Occasionally Heretical Musings on Judaism, the Bible, and Food
Hey Elf, I bought the book you recommended--Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew by Marc Brettler, and I read what he says about tenses of Biblical Hebrew verbs. He says that scholars continue to debate whether BH has tenses, and he doesn't conclude one view to be more authoritative than the other. I can see how interpreting the apparent future tense instead as "imperfect," i.e. as an incomplete action, fits in well in some cases where the action clearly is not in the future, such as the latter portion of Numbers Ch. 9. However, Brettler himself gives examples that prove the imperfect/perfect approach to be flawed, as well. E.g. Exodus 15:1 "Then Moses sang...," which is in the imperfect yet refers to a completed action, and Exodus 21:5 where the slave says, "I love my master," which is in the perfect yet refers to an incomplete action. So what made you decide to align yourself with the imperfect/perfect camp?
You are presumably referring to a statement I made in this post. I was actually just using the most common terminology for describing verbal forms. My point was simply that the form that we call "imperfect" does biblical Hebrew (as it does in modern Hebrew). The issue is certainly more complicated than I indicated in my post, and, not being a philologist, I haven't alligned myself with any particular camp; I just read other people's work and try to digest it as well as I can. Overall, it seems to me that the Bible does often use the various verbal forms as "tenses" (it's difficult to imagine a language with no tenses at all), but that the forms are not primarily temporal in meaning.In any case, I'm glad that you bought the book and are paying attention to these things.
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