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Full Version: Verb Tense in the Peshitta Tanakh
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In the original Hebrew Old Testament, the verbs are almost always in present tense, creating a unique effect of making it seem like the events of the Tanakh are unfolding before your eyes (which is something most translations of the Tanakh miss), and this is especially cool to see in Genesis. Does the Peshitta also use present-tense verbs?
I can't answer for the Peshitta, but I thought it would be worth mentioning that verb tense is a funny thing in Hebrew (compared to how we would think in English). Within Hebrew there isn't actually a past, present or future tense. Rather you have a completed action (perfect) or incompleted action (imperfect). The completed action / perfect is similar to our past tense and the incompleted action / imperfect is similar to our future tense. What makes it even more complicated though is that it switches when coupled with a vav (vav revsersive and vav conversive respectively). So in Genesis 1:7 for example, we read "vayya'as Elohim et ha-ra'qia - And God made the firmameant/expanse". The verb asa (make/do) in the first word is 3rd masculine singular imperfect which would usually be rendered as "he (Elohim) will do / make" but when you put the vav (and, but, then, etc.) in front, it is rendered in the English past tense (and he made / did).

Now, question for language scholars beyond my current comprehension: even though it is rendered in the Enlgish past tense, is there still a significance to the fact that the verb is imperfect as ScorpioSniper is alluding to?
Luc Lefebvre Wrote:... in Hebrew (compared to how we would think in English). Within Hebrew there isn't actually a past, present or future tense. Rather you have a completed action (perfect) or incompleted action (imperfect). The completed action / perfect is similar to our past tense and the incompleted action / imperfect is similar to our future tense. What makes it even more complicated though is that it switches when coupled with a vav (vav revsersive and vav conversive respectively). So in Genesis 1:7 for example, we read "vayya'as Elohim et ha-ra'qia - And God made the firmameant/expanse". The verb asa (make/do) in the first word is 3rd masculine singular imperfect which would usually be rendered as "he (Elohim) will do / make" ...

Now, question for language scholars ...: ... is there still a significance to the fact that the verb is imperfect as ScorpioSniper is alluding to?

I am no language expert, but for a simpleton that would explain a lot about what He (YHWH) was up to the next 5 days, as He was still working to complete the creation, awmain. Eloheem started things in motion the first day but we know that it was not finished and that He then for the next five days worked at completing what He had started.

And being the word is in the incomplete that alone <!-- s:eh: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/eh.gif" alt=":eh:" title="Eh" /><!-- s:eh: --> coupled with the rest of Chapter 1 <!-- s:lookround: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/lookround.gif" alt=":lookround:" title="Look Round" /><!-- s:lookround: --> should tell the story <!-- s:oha: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/oha.gif" alt=":oha:" title="Oha!" /><!-- s:oha: --> .

Anyway you know how those English are when translating Scriptures, hardly one has gotten it all right as of today, oy veh. <!-- sSad --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/sad.gif" alt="Sad" title="Sad" /><!-- sSad -->