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

Bill Burks rwburks at
Fri Mar 29 22:19:08 EST 2002


Jerome who did the Vulgate, studied carefully the Hebrew language before he translated
the sense of what the Hebrew said.  The translatiors of  the LXX  who translated the
portions of the Torah also tried to transfer the sense of the Hebrew text they had in
front of them into the Greek language.  Both Jerome and the writers of the LXX lived in
a time much closer to the origin of the text than we. According to Tov in his work on
Textual Criticism said that, the LXX and Masoretic text came from Hebrew texts that
were different but both valid texts.  Both the LXX and Masoretic texts according to Tov
have Hebrew texts found at Qumron which support their readings.  The Vulgate was most
likely translated from the same family of texts which became the Masoretic texts.  Both
the Masoretic text and some of the translations like the Vulgate and LXX bear witness
to texts which developed in the past before our present text was established.

Appealling to the Vulgate does for me show interest in the Hebrew text and its
background, since the current accepted Hebrew text and the Vulgate represent the
Hebrew texts of an earlier era.


Bill Burks

> >Thanks to all who sent me the Vulgate text. I think this demonstrates
> >(for what it's worth) that the Hebrew was understood in the 4th century
> >CE, by Jerome and the Jews of Bethlehem who helped him, in the sense "In
> >the beginning God created..."
> Peter doesn't seem to me to be interested in the Hebrew
> text or its background. He somehow imagines that the world
> was created out of nothing and either created as chaos or
> returned to chaos.
> It is a little difficult to understand anyone wanting to
> assume God create chaos, especially when Isa 45:18 says
> specifically that God did not create the world as chaos.
> One then has to postulate that something must have happened
> between vv 1 & 2 to transform God's creation into chaos and
> we have all sorts of weird and wonderful speculations.
> Just because some early fathers were also trained in Greek
> philosophy doesn't mean that we must necessarily transform
> a relatively straight-forward text into a piece of Greek
> sophistry.
> Peter is unable to date the translation of the LXX Genesis
> text. He seems to believe those who make a tendentious
> reading of Aristeas, who only talks about the law. He should
> note that there were no text tradition variations of Genesis
> from Qumran, while there were for the other pentateuchal
> books, ie there are LXX Hebrew versions of the others but
> not for Genesis. There is no Hebrew Vorlage for LXX Genesis,
> while there is for the other four pentateuchal books. There
> is in fact nothing to support a LXX translation of Genesis
> before the beginning of Christianity. So relying on LXX (or
> Vulgate) is interesting but irrelevant to the Hebrew text of
> Genesis 1:1-3.
> The simple understanding known from antiquity, ie that one
> should read br'$yt in Genesis 1:1 as "at the beginning of"
> with a following clause being related in the construct
> state, does not create any need for fiddling the text to
> explain the creation by God of chaos. It was just there as
> was darkness and the waters and God's first act in his
> creation was the creation of light.
> This "at the beginning of" is reflective of all known uses
> of br'$yt in the OT/HB. I have shown that there are
> numerous examples of time phrases such as bywm and b`t which
> "govern" clauses, so there is nothing strange in the syntax
> of the reading. In fact there are no precedents to suggest
> that br'$yt could be read as anything else. One does not
> expect to find an ellipsis at the beginning of a book. (Only
> when one doesn't fully understand does one get a suggestion
> of ellipsis, as in the LXX translation.)
> The literary creation is based on the institution of the
> sabbath day of rest. There are six days of creation at the
> end of which God rests. Putting something before the first
> day entails rendering the literary structure of the creation
> useless. Each day starts with God saying something as part
> of a structural formula for the day. Day one starts with God
> saying "Let there be light!" To place any creation before
> that point seems not to understand what is going on in the
> account as a whole. Peter has consistently refused to deal
> with the literary structure of Genesis 1.
> 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.
> To impose creatio ex nihilo on the creation in Gen 1, is to
> decide that the obvious reading cannot be correct. It is to
> decide that a grammatical analysis of the structure not
> requiring ellipsis must be overlooked. It is to decide that
> the comparable literature cannot be looked at. It is to
> decide that the literary structure of Gen 1 must not have
> relevance. Finally it is to decide that when Isaiah has God
> say that he didn't create a chaotic world, that God didn't
> really mean it.
> Ian
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