Construct + Finite = Relative?

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Thu Sep 14 20:02:45 EDT 2000

At 08.32 14/09/00 +0300, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum wrote:
>  On Tue, 12 Sep 2000 Ian Hutchesson wrote:
>	< snip >
>>If Gen1:1-2 is in fact a heading, it doesn't need to be syntactically
>>hooked onto Gen1:3. (I'm only proposing one possible understanding of
>>Gen1:1-2, not advocating it.) However, I think it is clear that the writer
>>intended v3 to be understood as the *first* act of creation.
>Dear Ian Hutschesson:
>	1) IMO Gen 1:1-2 does need be syntactically hooked onto Gen 
>1:3 because it is an offline construction, or background (sfondo, in 
>Italian). It is grammatically independent because it is not governed 
>by any subordinating conjunction--such as kî, 'im, ka'a$er, etc.--; 
>however it is syntactically dependent because an offline sentence 
>cannot stand alone in a text; e.g. in italiano: Io camminavo per la 
>strada, just as in English: I was walking on the road, cannot remain 
>alone, it needs to rely on a passato remoto (simple past) verb, which 
>in Italian (English) expresses mainline in historical narrative. This 
>applies even though that sentence is not grammatically dependent as 
>is, e.g., Mentre camminavo per la strada, While I was walking on the 

How then would you explain the various headings referring to David in the
psalms, using b- to locate the "context" of the psalm at a particular time
but leaving the time reference dangling? There doesn't seem to be the
necessaity to attach them to a finite clause. (Pss 56, 57, 63 etc.)

>>But we are not -- as I understand it -- dealing with "the adornment of
>>heaven and earth", but with a blow-by-blow description of the creation of
>>the constituents, day & night, sky and sea, land, etc.
>	< . . . >
>>If you accept that the phrase "heaven and earth" means "universe", can you
>>separate the parts of the phrase and use each part such that they have
>>separate significance? If so, then it would seem you will also have to
>>argue that according to 1:10 the earth was created a second time. I take
>>v10 as intending that the actual creation of the earth (in the literal
>>sense of 'rc) took place on the third day (just as vv7-8 indicate the
>>actual creation of the heavens).
>>I accept the notion that 't h$mym w't h'rc indicates "universe", but I
>>don't see that one can argue either that the 'rc of v2 represents an earth
>>created in v1 (which could merely be part of a general heading for which v2
>>is extra starting information), or that v1 is an antecedent of v2.
>	2) Besides syntax, interpretation is a major problem in Gen 
>1:1-2. On the one side, "heaven and earth" seem to be used in v. 1 as 
>polar terms to indicate the whole of creation (merismus). On the 
>other side, in v. 2 and following the two terms are taken up again in 
>their meaning according to the current use of each term. Note, BTW, 
>that they are taken up again in reverse order: heaven and earth (v. 
>1), earth (v. 2), heaven (v. 8).

(I don't think so. V2 is an anomaly: there is no creation in v2! Heaven is
created in v8, but then the earth is created in vv9-10 -- the expected order.)

>	I would understand Gen 1:1 ff. as follows--but we are really 
>in acque troppo profonde (in waters too deep), as you say--among 
>myth, literary convention, old conception of the universe, etc.
>At the beginning of the creation of cosmos, what was commonly called 
>*'erec* was *tohû wabohû*; it was a *tehôm* covered with *mayim*; 
>over it there was *xo$ek* 

(I don't understand where you get the idea that the text indicates that thm
was covered with mym. Perhaps I've missed something here.)

>and the hovering spirit of God. 

(The parallel with the Enuma Elish I think should favour rwx being
interpreted as wind, wouldn't you think? It was after all this wind which
allowed Marduk to divide Tiamat and start his creation.)

>different acts of creation (indicated with jussive yiqtol forms, 
>e.g., yehî, and narrative wayyiqtol, e.g. wayehî) are presented as a 
>series of separation and adornment.

(I must admit that I find it more illustrative to see a little further that
the separation is moving out of the chaos that existed and adornment seems
strange when I would have thought that it was populating or filling the
emptiness. Is it a coincidence that the two series of three days are in
parallel? -- first the ordering of thw then the eradicating of the bhw.)

>	First light is made and day is separated from night; then the 
>ky is made to separate the waters above from the waters beneath; then 
>the waters beneath are gathered together so that the earth is made to 
>appear--i.e., it is not really created a second time.
>	And so on, until the end of the first text, or pericope, of 
>the Bible, which is represented IMO by Gen 2:4. In fact this verse 
>takes up again the main terms of 1:1: heaven and earth (in reverse 
>order) and the verb create. Add that 2:4 shows such a compact 
>construction chiastically arranged in its two parts that I would 
>never dare to divide it in two parts as is done by the documentaty 
>hypothesis, wich assigns the two parts to different sources.

I must admit that I am now a little wary of the separation as well.


There has been something that has been bothering me about thw wbhw for
quite some time now: what does one think the relationship between thw and
thm[wt] as well as bhw and bhmwt might be, if any?

>Grazie per l'attenzione. Pace e bene.

Grazie per la risposta utile ed interessante!

Distinti saluti,


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