Qamatz Qatan; We Didn’t Overthrow One King George…

1.  I read “The Qama[tz] Qa[t]an Structure” in Wener Weinberg’s Essays on Hebrew

I should probably review this chapter before I take my comp because I read on the front cover that my professor is a Werner Weinberg Anthology donor.

For now, I’ll quote the opening paragraph of the essay.  I’ll spell qamatz as qamatz, even though Weinberg doesn’t do so:

There are three ways of identifying a qamatz as a qq: one is etymological—tracing back the history of a given qamatz to a Semitic /u/; another is phonological—considering such factors as a closed or open syllable, the place of stress, and the proximity of another /o/ sound; the third is morphological—focussing on the grammatical pattern of the word which contains the qamatz.  This essay concentrates on the third approach because it is the most practical: the first requires an expert knowledge of Hebrew languages, and the second is unreliable. 

A qamatz is a Hebrew vowel.  A long qamatz is an /a/ sound, whereas a short qamatz—a qamatz qatan—is an /o/ sound.  Often, in the Hebrew Bible, there are rules as to when we should read the qamatz as a qamatz qatan—or when the Masoretes did so.  One rule is that a qamatz in an unstressed closed syllable is a qamatz qatan.  But qamatz qatans occur when such is not the case.  And so Weinberg details the many occurrences of the qamatz qatan—in hyphened infinitives, in certain types of imperatives, etc.

2.  I read more of Dirk Schenkeveld’s essay, “Philosophical Prose”, which is in the Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period.  When Cicero was banned by Caesar from his official duties, he wrote theses to keep his chin up.  One is about the following topic:

Whether one should remain in one’s country, even under a tyranny.  Whether any means are lawful to abolish a tyranny, even if they endanger the existence of the State.  Whether one ought to take care that one who tries to abolish it may not rise too high himself.

I’m not sure how Cicero answers this, for, in the source I checked, these are questions among other questions that he’s thinking of considering.  But these questions remind me of the American Revolution: we overthrew a tyrant, and sought to create a government of checks and balances, the type that was supposed to be tyrant-proof.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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