veqatal and adverbs, and Genesis 1:1-3

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Mon Sep 4 17:59:16 EDT 2000

Ian, is it actually true that the oldest surviving text of Genesis 1:1 is
unpointed? Is there actually a surviving ancient unpointed manuscript of
this verse?

Even if there is a DSS fragment of this, it would not be as old as the
generally accepted dating (OK, I know it's not a proven dating) of the LXX
translation which witnesses to a finite verb here. Even if LXX is no older
than the oldest surviving MSS i.e. 4th century CE, it is a strong witness
that this word was understood as a finite verb long before the Masoretes
wrote the vowel points. The Vulgate also provides evidence on the same
lines, if I am not mistaken.

Anyway, it wasn't me but Rashi who proposed emendation of bara' to baro'. He
was presumably talking about emendation of the pointed text and the
recitation tradition which he knew. I don't know if he was aware of the LXX
or Vulgate reading or if he would have taken them into account. Maybe, given
the regrettable attitude of Christians to Jews in his time, he would have
deliberately distanced himself from their readings.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ian Hutchesson" <mc2499 at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Monday, September 04, 2000 5:52 PM
Subject: Re: veqatal and adverbs, and Genesis 1:1-3

> As the earliest texts are unpointed one has to conclude that bara' seems
> be only one interpretation. baro' is not an amendment of bara' but another
> interpretation.
> Ian

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