Ani and its semantic domain in the Psalms

Rhode, Rubin Frank (1991-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 1991.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: One of the most vexing questions in the exegetical research on the Psalms has been the establishing of the identity of the suppliant who refers to himself as the cani. Many scholars have endeavoured to study the meaning and significance of this word, but it is still not satisfactorily resolved. The weakness of these studies can be traced back to two factors: (1) an exaggerated over-confidence in the etymological method of analysis, and (2) the implementation of inadequate and incomplete semantic methods. This investigation starts out with the hypothesis that the meaning of cani must be determined in terms of both its macro and micro leve~. Thus, the meaning of this designation will be established synchronically, as well as in terms of an associative field. In this way the semantic field of cani can be .demarcated in light of its immediate lexical, as well as its wider associative field. A close reading of the Psalms in which cani appears, reveals that a triangular relationship is depicted between certain actants. The drama tis personae occupying the following roles in this triangle are: (1) Yahweh asjudge and saviour, (2) the cani as suppliant and victim, and (3) .the antagonist as oppressor and blasphemer. In order to establish the identity of the cani it was necessary to investigate its synonyms and antonyms within this complex triangular structure. Within such a semantic framework it has been determined that the stereotype translation equivalent "poor" is both inadequate and misleading.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Een van die mees kwellende vrae in die moderne Psalmeksegese is die raaisel aangaande die identiteit van die cani. Baie geleerdes het gepoog om die betekenis van hierdie woord te bepaal, maar tot nou toe is die prableem nog nie bevredigend opgelos nie as gevolg van: (1) te swaar klem wat op die etimologie van die woord geplaas is, of (2) onvoldoende semantiese metodes wat gebruik is in die ondersoek van hierdie term. Hierdie studie gaan uit van die hipotese dat die betekenis van cani op beide makro- en mikrovlak vasgestel moet word. Die betekenis moet sinkronies sowel as in terme van 'n assosiatiewe veld bepaal word. Op hierdie wyse kan die semantiese veld afgebaken word op grand van die onmiddellike leksikale sowel as die wyere assosiatiewe veld. Verder is daar ook vasgestel dat in die Psalms waarin cani voorkom, daar gewoonlik sprake is van 'n driehoeksverhouding. Die dramatis personae is: (1) Jahwe as rigter en redder, (2) die cani as aangeklaagde/smekeling en slagoffer en (3) die antagonis as onderdrukker en aanklaerllasteraar. Om die identiteit van die cani vas te stel, was dit nodig om die sinonieme sowel as die antonieme van hierdie term binne so 'n driehoekige struktuur te ondersoek. Binne so 'n semantiese raamwerk is vasgestel dat die stereotipe vertalingsekwivalent "arm" beide onvoldoende en misleidend is.

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