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furuli's new book

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    jwfelix
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    00 11/15/2007 11:05 PM
    At the web-site of the Society of Biblical Literature there is a
    review of Furuli doctoral dissertation. If you want to read it, you can
    go to www.bookreviews.org and type "fururli" in the search
    window.

    www.bookreviews.org/pdf/5564_5860.pdf

    Furuli, Rolf
    A New Understanding of the Verbal System of
    Classical Hebrew: An Attempt to Distinguish Between
    Semantic and Pragmatic Factors
    Øvre Smestadvei: Awatu, 2006. Pp. 508. Paper. 300 kr.
    ISBN 8299463343.
    John Kaltner
    Rhodes College
    Memphis, Tennessee
    In this version of his 2005 University of Oslo dissertation, Rolf J. Furuli presents the
    results of his analysis of all 79,574 finite and infinite verbal forms found in the Hebrew
    Bible, the Qumran material, Ben Sira, and the inscriptions. He studies 4,261 of these
    forms in detail, with particular attention to their temporal reference, modality, and
    discourse functions, in order to determine how many conjugations are found in the
    classical Hebrew verbal system. Going against the common view that there are four
    conjugations, Furuli argues that there are only two because the waw prefix of wayyiqtol
    and weqatal is a syntactic, not a semantic, marker. Therefore, they are not two
    independent conjugations with semantic meanings distinct from yiqtol and qatal.
    Furuli posits that all four of these forms, plus weyiqtol, can have past, present, and future
    reference, showing that tense is not grammaticalized in classical Hebrew. In addition, all
    of these forms can describe incomplete or completed actions, which argues against the
    Hebrew conjugations representing aspects, at least in the usual sense of the word. Such
    conclusions put him at odds with the dominant views regarding the Hebrew verbal
    system, and Furuli attributes this difference to the uniqueness of the method he employs.
    That unique approach is best reflected in the book’s subtitle—a distinction is made
    between semantic and pragmatic factors, the latter designated here by the somewhat
    lumbering phrase “conversational pragmatic implicature.” The entire corpus of classical
    Hebrew is examined synchronically, and Furuli points out that a comprehensive analysis
    that downplays diachronic issues distinguishes his study from previous ones. Along the
    way, a number of traditional assumptions about the Hebrew verbal system are tested and
    rejected: that the wayyiqtol has an older preterite antecedent; that the yiqtol with past
    reference represents durative past; and that the qatal with future reference is best
    understood as a prophetic perfect.
    Furuli identifies the Masoretes as the unwitting inventors of the four-conjugation model
    of the Hebrew verbal system. In unpointed texts only two conjugations are visible, the
    prefix conjugation and the suffix conjugation, and some of these have a prefixed waw. But
    in the MT four or five conjugations are visible due to the addition of vowel markings.
    Furuli notes that the pointing was done before the rules of grammar had been firmly set,
    so the Masoretes were basing their decisions on what they heard in the synagogue rather
    than conforming to established grammatical norms. In other words, it was pragmatic
    factors, rather than semantic ones, that most influenced the way the vowels were added to
    the text. But as systematic study of Hebrew began in the century after the Masoretes
    completed their work, grammarians mistakenly interpreted the verbal conjugations in
    semantic terms and ignored the pragmatic factors. That approach has dominated ever
    since, and this book is an appeal to scholars to consider the pragmatic dimension of the
    verbal system and to adjust their understanding of it accordingly.
    Furuli sees communication as the act of making some things visible and other things
    invisible from the reservoir of possible meaning. It is the context that primarily does this,
    and this is at the heart of the difference between semantics and pragmatics for him.
    Semantics is concerned with words, which are stable and static, but pragmatics is
    concerned with context, which is elusive and dynamic. The features of the verbal system
    that cannot be changed or cancelled by the context comprise the semantic meaning, and
    those features that can be changed are the pragmatic ones. Furuli identifies three among
    the former: durativity, telicity, and dynamicity. Nothing in the context can cancel or
    nullify these three features in a given verb, so they constitute the verb’s semantic
    meaning.
    The four Hebrew conjugations can be distinguished on the basis of morphology and
    accent, but this does not prove they are semantically distinct. According to Furuli, the
    statistics indicate that the four forms are not semantically fixed because there is no
    uniform temporal distribution for any of them. Each can function in reference to the past,
    present, and future, challenging the idea that tense is grammaticalized in classical
    Hebrew. For example, by Furuli’s count, 6.9 percent of wayyiqtols have nonpast reference,
    and 5.9 percent of weqatals have past reference. Similarly, 2,505 (18 percent) of qatals
    have present reference, and 965 (6.9 percent) have future reference. Each conjugation is
    used more with a particular time reference than with others, but Furuli claims this is due
    to pragmatic factors that have nothing to do with semantics.
    Furuli argues that yiqtol, wayyiqtol, and weyiqtol are one conjugation and that qatal and
    weqatal are another, with the waw prefixes functioning simply as conjunctions. Often the
    lack of an expected waw is a pragmatic feature of a text. For example, in 1,027 cases he
    finds a yiqtol with past reference where he would expect to find a wayyiqtol. The most
    common reason for this is that the author wanted another word element to precede the
    verb, thus preventing the prefixed waw. This is what happens in 896 of those cases, and in
    the other 131 the yiqtol is the initial word in the sentence. In this way, pragmatic features
    allow Furuli to explain a grammatical irregularity that makes no sense from a semantic
    point of view.
    Throughout the work Furuli cautions against using modern languages such as English to
    understand the Hebrew verbal system. This is particularly the case when it comes to the
    concept of aspect. His study leads him to conclude that yiqtol, wayyiqtol, and weyiqtol
    represent the imperfect aspect, while qatal and weqatal represent the perfect aspect. The
    default form for past reference is qatal, and the default form for future is yiqtol, but other
    forms can be used for each. Nonetheless, there are certain patterns that indicate that
    particular verbal forms are used for particular purposes. Furuli’s general rule of thumb is
    that when the requirement for precision is low any form can be used, but when it is high
    certain forms must be used. This leads to a relationship between the aspects that is more
    complicated than that found in English, as the following observations he makes about the
    Hebrew aspects suggest: (1) both aspects make a part of the situation visible; (2) the
    imperfect makes some of the details of an event visible, but the perfect does not; (3) the
    imperfect makes a small part of an event visible, but the perfect makes a greater part
    visible; (4) the imperfect can include either the beginning or the end of an event, but the
    perfect can include both the beginning and the end; (5) unlike the perfect, the imperfect
    can make visible a part before the beginning of an event and a part of the resulting state.
    According to Furuli’s theory of how the Hebrew verbal system works, the authors chose
    their conjugations and forms based on pragmatic considerations such as how much of an
    event they wished to make visible.
    In some places the evidence Furuli cites is ambiguous or open to other interpretations.
    This is especially so in the poetic material, where it is more difficult to determine the
    temporal references with certainty and precision. To his credit, Furuli acknowledges this
    problem and, for the most part, focuses on passages that serve his purposes well. More
    problematic is the lack of a comprehensive listing of all the data Furuli drew upon to
    reach his conclusions. The reader is given dozens of tables of statistics and hundreds of
    biblical passages, in both Hebrew and English, that illustrate and support Furuli’s
    findings, but they represent just a fraction of the thousands of examples of usage that are
    not cited or listed anywhere in the book. We therefore have to take Furuli’s word for it
    that the somewhat limited evidence he does provide is representative of the large amount
    of material left untreated. This is one of the drawbacks of linguistic theories that purport
    to offer a revolutionary way of understanding an entire corpus of writings—they often
    leave the reader wondering what is behind the curtain.
    In addition to the occasional typo, in some places the Hebrew text does not match the
    English translation of a passage (see, e.g., examples 4c on 186, 279 n. 165, and 7.5k on
    360). A final critique concerns Furuli’s use of the cognate languages. He draws upon
    Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Aramaic when he discusses whether or not an old
    short prefixed form is the basis of wayyiqtol, but his analysis is somewhat superficial and
    sweeping. In addition, he makes only a passing reference to Arabic. This is unfortunate
    because it is well known that Arabic has preserved many ancient features that can be quite
    valuable for biblical scholars seeking to understand obscure or unusual aspects of
    Hebrew. In this case, the apocopated jussive form (majzum) in Arabic is a prominent
    feature of its verbal system that Furuli should have studied carefully.
    Semantic considerations have long dominated in treatments of the Hebrew verbal system,
    and Furuli’s call to take into account pragmatic factors is an important one that is worth
    considering. How his alternative model will be received remains to be seen, but at the
    very least his work might encourage some to think of more than just semantics when
    trying to understand the Hebrew verb.
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    christofer2006
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    00 11/16/2007 11:22 AM
    Ovviamente gli accademici seri prendono in considerazione le tesi di Furuli a differenza dei dilettanti polymetis e studita che non sanno apprezzare il lavoro di qualità, limitandosi a denigrare irragionevolmente!
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    Justeee
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    00 11/20/2007 9:01 PM
    I joined dicussioni, for those who want to go deeper in Italian in this link

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    Viviana.30
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    00 12/9/2007 9:49 PM
    Re:

    At the web-site of the Society of Biblical Literature there is a
    review of Furuli doctoral dissertation. If you want to read it, you can
    go to www.bookreviews.org and type "fururli" in the search
    window.

    www.bookreviews.org/pdf/5564_5860.pdf

    Furuli, Rolf
    A New Understanding of the Verbal System of
    Classical Hebrew: An Attempt to Distinguish Between
    Semantic and Pragmatic Factors
    Øvre Smestadvei: Awatu, 2006. Pp. 508. Paper. 300 kr.
    ISBN 8299463343.
    John Kaltner
    Rhodes College
    Memphis, Tennessee
    In this version of his 2005 University of Oslo dissertation, Rolf J. Furuli presents the
    results of his analysis of all 79,574 finite and infinite verbal forms found in the Hebrew
    Bible, the Qumran material, Ben Sira, and the inscriptions. He studies 4,261 of these
    forms in detail, with particular attention to their temporal reference, modality, and
    discourse functions, in order to determine how many conjugations are found in the
    classical Hebrew verbal system. Going against the common view that there are four
    conjugations, Furuli argues that there are only two because the waw prefix of wayyiqtol
    and weqatal is a syntactic, not a semantic, marker.



    Furuli He became help from some native Jew?