Is R)$YT even a "time" word?

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sat Mar 23 13:20:01 EST 2002

>Ian, I wonder whether your refusal to deal with the evidence of R'$YT
>without B- is that you already know that your argument would be
>destroyed by the example MR'$YT which Moon offered and which you have
>failed to deal with? So you arbitrarily restrict the evidence which you
>accept to rule out this example. But the point remains that R'$YT can be
>used in the absolute without further qualification, as Moon has
>demonstrated and you have not attempted to refute, and B- can be added
>to any noun, so it is impossible to argued that BR'$YT cannot be

mr'$yt is not a "time locative", while br'$yt is, 
ie it doesn't answer the question "when?". It is 
not at the beginning of a passage, while br'$yt is. 

Would you like to say that r'$yt without the b- has 
the same meaning as it would with the b- (excluding
the b- as it were)?

(Does the "feel" part of "feeling" mean the same as 
the free standing word? You can make a gerund of 
any verb.)

r'$yt without the b- can have different meanings, 
but would you think for example of first-fruits 
with the b-? Is there any doubt about the 
significance or r'$yt when b- is present?

You wonder if my case would be "destroyed" (sic) 
by Moon's example of mr'$yt. No, Peter, it would 
simply be less certain on a purely linguistic 
basis, but given 1) that it can explain the 
structure adequately without recourse to fudging 
with ellipsis at the beginning of a book, and 
2) the fact that its implications are corroborated 
by both literary structure and literary parallel 
with the Enuma Elish (see below), it seems quite 

>I don't see the relvance of Enuma Elish to the question of understanding
>the Hebrew text. Once we decide what the Hebrew means, it is then an
>interesting question of comparative religions to compare the texts. But
>it is simply illegitimate to presuppose at the stage of exegesis that
>texts from very different cultures say the same thing.

We deal with what can elucidate the passage. To 
understand an enigmatic text (or a text made 
enigmatic) one uses all the help available. The 
Babylonian text sheds light on what is actually 
going on in Gen 1:2 and shows when the creation 
began. This is in accord with the seven day 
structure of the narrative and with the control 
of the first clause(s) by br'$yt. Three very 
different sources of input point to the same 
conclusion: the first creative event in Genesis 
is in v.3, br'$yt because it governs the first 

The relevance of the Enuma Elish is that it is 
"evidence" for understanding the text.

(One could add that although the earth was thw 
wbhw in v.2 God says in Isa 45:18 of creating 
the earth, l'-thw br'h -- l$bt ycrh.)


"Face to face they came, Tiamat and Marduk, sage of the gods.
They engaged in combat, they closed for battle.
The Lord spread his net and made it encircle her,
To her face he dispatched the imhullu-wind which had been behind:
Tiamat opened her mouth to swallow it,
And he forced in the imhullu-wind so that she could not close her lips.
Fierce winds distended her belly;
Her insides were constipated and she stretched her mouth wide.
He shot an arrow which pierced her belly,
Split her down the middle and split her heart,
Vanquishing her and extinguishing her life.
He through down her corpse and stood on top of her.
When he had slain Tiamat, the leader,
He broke up her regiments; her assembly was scattered...
...He divided the monstrous shape and created marvels.
He sliced her in half like a fish for drying:
Half of her he put up to roof the sky,
Drew a bolt acorss and made a guard hold it.
Her waters he arranged so that they could not escape..."

       -Stephanie Dalley, Myths of Mesopotamia

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