Gen 1:1 "When God began to create"?

Charles David Isbell cisbell at
Wed Aug 30 22:26:48 EDT 2000

Peter Kirk wrote: "So Rashi's interpretation is different from any which we
have looked at before, ..."

I would be most reluctant to oppose James Barr on a linguistic question, as
I suspect many of us would be.  But before dismissing the explanation of
Rashi, perhaps it would be appropriate to consider two of the major points
he actually made.

First, he notes that the phrase is not intended to teach the order of
creation, and states that were that order intended by the author, "it would
have been necessary to write BaRi$oNah."  Rashi does not add, but BDB list
the examples of BaRi$oNah to mean "former" or "prior" [often in Gegenteil
with )aXRoNaH], or simply "first." BDB list also six or seven examples of
Ry$oNah without the articular prepositional phrase, used as a temporal
adverb, again to mean "first."  In what way is Rashi incorrect on this

Second, he states that the word R)$YT in Scripture is always in construct to
the word following it.  For this assertion, he cites Jeremiah 27:1; Genesis
10:10; Deuteronomy 18:4, and notes the comparable construction of Hosea 1:2.
Can anyone on the list provide a biblical example of R)$YT not in construct?

Charles David Isbell

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