Genesis 1:1: independ/subord... Recent comments

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Wed Dec 8 21:43:28 EST 1999

Although the post wasn't directed to you, Peter, thanks for your response.
I have been following all the posts on the subject.

At 20.50 08/12/99 -0500, peter_kirk at wrote:

>Re comment 1: I have dealt with this in detail in my reply to Prof. 
>Niccacci. This construction occurs, but it is not common. The reader 
>would naturally read here the common construction rather than the rare 
>one. For further details, see my other postings. I still stand by what 
>I wrote, except that perhaps the issue is not as clear cut as I 
>originally thought.
>Re comment 2: Now who's appealing to authorities, i.e. how other 
>scholars have translated this text? And who is the one who is looking 
>only at the evidence, the Hebrew text? Anyway, I dealt with the 
>question of Jewish interpretations later in my reply to Prof. 

The opportunity for such comments as I cited was there when you made your
statement condemning recent translations.

While we're here, you still don't seem have dealt with my initial problem
with your analysis: if, as per your thought, you have a sequence of two
x-qatals, how can you give one of them temporal priority? You say that the
creation talked of in v1 resulted in the waste and void in v2. My little
understanding is that x-qatal provides background information to an event,
not narrative content. If the analysis is as you claim, why isn't it an
x-qatal (br') followed by a wayyiqtol (wyhy) as would be expected? The fact
that this isn't the case should signal some other interpretation.



>>Sorry, but where were comments like the ones below when Peter wrote the 
>>following paragraph?
>>>PK: Unfortunately it is those newer translations rather than the older 
>>>ones which are incorrect. We have B:R")$IYT BFRF) ):ELOHIYM... which 
>>>is a clear example of a temporal phrase with B:- and a time noun 
>>>followed by a finite QATAL verb, meaning "In the beginning God 
>>>created.." or perhaps "In the beginning God had created...".
>>Comment 1:
>>It is not uncommon for a verb to be bound to a construct noun forming a 
>>subordinate clause.
>>Comment 2:
>>>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.
>>>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".
>>>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
>>>and the earth" but "in the beginning of God's creating the heaven and the 

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