VSO in narrative
sbfnet at netvision.net.il
Mon Sep 11 03:49:34 EDT 2000
On 9/9/00 (VSO in narrative) Liz Fried wrote:
< snip >
>You have argued that bara) must be treated as a noun but this translation
>doesn't do it for me. This translation is no different (for me) from
>the one you excluded.
>Perhaps you mean "In (or At) the beginning of *a* God-created universe...."
>> i.e. When God began to
> > create heaven and earth [sentence 1],
>All your excellen arguments above contradict this
>translation to my way of thinking. You have now
>made "beginning" a finite verb. A translation is needed in which both
>"beginning" and "create" are nouns.
>> the earth was chaos and
> > void [sentence 2],
>I don't agree with this translation at all.
>Jeremiah refers (somewhere) to the midbar being tohu and bohu.
>It simply means devoid of life.
>darkness was on the surface of the abyss
>Not an abyss, just ocean, tehom.
>> [sentence 3], and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface
>> of the water [sentence 4]. Then God said [sentence 5] etc."
>I don't see these as separate sentences.
>They are all clauses dependent on verse 1.
>> Sentences 2-4 are coordinated one to the other; they are
>> main with regard to sentence 1, which depends on them. Taken
>> together, sentences 1-4 constitute a syntactic unit that depends
>> on sentence 5, which contains narrative wayyiqtol, "Then God
>> said." This wayyiqtol begins the mainline of the narrative. What
>> precedes gives the setting of the story.
>Yes, these all present the setting of the story *prior* to
>God's first action.
>> Semantically, Gen 1:1-2 means that when God created the
> > universe (this is the meaning of "heaven and earth"), He
>> proceeded step by step.
>Yes, but as you yourself have said, the first step is not taken until
>he speaks. Everything else is setting.
>> He first created a raw reality (if I can
>> put it this way), then He adorned it in its various parts. There
>> are of course similarities with the ANE creation stories, not the
>> least in the opening sentence: "When God began to create . . ." A
>But see, you are translating "reshit" as if it were a verb.
>I see you do this in order to have creatio ex nihilo.
>But that is not in the text, as you have shown.
>HOw about "At the beginning of God's creating the universe, it was barren
>> major difference is that the *creatio ex nihilo* seems to me
>> clearly indicated in the Biblical text--the creation was first
>> chaotic, then God ornamented it in different steps.
>This is not Rashi's interpretation.
>You quote him and Eban Ezra so willingly above, then you disagree
>with their conclusions.
> > Lengthy discussions on the *creatio ex nihilo* weere conducted mainly on
>> a philosophical basis by both Jewish and Christian scholars, esp.
>> in Medieval times. See, e.g., S. Kamin in _Scripta
>> Hierosolymitana_ 31 (1986) 91-132.
>Yes, on the basis of Greek philosophy.
Dear Liz Fried:
I do not think that you and I are not farway regarding the syntactic analysis and interpretation of Gen 1:1-3. Gen 1:1-2 comprises 4 sentences that depend on the following wayyiqtol in v. 3. The difference seems to be that I take vv. 1-2 as a complete structure that I called a "double sentence." Actually I prefer this analysis to the one underlying the JPS translation, "When God began to create heaven and earth the earth being unformed and void, with darknes over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water God said."
Maybe that Rashi's and Ibn exra's interpretation was different from mine although I do follow their syntactic analysis. Syntax and interpretation are separate things, aren't they.
Peace and all good.
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