The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, June 10, 2016


Guillaume Dye delivers another argument against Catherine Pennacchio I cannot endorse:

The author then proposes a new hypothesis, in my opinion unconvincing, that Ar. ǧalā’ (Q 59:3) come from Heb. gōlā, gālūt, "exile" (p. 64-65). She recognizes that the GLW / Y root, "cut, reveal, separate, emigrate", is common in Semitic. Why then say that it is a "semantic borrowing on Heb. gōlā" (p. 65)? A semantic loan (Lehnbedeutung) is a way of borrowing - however it is a sense that the Arabic root already possesses. Certainly the concept of gōlā is central to Judaism (albeit the Christian homiletic genre did not ignore the concept), but this does not mean that if the Arabic term ǧalā’ means, in the Koran, the exile of the Jews, then it must be of Hebrew origin.

Here, I have to counter that in the post-Biblical milieu, the Jews were first to make religious jargon of the bare word gōlā. Again I have to say that the Aramaic-speaking mediators (if any) did little more here than to transcribe what they had from their Jewish sources.

It does look like Pennacchio should have scaled back her ambitions for her thesis. Perhaps she should have delivered a shorter supplement to Geiger, Torrey, and Jeffery in a journal somewhere; the Journal of Semitic Studies would surely have shown an interest. Still, in what parts of Dye's response I'm confident enough in Semitic philology to gauge - Pennachio seems to come out ahead, with just a few more words of argument needed in support.

posted by Zimri on 17:23 | link | 0 comments

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