Studies In The Syntax Of The Peshitta Of 1 Kings -- By: P.J. Williams

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 49:1 (NA 1998)
Article: Studies In The Syntax Of The Peshitta Of 1 Kings
Author: P.J. Williams


Studies In The Syntax Of
The Peshitta Of 1 Kings1

P.J. Williams

The Peshitta (Syriac version) of the book of 1 Kings has until recently suffered neglect. The only monograph examining it to date was published in 1897. This thesis uses the corpus of 1 Kings as a basis for what is only the second detailed study of the syntax of the Peshitta of the Old Testament. It seeks to examine both those constructions in Syriac that contrast in form with their Hebrew Vorlage, and those constructions that contain variations within the Syriac language as yet unexplained by researchers. For each construction the contribution of previous studies such as those by Nöldeke, Duval, Avinery, Muraoka, and Joosten is summarised.

Chapter 2 examines the genitive. Whereas in Hebrew the genitive is usually expressed by the construct-genitive relationship, in Syriac the genitive is commonly expressed by one of three constructions: the construct-genitive relationship (construction a) is one, another construction employs the relative particle dalath between the nouns (construction b), and a third employs both the relative particle and a pronominal suffix on the first noun agreeing in number and gender with the second noun (construction c). Construction a occurs mainly with a few very frequently occurring first nouns, e.g., ‘house’ and ‘son’. Construction b is the most common construction, being particularly used when the second noun is the name of a material. Construction c occurs most when both nouns are masculine singular, especially when the second noun is a personal proper noun. The most important pairs of nouns for examination are those pairs that occur together in more than one construction. For example, in the case

of the combination ‘prophet of God’ it was found that construction b was used to express the indefinite ‘a prophet of God’, while construction c was used to express the definite ‘the prophet of God’. In this way Syriac compensates for its lack of a definite article.

Similarly, the employment of a suffix on the word kul (‘all’) often marks the definiteness of the noun it precedes (chapter 3). The suffix is never used with the word kul when the noun it precedes is clearly indefinite.

As with the genitive construction there are three main ways of governing a direct object in Syriac (chapter 4): without an object marker (construction d), with the object marker lamadh (construction e), and with both the object marker and a verbal suffix agreeing with the noun (construction f). Constru...

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