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THE SYNTAX OF , tD til IN BIBLICAL HEBREW WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO QOHELETH* Roger Schwarzschild University ofMassachusetts at Amherst In Biblical Hebrew (BH) the two particles -0 and 'a:1M were used. among other things, to form relative clauses.1 A number of Semiticists have attempted at various times to show that both particles were original demonstratives perhaps deriving from a common source. Against this view stands the opinion generally accepted nowadays that unlike -0. ,a:1lt in fact derived from an original substantive meaning "place." the Hebrew equivalent of the Assyrian aSru. and the Arabic and Aramaic ~M.2 An important contribution to this debate was made by Carl Gaenssle in a lengthy article on the etymology and syntax of ,a:1lt. There he forcefully defends the substantive origin of 'a:1M though he is careful to add that "This. of course, is not meant to imply that a sense of its nominal character was still alive in the Sprachbewusstsein of the [OT] writers" (Gaenssle 1914: 21). Gaenssle is surely not alone in assuming that 'a:1M had lost its nominal character in BH. Yet it is just this assumption that I wish to challenge here. * I am grateful 10 Professors F. Roger Higgins and 10hn 1. McCanhy for their invaluable assistance and interest in this project 1 For Ihe syntax of'1!lIt, see Gaenssle (1914·1915). Bergsb'llsser (1909) is a classic source for the syntax of -Ia. Other relative markers not covered in this arnele are ill and " (primarily in poetry) and the definite article, il. 2 According 10 Gaenssle (1914:5), by the tum of Ihe century a number ofresearchers (including Fleischer, MOhlau, Friedrich, Dclitzsch, Hommel, Stade, Harper, Kraetzschmar, Zimmern, and Brockelmann) had defended Ihe view that 'IDM derives from a noun meaning "place." For more recent references see Gevirtz (1957:127) and Waltke and O'Connor (1990:332). It is also worth noting that in Assyrian you find not only the noun dIU but also the form dar which functions both as a preposition and as a conjunction meaning "where,""while," "if," and "whatever" (Civil et aI. 1968, A2:413-4I6). -Ia is now taken to be etymologically identical 10 the Akkadian particle la, and the Phoenician and Punic particle ID (Gevirtz 1957), and by some, 10 the Phoenician and Punic IDM (Levine 1985). See Gaenssle (1914:3-15) for a review of various theories tracing ~M and -Ia 10 a common source. Adherents of such theories include Olshausen, GKC, Ewald, Sperling, BOttcher, KOnig, Baumann, and Phillipi. A good deal ofthe literature on these two panicles is devoted 10 explaining their relative dislJibution in. the books of the Bible: while 'lDM is common throughout BH, -ID is scarce and tends to be limited to the later books. In Mishnaic Hebrew -ID is dominant Explanations tend 10 fall inlO three (overlapping) categories , depending on the kind ofdifference atlJibuted 10 the two particles: (a) stylistic-~ is literary, -IZI colloquial (Segal 1908:660; Hurvitz 1972:41, n. 94); (b) tcmporal--IZI entered Ihe language later than did ~M (Bcrgstrllsser 1909; Levine 1985); (c) rcgional--IZI was limited to a Northern dialect (Segal 1908; Kutscher 1982; Levine 1985). Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 8 Schwanschild: Syntax O!'IJJR In this paper I will discuss aspects of the syntax of biblical 'IJJR that tend to confinn what I will call the Nominal Hypothesis. According to this hypothesis , 'IJJR never ceased to be categorized as a noun in the syntactic component of the grammar of BH. In keeping with this hypothesis, a clause together with an initial 'IJJR is analyzed as a noun phrase with roughly the following structure:3 I s NP I The case for the Nominal Hypothesis will be made in two parts. In the first part, I will draw on data from BH as a whole. This discussion will be based to some extent on Gaenssle's work. In the second part attention will be focused on the book of Qoheleth. Qoheleth plays an interesting role in the history of 'IJJR for the following reasons. To begin with, it is one of the later books of the Bible. Therefore if 'IJJR can be shown to be "nominal...


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