Hebrew Bible Word Study issue

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Ben | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Apr 10 2019 1:21 PM

By way of background, I did six years of grad work in Semitics: Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Akkadian, others. There is a significant discontinuity between Semitic languages and English which isn't currently reflected in the BWS for Hebrew (or Aramaic, I assume), which can mislead users. 

I'm talking about stems/binyanim. That is, a given root can have very different meanings depending on the stem it's put into, even contrasting or contradictory ones. Since the BWS does not break out translation based on stem, it implies that the same "word" can mean all the different things presented, and that's not accurate. 

For example, here with *NḪM and the KJV, the implication is that *NḪM means "comfort" AND "repent" in equal portions. In reality, *NḪM in the n-stem/niphal means "to repent, change one's mind, feel bad" but *NḪM in the d-stem/pi'el means "to comfort." These are the same root, but not the same "word."

I don't yet have a suggestion for how this can be broken out visually, nor how to present it simply for people who don't have any understanding of the stem system. But as is, it's a problem both for laypeople (who will misunderstand) and scholars (who will wonder why it's conflating stems.)

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 1365
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 10 2019 1:32 PM

Perhaps a note somewhere in the Logos Instructions, and annotating the graph with the stems? Rough example

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 2405
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 10 2019 2:24 PM

Ben:

I'm talking about stems/binyanim. That is, a given root can have very different meanings depending on the stem it's put into, even contrasting or contradictory ones. Since the BWS does not break out translation based on stem, it implies that the same "word" can mean all the different things presented, and that's not accurate. 

For example, here with *NḪM and the KJV, the implication is that *NḪM means "comfort" AND "repent" in equal portions. In reality, *NḪM in the n-stem/niphal means "to repent, change one's mind, feel bad" but *NḪM in the d-stem/pi'el means "to comfort." These are the same root, but not the same "word."

Is there a 'simple' way to figure out the 'stems'?

Posts 1365
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 10 2019 2:35 PM

That's a vague question. 

You mean, are they encoded into the interlinear English and BHS Hebrew? Yes, as I understand it.

You mean, a simple way for a non-Hebrew reader to find out what the stem is in a particular usage? Yes. See above. 

You mean, a simple way in Logos currently for a non-Hebrew reader to learn about different stems and what they (potentially) mean?  Depends what Hebrew resources you have, I suppose. 

Or was this your elliptical way of saying, "this isn't really a problem"?

As is, it promotes fallacious understandings of the Hebrew, particularly for people who know nothing about the language, and that's a problem.

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 2405
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 11 2019 3:01 PM

Ben:

You mean, a simple way for a non-Hebrew reader to find out what the stem is in a particular usage? Yes. See above. 

You mean, a simple way in Logos currently for a non-Hebrew reader to learn about different stems and what they (potentially) mean?  Depends what Hebrew resources you have, I suppose. 

As is, it promotes fallacious understandings of the Hebrew, particularly for people who know nothing about the language, and that's a problem.

OK I Admit that I know nothing on this subject BUT if we are going to be told about d-stem and n-stem should we also be told about the others?


Verbal Stems
20. Introduction to the Verbal System
21. The System of Verbal Stems
22. Qal Stem
23. Niphal Stem
24. Piel Stem
25. Pual Stem
26. Hithpael Stem
27. Hiphil Stem
28. Hophal Stem1
Waltke, B. K., & O’Connor, M. P. (1990). An introduction to biblical Hebrew syntax (p. vii). Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns

Ben:

Or was this your elliptical way of saying, "this isn't really a problem"?

This might be a problem.  One of my church friends relied heavily on the word root.  Back then, when I knew less than nothing, I thought that there was a problem in that.  Now that I have risen to the knowing nothing level I have proof that just the root meaning is a problem.  Thanks for the education.  

Posts 2467
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 12 2019 12:41 AM

I agree. Not breaking it up to stems/binyamin makes it misleading, even useless

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