SV: Gilgamesh and Genesis 1:1

Peter Kirk peter_kirk at sil.org
Mon Jan 17 22:36:13 EST 2000


I don't know if NPL was on this list at the time, but it's not many 
months since we had an exhaustive discussion of the syntax of Genesis 
1:1. My conclusion was that Lee Martin's interpretation of this verse 
cannot be syntactically correct, as this would leave it as a hanging 
prepositional phrase linked to nothing else, for verse 2 (starting 
with WAW) is clearly a new sentence. So I agree with NPL that the 
literal meaning of BERE'SHIT is "at a beginning" with no construct 
chain. But this cannot mean "one of many beginnings" but in this 
context can only mean "in the beginning" in an absolute sense.

Peter Kirk


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: SV: Gilgamesh
Author:  <lmartin at vol.com> at Internet
Date:    17/01/2000 11:24


Niels Peter Lemche wrote:

> One of the basic parts of the training at universities is to tell people to 
> read a text in context. You cannot isolate one verse from it context and
> claim that you can interpret it out of context.

Dear Niels,
Your statement above is condescending.  We all know that texts must be read in 
context.

> Gen 1:1 can be translated in
> several different ways, e.g. because the first word does not say in the 
> beginning but as it stands in the Leningradiensis (and Aleppo for that 
> matter) 'at a beginning'.

Gen. 1:1 does not say "at a beginning."  The reason BeReShiTH does not have the 
article is that it is in construct.  It takes its definiteness from the word 
following.  The construct used with a finite verb is attested many times in the 
HB and
it is always definite.  Thus, Gen. 1:1 says, "In the beginning of God's creating
 the
heavens and the earth."  The statement may be interpreted in several ways, but G
od's
creation of heaven and earth cannot be excised from verse one or from the whole 
chapter.
--

Lee R. Martin
Pastor, Prospect Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee 
Instructor in Hebrew and Old Testament
Church of God Theological Seminary
http://earth.vol.com/~lmartin/




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