered Brenton’s source for this claim; it’s online and I’ll talk about it next week.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- participles

Some of you are screaming that I haven’t covered everything. No more I have. I haven’t talked about participles. That’s because I didn’t get a clue about them until I was going through Parshah Va-yechi for the second time after discovering Cook’s dissertation. Here’s the deal.
There are three verb forms in Biblical Hebrew that are gerundive, but apparently with different functions.  Two of them are quite rare so it’s no big deal that I didn’t  discuss them until  now.
One is the progressive. It often is used gerundively and therefore works substantively when prefixed with the definite article. See Genesis 48:5.
 וְעַתָּה שְׁנֵי־בָנֶיךָ הַנּוֹלָדִים לְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד־בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ מִצְרַיְמָה לִי־הֵם אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה כִּרְאוּבֵן וְשִׁמְעוֹן יִהְיוּ־לִי:
Ha-noladim is a substantivized progressive from the nifal binyan. As such, it legitimizes Yosef’s sons. This might be the source of the midrash that their mother converted, because only the child of a Jewess can be considered a Jew. As a progressive, ha-noladim takes on the immediate past connotation in this context: “the sons who have been born.”
The aspectless gerundive is also naturally substantivized. One form takes object suffixes, as you see in Exodus 13:17.
וַיְהִי בְּשַׁלַּח פַּרְעֹה אֶת־הָעָם וְלֹא־נָחָם אֱלֹהִים דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים כִּי קָרוֹב הוּא כִּי ׀ אָמַר אֱלֹהִים פֶּן־יִנָּחֵם הָעָם בִּרְאֹתָם מִלְחָמָה וְשָׁבוּ מִצְרָיְמָה:
This pretty much means “at the time of their seeing”. It takes on adverbial functions the progressive refuses to take on.
The first participle I came across in Torah was Genesis 48:4 which goes like this:
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הִנְנִי מַפְרְךָ וְהִרְבִּיתִךָ וּנְתַתִּיךָ לִקְהַל עַמִּים וְנָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֲחֻזַּת עוֹלָם:
The bolded word is a hifil participle formed from the progressive, which most people would nowadays call an active present participle. Notice that it has an object suffix.  The reason we need a gerundive here is because of hin’ni, an emphatic which has to be followed by a substantive. If you could use a straight progressive with a personal suffix, this would use progressive. Apparently that’s not possible to get what the verse wants to say, so it uses a participle. Process of elimination, like with the aspectless gerundive.
The distinction between participles and actual verbs is a 20th century development. Max Margolis’ grammar of Talmudic Aramaic (done for Hermann Strack’s Clavis Linguarum Semiticarum series) gives a number of functions for participles, some of which are taken on by Biblical Hebrew’s progressive aspect – a 21st century development.   Arabic’s aism alfa’il gets labeled a participle, but it is really a way of converting the action of the verb into a modifier or a substantive.  Price gives a list of things that Arabic uses participles for and some of them overlap with  uses of progressive aspect in Biblical Hebrew.  Ancient Semitic languages work differently from western languages and slapping labels from one language on another language interferes with understanding it.
Finally, a subject where my conclusions are kind of shaky and you’re welcome to chime in with your understanding. If you know of a dissertation that covers my points, I’d love it if you could get permission to post it on the web and provide pointers to papers citing it. I’ll post a link to your page where you post this.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The World is coming to a beginning!

Tonight is the beginning of the world!

Start all over.  Forget past "failures", but learn from them.
I did.

I always had trouble losing weight.
Then I got serious about getting my 8 hours of sleep a night.
It got easier not to pig out.

I cut portion sizes. 
I lost a clothing size.

I tripled how much I moved.
I lost another clothing size.

I eased up during the stinking hot spell in August.
I toughened up starting at 911.
I'm relearning Tai Ji using stuff on the net.
I prowl near my house taking snaps with my camera app on my cell phone.
Soon I'll be looking for photo ops all around my neighborhood.
And doing Tae Bo.

Do it.
When you're cooking, don't sit down while it browns, simmers, stews, bubbles or boils. 
Pace your place.
Dust.
Vacuum.
Clean stuff you don't usually clean.
Then wash your hands and dish up.

Get rid of sodas.
All sodas -- diet too -- contribute to Type II diabetes and fat around your middle.
Sales of diet sodas have dropped in the last couple of years.
The diabetes epidemic is slowing.
The fat epidemic is slowing.
It's like what happened when so many people stopped smoking --  lung cancer stopped being the #1 killer cancer.
Diabetes and obesity are killers, too. Learn how to fight them off, then do it.

Try try try again.
Never give up.

Start all over.
Tonight's  the night.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved