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

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Mon Mar 25 02:16:54 EST 2002


>Ian, thanks for sharing the passage from Enuma Elish which makes clear
>how irrelevant this is. There is a lot in it which is clearly not in
>Genesis, and apparently vice versa. So why can they not differ also on
>"in the beginning"?

I am impressed that you cannot see the clear 
parallels, but of course this should only be 
obvious, when you don't read the text. Deal 
with the fact that it is talking of the same 
phenomenon with basically the same name, ie 
tiamat/tehom at the beginning of creation, 
who is defeated through the use of a divine 
wind and upon the defeat and death of the 
waters, the god separates the remains lifting 
half above the sky and creating the world as 
it is from the rest. So, if you cannot see 
the plain similarities, it has more to do 
with you than the text.

>B- in BERESHIT should be taken as a preposition, a separate word. 

Just as be in behind, right? Look at how bywm is 
used and see that it is not simply dealing with 
the idea of a literal day, but is a time phrase 
in its own right, just as br'$yt is.

>As
>such, we can generally presume initially that the meaning of B- plus
>RESHIT is derived from those of B- and RESHIT separately. 

This is linguistic theory of the 18th century. 
However, you can get more specific meaning from 
the combination of the words than what you get 
from the parts.

>Of course
>there may be special idiomatic usages where the meaning is not so simply
>derived, but I have seen no evidence of such idiomatic usage. We just
>need to take RESHIT in the sense "beginning" rather than the sense
>"first-fruits", and we are there.

You get that clearly from the context of b-.

>On what basis do you say that I am fudging anything with ellipsis at the
>beginning of the book? I don't see any ellipsis in my interpretation,
>just a use of unqualified RESHIT to mean "the very beginning of time"

This is totally unsupported conjecture with only the 
weight of nearly two millenia of unsupported acceptance 
of such an idea. The text says at least "at the 
beginning" of what for me the text seems clear because 
it says of what. For you, you insert "of time" and as 
you do, it can only be an ellipsis. You cling to one 
poetic use of r'$yt as though it were a guarantee that 
at least there is no necessary reason for your 
unsupported view to be outrightly wrong.

>just as in the MERESHIT example and in the LXX etc translation of
>Genesis 1:1.
>
>I still fail to see any objection to my interpretation other than one
>based on a philosophical rejection of the concept of creation ex nihilo.

Your "interpretation" is pure eisegesis from the 
Greek philosophical influence in early Christianity. 

It has nothing to do with the text. It has no 
precursor. It has no support in comparative 
accounts. It has no support within early Jewish 
literature. It does not come from the text, but is 
*evidently* imported for tendentious reasons.


Ian





More information about the b-hebrew mailing list