Criticism On Gesenius’s Doctrine Of The Accents And Makkeph -- By: Jacob T. M. Falkenau

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 007:28 (Oct 1850)
Article: Criticism On Gesenius’s Doctrine Of The Accents And Makkeph
Author: Jacob T. M. Falkenau

Criticism On Gesenius’s Doctrine Of The Accents And

Jacob T. M. Falkenau

In the “Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius, as revised by Roediger, from the fourteenth edition, translated by T. J. Conant, Prof, in Madison University, Hamilton,” we read as follows :

“I. Book, on Orthography. § 15. Note 11, 5. But two conjunctives cannot be employed together. If the sense requires that several words should be connected, it is done by Makkeph.”

“§ 16, 1. The use of it [Makkeph] moreover depends chiefly on the principle that two conjunctive accents cannot be written in succession.”

We read substantially the same, with a little variation, in Prof. Stuart’s translation, published 1846.

I assert that to whatever part of the Bible we may apply this rule and theory, it will prove to be a failure. Let us then take for examination the 1st chapter of Genesis.

In 1, 26. 4, he asserts that when one conjunction follows another, as may be the case “in very long verses,” (but we have pointed it out in such short verses as Gen. 2:4. 3:12, 21), one of them is used as a lesser disjunctive (legatus domini), as e. g. the T’lisha K’tanna on the first word of the phrase פֶר הַתּוֹלה הַזֶה this book of the law, which occurs in the verse Josh. 1:8, which he gives as an illustration of the use of the accents. It is evident that this is but an expedient to escape from the dilemma created by his own arbitrary rule. Moreover, he has made a bad choice in selecting the first accent as the representative of a disjunctive; for as the pron. הַזֶּה is of the masc. gender, it agrees, not with הַתּוֹרָה, but with פֶר, and consequently there is even a closer degree of logical connection between the first two than between the last two words of the phrase. Comp. Deut. 29:20. 30:10. 31:26.

But for the better investigation of the subject, let us refer to the author’s original work, the “Lehrgebäude.”

In any of the other verses quoted there as containing the most accents, the author might have met with the same difficulty of finding two or more conjunctives in succession. The quotation of 1 Chron. 28:1, even numbers five conjunctives in succession.

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