veqatal and adverbs, and Genesis 1:1-3

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Mon Sep 4 21:02:49 EDT 2000

At 22.59 04/09/00 +0100, Peter Kirk wrote:
>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?

To my knowledge the only DSS frag which has been found of the Gen1 creation
account is of 1:18-21 in 1Q1. As it is part of that passage its conventions
should reflect the passage as a whole. (One could of course propose that
1:1 was written later, but I wouldn't think that has much going for it --
unless one could argue strongly for the heading interpretation of 1:1-2 for
some reason.)

>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. 

Was Genesis considered part of the law at the stage when pseudo-Aristeas
attributes the translation of the law to the early Ptolemaic period? Given
the separate circulation of the pentateuchal books at Qumran I would think

As to the actual date of the LXX translation, that is extremely difficult
to pin down.

>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 LXX was fundamentally preserved through the Christian tradition.

>The Vulgate also provides evidence on the same
>lines, if I am not mistaken.

Was the Vulgate translated without reference to the LXX version?

>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. 

This sounds correct. However, one does not propose an emendation of what
one considers to be the original, but of a text that one considers to have
become corrupted (though such consideration is no reflection on whether the
text is actually corrupted or not).

>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.

This may be so.


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