Evangelical Textual Criticism

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Truth and grammatical error

Is there any reason why a divinely inspired text, which may be characterised as 'perfect' (Psalm 19:7) or 'flawless' like silver refined seven times (Ps. 12:6) might not contain constructions which grammarians would view as grammatical errors? Error of fact and error of grammar are two extremely different entities. One is a breach of truth and the other is merely a breach of social convention. Languages change through various morphological and syntactic developments; forms and constructions that are at one time viewed as erroneous come to be viewed as acceptable later. From the angle of a highly prescriptive view of grammar most of the words that we use in most sentences began historically as errors. The concept of 'grammatical error' is a social construction that occurs when there are norms of language that are felt to have been breached. Why should the Word of God be bound by such norms?

2 comments:

  1. Shiboleth vs. Sibotleth.

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  2. Precisely my point: you can get killed for saying the 'wrong' form, even though the judgement as to what is right has nothing to do with what is chronological prior.

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