Biblical Division


Old Testament


Michael Williams


Arie C. Leder

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Pentateuch, Prophets, Linguistic politeness, Jussive


Beginning with a discussion of face-based linguistic politeness, this thesis investigates the etymology of the particle נָא as well as its meaning in the Pentateuch and Former Prophets. Though always associated with requests, the function of נָא varies according to its syntactical usage. With the particles הִנָּה and נָא ,אִם indicates that a request is about to be made; the interjections נָא and אַל־נָא are found too rarely to draw certain conclusions, but even in the few attested occurrences, a request follows. With the third-person jussive, נָא indicates that the hearer is being asked to do something, either to engage in an action or to grant permission (redress is offered by the use of the third-person form). With the cohortative, נָא invites input from the hearer, sometimes in the form of permission and sometimes more generally (redress is offered by an appeal to the hearer’s consent or opinion). With the imperative and negated second-person jussive, נָא softens the force of a directive and provides redress itself.



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