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

Paul Zellmer pzellmer at
Fri Mar 29 23:43:23 EST 2002

Sorry, Ian, but you're wrong again.  I have read Rashi.  I have looked at
the JPS.  I recognize that both take the position of BR) being infinitive
construct.  Please don't jump to conclusions of other's experiences.

Do you really think that we don't understand your positions?  "Where you are
coming from" is a common English idiom that speaks of one's rationale.

On the other hand, you have chosen to ignore very clear explanations on my
part of the literary structure of the first few verses of chapter 1, which
are consistent with the literary structures throughout Hebrew prose and do
not require a complex object, much less a complex clause structure.  And
your follow-on post concerning the creation or non-creation of chaos appears
to ignore a very clear statement on my part that I agree that Genesis does
not address this.  Are you really asking for a faith statement from me?
That would have to be the only way that I could answer that post.

Goodbye, Ian.

Paul Zellmer

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at]
> Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 11:23 PM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Is R)$YT even a "time" word?
> >> The simple understanding known from antiquity, ie that one
> >> should read br'$yt in Genesis 1:1 as "at the beginning of"
> >> with a following clause being related in the construct
> >> state, does not create any need for fiddling the text to
> >> explain the creation by God of chaos. It was just there as
> >> was darkness and the waters and God's first act in his
> >> creation was the creation of light.
> >>
> >Were this the "simple understanding known from antiquity", we
> would not see
> >the vast majority of those who even address the question,
> No, Paul. You are not dealing with the heavy layer of eisegesis
> placed on top of the ancient text. Isaiah showed the ancient
> interpretation, as did Wisdom.
> >Furthermore, were this the "simple understanding known from
> >antiquity," its main and sole real proponent of this recent
> discussion would
> >not be one who has admitted a limited understanding of Biblical
> Hebrew, and
> >started the whole discussion asking if his proposition had any merit.
> Paul, read Rashi. Read the latest JPS translation of Genesis.
> Obviously you have read neither.
> >> The refusal to see the similarities between the Babylonian
> >> creation account, Enuma Elish, and Genesis 1 does not
> >> reflect a lack of relationship between them, merely that the
> >> refusal is unwarranted. There are linguistic connections as
> >> well as story elements that make the similarities evident.
> >> (This is not to say in any way what the relationship between
> >> the accounts is.) I have posted a translation of some of the
> >> relevant material earlier.
> >
> >So the Babylonians based their mythology on the true creation
> story that was
> >just as likely preserved orally and written down later in the Hebrew!
> You what?
> >Is it
> >surprising that the Babylonians, which come from the same area as the
> >Hebrews originated, might have heard the same creation story, and worked
> >that story in to advocate their own gods?
> You need to explain why the content of v2 is there. I
> don't think you can give a coherent exegesis of v2. The
> Babylonian version seems to be dealing with something to
> do with what we don't have clearly in v2.
> >And even if there is a common
> >source, how does the way that the Babylonian account starts have
> any impact
> >on how the Hebrew language puts it?
> It's not language, Paul. It's motifs.
> >Ian, even though I returned on Wednesday as planned, I saw nothing new
> >concerning this thread and a lot of calls for it to stop, so I
> chose not to
> >even respond again to your question repeated last Saturday, the one about
> >whether BR)$YT "governs" clauses, whether simple or complex.  I
> have already
> >stated my position, that I see no support for it doing so, and I resented
> >your badgering on this issue.  But let me state one more time,
> so that you
> >are spared from looking back through old messages:  I find no other cases
> >where the head of any construct chain which starts with BR)$YT is ever
> >anything but an absolute noun, I reject your comparisons to the
> usages with
> >YWM and )T, so I see no possibility that the complex form can exist.
> This has only been an arbitrary "I don't like it". I have
> shown numerous examples of the two time phrases taking
> clauses and I gave two with multiple clauses. You haven't
> dealt with the data. You have just said that br'$yt is not
> like the other two, while I showed that its usage was like
> bywm with the only difference being that there is no
> exemplar of br'$yt taking a clause, if Gen 1:1 is not one.
> >I would grant the possibility, however slight, that the
> Masorites may have
> >gotten the pronunciation wrong and BR) was actually an
> infinitive complex.
> >But the LXX (and the Vulgate) translations speak against that
> possibility,
> >because those folk must have gotten it wrong as well.
> Tell me, Paul, is epoihsen not an ingressive (or inceptive)
> aorist? How do you explain the relationship between the
> creative acts of the main part of Gen 1 with the creation
> mentioned in Gen 1:1 if epoihsen is not an ingressive aorist?
> In general, Paul, how do you see the overall structure of
> Genesis one? How does Gen 1:1 relate to the rest of the
> chapter?
> You, like Peter, are notably silent about the literary
> structure of the chapter with its first creative act in v3.
> >Your arguments are mere repeats of arguments put forth on this list and
> >other forums in the past, and they have not succeeded in swaying the
> >scholars from the majority position.  And for the last few weeks, you've
> >even been repeating yourself, sir.  I really think we all know
> well by now
> >from where you are coming.  Why don't you let us decide if
> you've convinced
> >us or not.
> Where might that be Paul?
> Ian

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