Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Fri Mar 15 11:19:55 EST 2002

You looked at bereshit in isolation first, and I didn't contest your
results. We then both started looking at the context, which is quite
proper. Only later did you start complaining about me looking at the
context. Could it be that you realised that I understood it better than

If you can demonstrate that construct + sequence of clauses is possible
by looking at other time nouns, I can equally demonstrate that bereshit
can be an absolute by looking at other time nouns. As you pointed out,
BARISHONA is common as "first" in an absolute sense. BAYYOM alone is
actually rare but is found at Judges 13:10, but BEYOM AXER "on another
day" is common, and so are phrases like BAYYOM HAXAMISHI and BAYYOM
HAHU' - these are all absolute nouns. Similarly with SHANA "year" and
XODESH "month". A lot more examples than you can find, I'm sure.

Both constructions are common (one more than the other) with time nouns
other than RESHIT. Neither is found with RESHIT except in Gen 1:1. The
decision between the two needs to be taken on other grounds.

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at]
> Sent: 15 March 2002 12:24
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: bereshit
> >No, your method here is fundamentally flawed. It is a simple
> >error to hold that a word or phrase can be understood apart from its
> >context and that putting it into context is secondary.
> You are misrepresenting the situation. Nobody is
> eliminating the context. The normal procedure in
> analysis is to look at the parts first, not bypass
> them.
> >I have always accepted your reading as a possible one, but consider
> >my one is preferable on the balance of probabilities. I was never
> >arguing more than that, and hoping that you would recognise that my
> >reading is also a possible one.
> I don't think you have argued the probabilities.
> Perhaps it is my problem, but I don't think your
> reading can be justified. I have not seen you do
> so, other than by saying that an absolute is
> possible, which given the particular phrase needs
> to be demonstrated, given all the other time
> phrases I've already cited, I don't see you doing.
> This is one reason why I have attempted to get
> some response from you on the subject.
> Ian
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