The X+QATAL pattern and Gen 1.1

Moon-Ryul Jung moon at
Sat Mar 23 08:43:56 EST 2002

The example of MRESHIT (from the beginning), where RESHIT is used
as absolute, demonstrates:

(1) RESHIT in BRESHIT in Gen 1.1 is not necessarily in the construct
(2) Whether BRESHIT should be qualified by the following BARA clause
    should be decided on other grounds. 

[I read that Rashi and Ibn-Ezra based their new reading on the fact
that RESHIT in BRESHIT is in the construct state, which is in turn
based on the fact that all the other occurrences in HB of BERESHIT are in
the construct state being qualified by nouns in the absolute state. ]

It is also demonstrated by Ian that YOM can be qualified by a QATAL clause
without the relative pronoun such as SH or ASHER.  E.g. Ex 6.28, and there
are other such instances in BH.  So, I accept that RESHIT, which is
governed by temporal preposition B and thus is coerced to a "temporal
like "day" and "morning", can be qualified by a QATAL clause in principle.
 But the question is: is that what happens with Gen 1.1?

[The question whether BRESHIT is qualified by more than two clauses,
 which Ian also raised, is another issue, and should be postponed until
the current question is answered. This question is perhaps a matter of 
how we interpret "qualified by more than one clauses". Given 
BYOM+QATAL+X W+X+QATAL W+X+QOTEL WAYYQTOL+X, we can say that the two
W+X+QATAL clauses are parenthetical and provide some additional
information for the situation described by the first clause, OR BYOM is
qualified by three clauses. The first explanation looks better to me]

Hatav and Niccacci agree with Rashi's interpretation based on the usage of
 QATAL (not WQATAL). According to them, QATAL is used to mark a transition
to a subnarrative. The QATAL describes or retrieves some background
information relative to which the subnarrative starts.
[Hatav considers a direct speech as a special kind of subnarrative.]
But in the case of Gen 1.1, the QATAL clause cannot be considered to
introduce a subnarrative, because there is no main narrative yet.
They seem to believe that this problem goes away when we take the
QATAL clause in Gen 1.1 to qualify BRESHIT. 

At this point, we can raise two questions:

(1) Is this explanation of QATAL reliable?
(2) When there is no main narrative from which a subnarrative can
branch, can't we introduce the main narrative by using the same method 
we use when we introduce subnarratives?

Moon R. Jung
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea




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