The 24 hour "evening and mornings" ???

Michael Hildenbrand hildenbr at Haas.Berkeley.EDU
Tue Aug 29 19:29:49 EDT 2000

	Comments below...

I might also remind members paticipating in this discussion that we must
stick to the text and not let our emotions run wild as is often the case
in discussing this exact text.  I sense this discussion heading in that
direction.  If things get out of hand-as it appears that it is
becoming-including name calling, straw-man arguments, etc, I will no
longer respond on this thread.


 On Tue, 29 Aug 2000, Dave Washburn wrote:

> Michael,
> > Dave,
> > 	The sun and moon are simply God's time pieces.  
> So what?  Assuming this statement is correct, which is 
> questionable, before these "timepieces" there would have been no 
> such discerning of time, so I don't see what this adds to the 
> discussion.

I am summarizing my view by this statement, it doesn't add to it.

> Evening and
> > Morning existed before the sun and moon were created.  
> How?  That's the whole question.  Simply saying it is so isn't 
> enough. 

I am simply stating what the text says.  If I am to understand what the
author is presenting in Gen 1, I must understand that for him, evening and
morning existed before the sun and moon.  You *must* understand that that
is what the author is *saying* whether or not that makes sense to us.  
The language is clear.

> Evening and
> > morning exist if it is cloudy in our present day.  You may argue that the 
> > sun and moon are despite the clouds in the way, but you are not
> > understanding the phenominality (is that a word?) of the text.  
> I don't see how one follows from the other.  Of course cloudy days 
> have evening and morning, because these phenomena are caused 
> by the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun and moon, which 
> is exactly my point.  As concerns the text, whether we speak of 
> earth's rotation or of heavenly orbs rising and setting, the 
> phenomena of evening and morning still owe their existence to the 
> presence of those orbs, however limited their visibility may be at 
> times.  I have no idea what you mean by "phenominality (is that a 
> word?) of the text."  Literal evening and morning without at least a 
> sun is an absurdity.

According to what the author writes in Gen 1, morning and evening existed
before the sun and moon.  The text does not speak of the rotation of the
earth.  And, BTW, there was *light* before the creation of sun and moon.  
This is what the text states.  "Literal evening and morning without at
least a sun is an absurdity" only if you take the point of view outside
that of the author.  Obviously, he did not think it was absurd.  He was
well aware that he was presenting the sun as created after the creation of
light.  The point of view is that of one on the earth.  If you see light
coming, the appearance would be like morning, its leaving like evening.

> The text
> > describes things as one would view it from earth.  
> Oh, of course.  So even without the sun, an observer on earth 
> would be able to discern evening and morning by recourse 
> to...what?  You're just digging a hole for yourself here.  Once again, 
> trying to insist on a literal "evening and morning" without the sun as 
> a reference point would be utterly absurd, especially to an observer 
> on earth.
> I fail to see how
> > one should take evening and morning any other way than literal.  How would
> > you *translate* evening and morning?  This would indicate how you
> > understand the terms.  
> That's easy.  "Pause, move on to the next step."

Do you have any other passage where it should be translated that way?  If
not, you are resorting to special pleading.

> Would you translate them "evening and morning" with
> > a little aside "hey that's what I said, but I really mean it
> > differently"?  If it isn't literal (as both of the terms are used
> > *everywhere* else), what is it?
> The mnemonic structure of the passage has already been 
> observed, and your reductio ad absurdum did not refute it.  I would 
> also point to the clear poetically-inspired structure of the passage.  
> There is no need to try and force literalness on these terms, and in 
> fact there are many good reasons not to when we look at the text 
> in its historic, linguistic and formal context.

I am not sure that the structure is for mnemonic purposes nor how that
relates to my argument.  It *is* highly structured, but for memory?  How
does a "poetically-inspired structure" refute our necessity of
understanding the language here as simply language?  Poetry must also be
understood literally.  It must be understood as poetry (which Gen 1 is
not), but still literally-or perhaps better-literarily.  That is
understanding its poetic idioms as just that. If a text exists in poetry,
then the language can be described in terms of clearly defined figures of
speech.  What figures of speech exists in this text?  If you examine the
terms used in Gen 1, they cannot be classified as idomatic language or
figures of speech.  If they could, one could put a name on the type of
figure (for an overwhelming list of figures of speech, see Bullinger
_Figures of Speech_, I'm sure you are aware of this work-if only to prop
your door open!).


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list