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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 234 Reviews pendent relation" (p. lxxix). The perfect and the perfect consecutive therefore overlaps semantically; "one is a resultative perfect, the other a resultative construction" (p. lxxxiii). To conclude, Garr maintains with Driver that the biblical Hebrew verbal system has an aspectual nature. He does not assign the waw prefixed to the perfect and imperfect short fonns any other function than that of coordination . He also reorganizes and better justifies many of Driver's wide range of observations of the biblical Hebrew verbal system in the light of developments in comparative philology and biblical Hebrew phonology. Although Garr's acceptance of the aspectual nature of the biblical Hebrew system will not go unchallenged (compare e.g. Z. Zevit, The Anterior Construction in Classical Hebrew, [1998], G. Hatav, The Semantics of Aspect and Modality: Evidence /rom English and Biblical Hebrew, [1997], T. Goldfajn, Word Order and Time in Biblical Hebrew Narrative [Oxford: Clarendon 1998]), his contribution will indeed render Driver's great work the second life it deserves. Christo H. J. van der Merwe University of Stellenbosch Matieland' 7602, South Africa cvdm@maties.sun.ac.sa WORD ORDER AND TIME IN BIBLICAL HEBREW NARRATIVE. By Tal Goldfajn. Oxford Theological Monographs. Pp. xvi + 169. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Cloth, $65.00. Every once in a (long) while, one runs across a well-written book in which the prose itself is elegant, literary in its own right. This is not such a book. It is even better: it is clearly and simply written, without the usual obtuse and idiosyncratic jargon that linguists customarily use. To be sure, jargon there is, but always well-defined and consistently used. This is the reader's good fortune, for Goldfajn's task is to tackle the vexed problem of the Hebrew verbal system. Goldfajn's approach is to back away from the question of whether the suffix and prefix conjugations of biblical Hebrew indicate tense, aspect 0 r something else. Instead, a different perspective is used: "What sort of linguistic phenomena with the BH text might be guiding the reader in his/her temporal interpretation of the text" (p. 3). Chapter 1 includes an excellent Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 235 Reviews summary of the history of the debate over the verbal system, concluding that the scholarly consensus during most of the twentieth century has been that the primary semantic pointer of the verbal system is aspectual. (Vincent DeCaen has recently explored the intellectual origins of the aspectual interpretation of the Hebrew verb in his lOur de force of academic archaeology: "Ewald and Driver on Biblical Hebrew 'Aspect': Anteriority and the Orientalist Framework," ZAH 9.2 [1996] 129-151.) Chapter 2 begins with a system of representing temporality from symbolic logic, which is used in the semantic analysis of Hebrew texts in later chapters. A comprehensive discussion of the nature of tense and aspect occupy the rest of this chapter and the next. Chapter 4, "Tense and Aspect in Hebrew Texts," introduces one of Goldfajn's major propositions: the nature of the verb cannot be understood except in relation to the verbs coming before and after it in the text stream. The author discusses the temporal structure of discourse, arguing that tense is a text-level phenomenon, not sentence-level, using Discourse Representation Theory (a la Kamp and Rohrer) as a methodological starting point for modeling Hebrew narrative text. Chapter 5 brings us another proposition of Goldfajn's methodology -word order. Word order expresses discontinuities or changes in the temporal stream of the narrative. Texts have an established temporal initial reference point, in which the same verbal form, for example, yiqlol, may have to be interpreted differently depending upon the relationship of the event expressed by the verb to that initial reference point. Goldfajn posits two basic temporal structures that are normally operative in Hebrew narrative : (1) when the event time of a particular sentence overlaps the reference time, and (2) when the initial reference time is anchored to some point in the past established by context (pp. 51-52). When a verb-subject word order (wayyiqtol) sequence is interrupted by a subject-verb word order (e.g., the so-called circumstantial clause), this...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 234-236
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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