Friday, August 03, 2012

Psalms and tense

Above (4.2.1. ), I argued that temporal succession is semantically effected by boundedness but is the pragmatically default interpretation of narrative discourse. What I propose here is that the association of this pragmatic-based temporally successive meaning with the narrative wayyiqtol allows the poets of Psalms to draw on the form to overtly mark temporal succession within a context dominated by static (temporally speaking), parallelistic poetry. The contrast between Hebrew narrative and poetry can be well appreciated in light of Jackobson’s famous definition of poetic function as transforming sequence into equivalency (1960: 358): “equivalence is promoted to the constitutive device of the sequence.” In other words, the relationship between predicates in successive lines (i.e., parallel stichs) in poetry is one of equivalency—that is, they refer to the self-same event—in contrast to prose narrative, in which successive predicates refer to successive events. Thus, to force a sequential reading of events in poetry, the wayyiqtol form is employed with its implicature meaning of succession from the prose narrative.—John Cook in Time and the Biblical Hebrew Verb(forthcoming from Eisenbrauns)


That's my 2 cents! said...

Would you mind translating that passage from professor speak to student speak, please, and thank you! :-P

jps said...

Not sure I can : )

Basically, he's saying that in the Hebrew, there is an unexpected use of a form to draw attention to the time sequence of what is going on. Maybe that's what he means...John, are you out there??? Or, maybe Bev, who's editing the book for Eisenbrauns, can help me...