Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sat Mar 16 15:56:36 EST 2002

>You looked at bereshit in isolation first, and I didn't contest your

This is something I needed to hear, if it means 
that you grant that the relationship I proposed 
between br'$yt and the following clause is an 
acceptable interpretation -- at least before 
looking at a wider context.

Another thing which I have put forward a number 
of times is that the first act of creation in 
the six days is the creation of light which 
started the first day, as anything created 
before would nullify the six days of creation 
with the seventh of rest. Should I take your not 
contesting this as tacit acceptance?

>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

Grin. (Or groan!)

I have no doubt that you do, but that was 
not the reason: I needed something tangible 
about the reasonability of the reading of 
Gen 1:1 I put to you.

You merely pass over all the more complex 
subordinate clauses, because you require 
that the complex subordinate clause in this 
case must be governed by a time phrase of 
the type b-noun, when you have already 
argued that the corpus is not necessarily 
very wide. When I pointed out that ky 
subordinates complex clauses, for some 
reason you thought that irrelevant, but 
what interests us is the subordination of 
complex clause structures, so it is still 
relevant in my eyes and I'm at loss to 
understand why you exclude it.

However, I did note that bywm governed many 
subordinate clauses in Ecc 12:3, so 
complexity of the subordination is not a 
problem either, so while you could point to 
another translation of Num 7:1, what about 
Ecc 12:3?

>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, 

And this is an anaphoric reference, of which I talked 
about in a previous post, indicating a qualification 
already implied. It goes back to the day when the 
angel visited her, when her husband wasn't present.
(There is no possibility of an anaphora at the 
beginning of a book.)

>but BEYOM AXER "on another
>day" is common, and so are phrases like BAYYOM HAXAMISHI and BAYYOM
>HAHU' - these are all absolute nouns. 

These are qualified, not by a clause, but by 'xr or 

>Similarly with SHANA "year" and
>XODESH "month". A lot more examples than you can1 find, I'm sure.

Perhaps I wasn't clear at the start, but I was 
talking about unqualified time phrases as you 
would in Gen 1:1, not simply the fact that you 
can find time phrases in the absolute.

Rashi's argument was that the term br'$yt needed 
qualification and I have shown that these time 
phrases are qualified either with a subordinate 
clause, as is most of the examples with bywm, or 
genitives, or adjectives, or anaphora. None of 
these categories applies to your interpretation 
of br'$yt in Gen 1:1. There can be no ellipsis 
for the same reason.

>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.

When you accept that all examples of br'$yt are 
qualified, and that the majority of exemplars of 
bywm, an analogous structure, govern subordinate 
clauses and the rest are qualified in other ways, 
as is the case with l`t, at the time, 


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