Chronological Aspects of the Verbal Predicative Participle in Biblical Hebrew

  • D. Bakker (Speaker)
  • Dyk, J. W. (Speaker)
  • M. Naaijer (Speaker)
  • M.E. Kaajan (Speaker)

    Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


    It is generally assumed that syntax is a less conscious component of language than lexicon, fixed phrases etc., and therefore more resilient to manipulation such as archaization. On this basis, a project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research aims to chart syntactic variation throughout the Hebrew Bible, using the database developed at the Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer. The current presentation will focus on the distribution of participle constructions at the phrase, clause and text-hierarchical levels.

    Having in their morphology both verbal and nominal aspects, participles seem to be able to maneuver themselves into a broad variety of functions, though always adopting a function that fits into the constraints of the environment. To account consistently for this variety, it is necessary to keep both the verbal and the nominal functions available in the analysis of a form. Dependent on the context, a participle can function governed by the head of a noun phrase or a prepositional phrase, as head of a clause constituent or as the main verb. In the end, however, a single set of linguistic rules accounts for the functioning of the participle in its context, regardless of the language variety. This set can be used to gauge the relative frequency of the different participial functions. Only after quantifying the presence and frequencies of a broad set of structures evidencing variation in BH at phrase, clause, and text-compositional levels is it permissible to hypothesize as to the reasons for the differences. These three environments will be presented separately by Marianne Kaajan, Martijn Naaijer and Dirk Bakker, respectively, introduced by Janet Dyk. Once inventoried, the data can be searched for clustering of characteristics which could point to a specific explanation for the differing proportions in which these various syntactic possibilities are used, whether that be dialect, dating, genre, transmission history or the influence of a foreign language.
    Period22 Nov 2014
    Event titleSociety of Biblical Literature (SBL) Annual Meeting
    Event typeLecture
    Degree of RecognitionInternational