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

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Wed Mar 27 02:55:19 EST 2002

No, LXX is not useless! You make the decisive point yourself: "They were
simply translating what was before them". What was before them (in their
reading tradition) was BARA' not BERO'. And they, as Hebrew speakers of
the 2nd-3rd century BCE (at least that seems to be the consensus
dating), understood BERE'SHIT BARA' 'ELOHIM as "In the beginning God
created..." not "In the beginning of God creating...". We have the
testimony there of Hebrew speakers from long before the time of Rashi.

The Vulgate is similarly useful, for Jerome translated from Hebrew with
the help of Hebrew speakers and so his translation is based on their 4th
century CE understanding of Hebrew, also well before Rashi. Does anyone
have the Vulgate text available to check?

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jason A. Hare [mailto:language_lover64801 at]
> Sent: 26 March 2002 21:38
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: RE: Is R)$YT even a "time" word?
> Peter Kirk wrote:
> > The LXX translators clearly understood BERESHIT as EN ARCHi, "in the
> > beginning", in an absolute sense. It is possible that the aorist has
> > inceptive sense here, so "In the beginning God began to create the
> > heavens and the earth". I have no quarrel with that understanding of
> > Greek, though I doubt if the Hebrew can mean that. But the Greek
> > not mean "In the beginning of God's creating...", the sentence
> > is quite different and EN ARCHi is absolute and unqualified.
> I'm just going to run with this, not really wanting to enter into a
> argument.
> First, I agree that the LXX can have the inceptive quality, though
> inceptive meaning is more commonly expressed with the imperfect (from
> I recall).  I don't know that such is the intended meaning of the LXX
> translators, however.  I'm sure it was a general (undefined = aorist)
> tense, meant to indicate the undefined nature of the Hebrew finite
> BFRF) [bara] that they were dealing with.  In other words, EPOIHSEN =
> BFRF) [bara].  They were simply translating what was before them, not
> discussing the syntactical function of the possible construct nature
> B.:R")$IYT [bereishit] -- and hence the requiring of a
> "object": B.:RO) [bero].  They didn't care so much about the
> of the form as they did about carrying over what they saw.
> My point?  The LXX is useless in this discussion.  It does not
> the true possibilities of the Hebrew text.
> Regards,
> Jason
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