[b-hebrew] Genesis 2:8 simple past or pluperfect?
Paul E. Baronowsky
paulb2 at insightbb.com
Sun Jan 10 14:22:07 EST 2010
Ralph Candlish wrote:
> The King James reads
> "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put
> the man whom he had formed."
> The New International Version reads
> "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there
> he put the man he had formed."
> It is argued that the presence of the waw consecutive indicates that
> the planting of Eden was temporally successive to the creation of Adam
> and not prior as the pluperfect in the NIV could allow.
> (1) Can anyone explain from the text itself the rational behind some
> translators prefering the pluperfect?
Because the pluperfect in this case is better English. Hebrew has no
pluperfect form; it must be inferred from the context. Even so, the KJV
is hardly ambiguous. A reasonable (IMO) question: If G-d created the man
first, *then* the garden, where would G-d have stashed the man until the
garden was ready?
This part of Genesis (indeed, *all* of Genesis) is written from the
point of view of someone looking back at events which happened in the
past. If Moses himself is taken to be the author of Genesis, it cannot
be any other way. Otherwise, who was around to record what happened
during the first five days - before the first man was created?
In English - and other languages that have the form - the pluperfect is
used to denote a past event which took place before some other past event.
Just because Hebrew has no pluperfect form does not mean that a
translation from Hebrew into English cannot use a pluperfect form when
the context reasonably calls for it. To refuse to use the English
pluperfect when called for, just because Hebrew has no pluperfect form,
is to write poor English - and, often, to make the meaning of the Hebrew
> (2) Does the use of the pluperfect necessarily impy a paragraph break?
Why should it? The pluperfect does not imply a paragraph break in English.
-------------- next part --------------
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 9.0.725 / Virus Database: 270.14.132/2611 - Release Date: 01/10/10 01:35:00
More information about the b-hebrew