Gen 1:1 "When God began to create"?
dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Aug 30 09:47:03 EDT 2000
> > Here is an attempt to recreate the Hebrew ambiguity in English, in an
> > over-simplified way. A ridiculously over-literal translation of
> > 1:1-2 could
> > go something like:
> > In the beginning of God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth
> > was/became formless and void...
> May I suggest:
> At the beginning of God's creating skies and land the land was unpopulated
> and a wind from God soared over the ocean.
> I'd like to point out (tho no one has disputed this as yet) that the land
> and sea were already there prior to the beginning of God's creative
I'll be glad to dispute it :-)
> The phrase "veha(aretz hayita tohu ve bohu" is in the pluperfect.
Nope. There's no solid linguistic way to demonstrate this. In fact,
in my own view, it's adversative: "In the beginning, God created the
heavens and the earth, but the earth was unformed and void and
there was darkness etc." We begin with creation of two things,
then zoom in and focus on the latter of them.
> In narrative Hebrew, if the verb comes before the subject (VSO), the
> narration is moved along. If the subject comes first (SVO), then the action
> of that clause comes *before*
> the action of the main clause. This was pointed out by Rashi and also
And both are wrong, IMO. Also, I think you've rather
misunderstood a feature of discourse analysis here. According to
most discourse grammarians, if the subject comes first the action
is backgrounded, i.e. it's off the main line of narrative. That does
not make is before the main clause temporally, it simply makes it
an explanatory aside. There is no indication of temporal relation
between clauses indicated by this sort of word order.
"Éist le glór Dé."
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