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to Mak and other hebraists: "In the cool of the day" | "In the wind of the storm"


David T

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I was glancing through Pratico and Van Pelt'sBasics of Biblical Hebrew - Grammar, (an unabashedly conservative evangelical book) and saw this sidebar. I thought it was very interesting and compelling, and wanted some of our resident Hebraists to comment on their thoughts of the legitimacy of this translation:

I quote (the Hebrew transliterations are mine, not original to the text, and may not be fully accurate - still learning some basics, and haven't set it up so I can type hebrew characters yet):

In reference to Gen 3:8

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I like it, Nack.

I think that the participle "walking" in this verse -- derived from the verb ?????? (halakh) -- pretty much assumes a theophany as well. I remember reading somewhere that it is used elsewhere in the context of Yahweh coming to judge/redeem his people.

HALOT has an extensive entry for ???? as "day" (3240) and a very short one for ???? as "wind, storm" (3241).

Cheers

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I'm not a fan. He connects the notion of Yhwh's voice to the the use of "voice" elsewhere to connote lightning. As far as I'm aware, there's almost always an explicit reference to thunder or tempests, or storms in the immediate context when that word alone is used. In Exod 19:16 is is simply "voices and thunders," but the "thunders" makes it quite clear what the reference is. Given that there's no indication this other root in Akkadian is found anywhere in Hebrew, and given that winds and storms are normally called ???? (sufah - whirlwind, storm) or ???? (se'arah - storm), I see no compelling reason to accept an alternate. I would have to see more of a case made for the alternative meaning of yom and his reading of qol. There is a breeze that comes off the Mediterranean that hits Jerusalem and surrounding parts of Judea in the afternoon, also, that I believe is being referred to here. I don't know this scholar very well, but it almost sounds like he's concerned with the anthropomorphism of the passage.

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I'm with Mak on this one. The afternoon breeze is a life saver. No need for obscure homophones or cognates when it fits well with the realia.

While the thread's still here, here's another iconoclastic translation for your consideration, from another sidebar of the same grammar (again, transliterations are mine. Apologies for any inaccuracies):

Concerning Elijah's encounter with the 'still small voice'

"Whenever Yahweh appears in a storm theophany in the Old Testament, the hebrew word qol is properly and logically translated "thunder," "thunderous voice" or the like. The translation in 1 Kgs 19:12 should be the same. The storm theophany genre leads us to expect it and a study by J. Lust vindicates the expectation. Lust has shown that the key terms of the phrase, 'qol dmmh dqh' (traditionally translated 'still small voice' or the like) carry a very different meaning from that to which we are accustomed. the hebrew qol, of course, can mean 'voice', 'sound' 'thunder', 'thunderous voice', etc, depending on the context. The theophanic context here would lead us to choose 'thunderous voice'. but what about the other terms Lust has argued that dmmh comes from the root dmm(2) [to roar]. Likewise, dqh comes from dqq [to crush, grind small]. Traditionally, the adjective dqh was interpreted figuratively, i.e., "made small, gentle". Lust, however, suggests the sense, "Crushing." So, instead of a "still, small voice", Elijah hears a "roaring, crushing sound." Or, I would suggest, a "roaring, crushing, thunderous voice."

Does that have any more merit than the previous sidebar?

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While the thread's still here, here's another iconoclastic translation for your consideration, from another sidebar of the same grammar (again, transliterations are mine. Apologies for any inaccuracies):

Concerning Elijah's encounter with the 'still small voice'

Does that have any more merit than the previous sidebar?

Not really. If I recall, one of the most repeated criticisms of Pratico's grammar when it first came out was the tendency to promote rather bizarre readings of specific texts. I had seen a couple of them in flipping through the book, but these seem to be more representative of the tendentiousness those reviews highlighted. The semantic sense of DQQ has more to do with the resultant state of a substance that has been crushed than the act of crushing. HALOT lists the following meanings: "to crush, become fine through grinding, pulverize, be crushed fine." Appealing to secondary sense of DMH ("weep, wail," more than "roar") is also unwarranted. The contrast between the nature of the fire and storm and that of the voice also needs to be taken into consideration. The sense is clearly that the voice is barely detectable.

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Not really. If I recall, one of the most repeated criticisms of Pratico's grammar when it first came out was the tendency to promote rather bizarre readings of specific texts. I had seen a couple of them in flipping through the book, but these seem to be more representative of the tendentiousness those reviews highlighted. The semantic sense of DQQ has more to do with the resultant state of a substance that has been crushed than the act of crushing. HALOT lists the following meanings: "to crush, become fine through grinding, pulverize, be crushed fine." Appealing to secondary sense of DMH ("weep, wail," more than "roar") is also unwarranted. The contrast between the nature of the fire and storm and that of the voice also needs to be taken into consideration. The sense is clearly that the voice is barely detectable.

Understood.

Apart from the sidebars (which have a stated intent to assist those learning Hebrew for ministerial work, and for use in sermons), is there any particularly scathing criticism of the grammar text/lessons itself? All the research I did seemed to express that it was a pretty decent beginners grammar, that in some cases may have actually gone into too much detail.

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Understood.

Apart from the sidebars (which have a stated intent to assist those learning Hebrew for ministerial work, and for use in sermons), is there any particularly scathing criticism of the grammar text/lessons itself? All the research I did seemed to express that it was a pretty decent beginners grammar, that in some cases may have actually gone into too much detail.

The grammar itself is very useful, and I have a bunch of PDFs that I believe came from a CD-ROM that was included. Those are incredibly helpful as well.

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The grammar itself is very useful, and I have a bunch of PDFs that I believe came from a CD-ROM that was included. Those are incredibly helpful as well.

Sweet. Wanted to make sure I hadn't wasted my money. Just wanted to verify (or otherwise) the unusual (but interesting) claims made in the sidebars. Thanks!

Otherwise, I'm enjoying it. Really like the workbook and pdfs.

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Understood.

Apart from the sidebars (which have a stated intent to assist those learning Hebrew for ministerial work, and for use in sermons), is there any particularly scathing criticism of the grammar text/lessons itself? All the research I did seemed to express that it was a pretty decent beginners grammar, that in some cases may have actually gone into too much detail.

Nack, I have and love the Pratico grammar. It is one of the best out there for learning biblical Hebrew. However, as Mak said, take its side bars with a grain of salt. That being said, I am more on the fence with the Elijah passage. I think both readings are valid, but the standard reading is smoother in a grammatical context.

If you are learning Hebrew, self-taught, I also recommend Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. The first chapters are a bit of a headache, but it covers some principles better than Pratico (and vice versa). It is (or was a few years ago) the standard textbook for BYU's Biblical Hebrew courses. It is slightly more dated, but I found the exercises a little more useful in some respects. You'll want to also get the key to it.

Finally, for casual Sunday church reading (especially at church), I cannot more highly recommend a book tham "

". It is soft leather-bound, in very clear fonts, and invaluable when you don't know the exact meaning (or even un-exact... or at all) of a word. It has footnotes in the bottom for all words and word forms as they appear on the page that appear less than 100 times in the Tanakh. It has a very basic lexicon in the back for the most common words. I love it and bring it with me to church nearly every Sunday (it is, in fact, the only scriptures I bring in book form anymore, as I use my android phone for the rest).
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Sweet. Wanted to make sure I hadn't wasted my money. Just wanted to verify (or otherwise) the unusual (but interesting) claims made in the sidebars. Thanks!

Otherwise, I'm enjoying it. Really like the workbook and pdfs.

Another one you might try is available for free online: Biblical Hebrew: A Student Grammar. It's a legitimate textbook, but the authors wanted to let as many people as possible have access to it.

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