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

Jason A. Hare language_lover64801 at
Tue Mar 26 13:37:51 EST 2002

Peter Kirk wrote:
> The LXX translators clearly understood BERESHIT as EN ARCHi, "in the
> beginning", in an absolute sense. It is possible that the aorist has an
> inceptive sense here, so "In the beginning God began to create the
> heavens and the earth". I have no quarrel with that understanding of the
> Greek, though I doubt if the Hebrew can mean that. But the Greek does
> not mean "In the beginning of God's creating...", the sentence structure
> is quite different and EN ARCHi is absolute and unqualified.

I'm just going to run with this, not really wanting to enter into a long

First, I agree that the LXX can have the inceptive quality, though
inceptive meaning is more commonly expressed with the imperfect (from what
I recall).  I don't know that such is the intended meaning of the LXX
translators, however.  I'm sure it was a general (undefined = aorist) past
tense, meant to indicate the undefined nature of the Hebrew finite verb
BFRF) [bara] that they were dealing with.  In other words, EPOIHSEN =
BFRF) [bara].  They were simply translating what was before them, not
discussing the syntactical function of the possible construct nature of
B.:R")$IYT [bereishit] -- and hence the requiring of a substantive-like
"object": B.:RO) [bero].  They didn't care so much about the explanation
of the form as they did about carrying over what they saw.

My point?  The LXX is useless in this discussion.  It does not illustrate
the true possibilities of the Hebrew text.


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