Gen 1:1 "At first"?

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Fri Sep 1 19:01:00 EDT 2000


Interesting, though perhaps getting a bit far from the Hebrew. But each of
these cases could well also be echoing Gen 1:1 LXX, especially if the
beginning of the Christian gospel is being viewed as the beginning of a new
creation, as in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Sorry to get into Christian doctrine,
but here it is relevant because it shows that these EN ARCH instances are
not necessarily typical of Koine Greek as a whole. So, can anyone check for
occurrences of EN ARCH in secular Hellenistic Greek? If indeed it is a
common idiom, that weakens the argument that the LXX translator understood
the Hebrew BERE'SHIYT as BE- + no article + noun in the absolute, i.e. "in a
beginning". If the phrase is only found in echoes of the LXX, that
strengthens the argument.

Of course to say that the translator understood the Hebrew in this way is
not to suggest that he was thinking of this beginning as one of a series of
beginnings. I don't see any hint of that type of thinking in the Hebrew
Bible. Rather it looks to me like a rather crude attempt to reconcile the
Bible with modern science.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Ross" <wross at farmerstel.com>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2000 4:41 PM
Subject: RE: Gen 1:1 "At first"?


> <Kerry>
> > But isn't this the same usage as found in the beginning (GRIN!) of the
> Gospel of John? En Arche ho Logos.......
> > There is says "the", or am I really beginning to show of my vast fund of
> ignorance
> > on things Greek as well? Laugh!
>
> <Liz>
> >No, there is no "the" just "in beginning" or "When beginning," or "while
> beginning" or "at first".
> I agree, it's not a separate witness, just a quotation from the LXX.
>
> <Bill>
> I'm starting to warm up to "at first". Does anyone have a problem with
that?
>
> Also, there are zero occurences of "EN H ARCH" in the NT, but here are
some
> Koine Greek instances of "EN ARCH" phrases:
>
> Acts 11:15 **EN DE TW ARXASQAI** ME LALEIN EPEPESEN TO PNEUMA TO AGION EP
> AUTOUS WSPER KAI EF HMAS **EN ARCH**
>
> Acts 11:15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us
> at the beginning.
> [literally "But in the beginning of me to speak...just as also upon us in
> [a] beginning"]
>
> Philippians 4:15 OIDATE DE KAI UMEIS FILIPPHSIOI OTI **EN ARCH** TOU
> EUAGGELIOU OTE EXHLQON APO MAKEDONIAS OUDEMIA MOI EKKLHSIA EKOINWNHSEN EIS
> LOGON DOSEWS KAI LHMYEWS EI MH UMEIS MONOI
> [literally "...in [a] beginning of the Gospel..."]
>
> Phil 4:15  Now ye Philippians know also, that **in the beginning** of the
> gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated
[shared]with
> me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
>
> Revelations 3:14 KAI TW AGGELW THS EN LAODIKEIA EKKLHSIAS GRAYON TADE
LEGEI
> O AMHN O MARTUS O PISTOS KAI ALHQINOS H ARCH THS KTISEWS TOU QEOU
> [literally "...the beginning of the creation of God..."]
>
> Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These
> things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, **the beginning** of
> the creation of God;
>
> It seems that EN ARCH is Koine for "in the beginning" or "at first".
>
> Bill Ross
>
>
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