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?


  1. Shiboleth vs. Sibotleth.

  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.