Genesis 1:1: independent clause or subordinat

Lewis Reich lewreich at
Wed Dec 8 10:07:38 EST 1999

On 8 Dec 99, at 1:11, somi wrote:

> I would be curious to know which translations render it this way.  

The Jewish Publication Society translation of 1962 (and, I believe, a more 
recent version) translated Gen 1:1-2  as :  (1) When God began to create 
the heaven and the earth -  (2) the earth being unformed and void, with 
darkness over the surface of the deep.  It footnoted create and the note 
read "Or 'In the beginning God created'".  I believe that Fox's new 
translation is similar, but do not have a copy at hand.  

> Also, how is it that BRH can be translated as a seems to
> be an obvious verb. 

The translation I'm describing would have it as a gerund or an infinitive - 
"when God began to create", or "in the beginning of God's creating".  

> Thus, the addition of the genitival characteristic "of" at the end
> does not seem to be given much weight when set against the context
> of the functioning of the words in the rest of the sentence.  Those
> are my thougts, anyway. 

The significance of the necessary ending of "of" is that the first verse 
cannot stand alone as a single sentence, but is really an introductory 
phrase;  it is not "In the beginning (or "at first")  God created the heaven 
and the earth" but "in the beginning of God's creating the heaven and the 

Lewis Reich

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