Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prepostions, you gotta luv 'em

I'm in the midst of reading Chip Hardy's dissertation on the Hebrew preposition. Interesting stuff—very linguistic in orientation. I came across this little tidbit, which I really like [I couldn't get the transliteration to paste correctly, sorry]:
One finds several BH examples of which may be understood as having either a locative formation or the comitative function. In Example (172), Saul is said to have met a group of prophets. Enthused by the Spirit of God, the narrative states that Saul prophesied בְּתוֹכָֽם btokam 'among (the group of) them'.

(172) וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֖א בְּתוֹכָֽם
wayyi nabbeʾ ɔm
prophesy-WCPC.3M.SG. INSIDE/COM+them
[Saul] prophesied among them. 1 Samuel 10:10

This usage could be understood as a locative relation denoting the location 'within the group of prophets'. Alternatively, it may be read as the COMITATIVE designating the pluralization of the subjective participant. Saul may be seen as prophesying as one of the group of prophets, namely 'together with them'. This latter formation appears to motivate the incredulous response and the proverbial saying: גַ֥ם שָׁא֖וּל בַּנְּבִאִֽים 'Is Saul among the prophets?' (vs. 12). This designation seems to suggest more than a location in the midst of a group but the extension of the identification with the primary characteristic of that group, namely prophecy.—Diachronic Development in Biblical Hebrew Prepositions, pages 265–66

<idle musing>
I like that...see, grammar (and linguistics) really does matter!
</idle musing>

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