BR)$YT, the continuing saga.

Lawrence May lgmay at mindspring.com
Sun Mar 31 15:03:50 EST 2002


Okay! okay!  I don't know the meaning of the word for BR)$yt.  Its meaning has been
perfectly obscured.  Now what is the Hebrew or Aramaic word for the Greek word eschatos
as in eschatology? That's the word I am looking for.  Lest it become
scatology, lets end it..  The discussion has not given me any more understanding of
Genesis 1:1.

Peter Kirk wrote:

> Ian, you seem to assume that my understanding of Genesis 1:1 is
> contradicted by Isaiah 45:18. This is a logical jump, and an inaccurate
> one, as during this thread I have never stated my understanding of the
> chapter as a whole and how this first verse fits into it. You have
> criticised me for this, and with some justification, but I have avoided
> this partly because I have wanted to focus attention on the text in
> question and not on the theological constructs which are inevitably
> linked with any broader understanding.
>
> But you have now put me into a position where I am obliged to consider
> the wider discourse level structure of the chapter. I should stress that
> my understanding of this is provisional and uncertain. But here is my
> that understanding:
>
> 1:1 is an introductory summary, or perhaps even a title, summarising the
> entire process of creation as described in 1:3-2:3.
>
> 1:2 is not apparently sequential to 1:1 (no WAYYIQTOL verbs) but
> describes the situation either at the beginning of or before the process
> of creation. (The X-QATAL verbs have their regular pluperfect force.) I
> might translate "Now the earth had been formless and empty...".
>
> 1:3, with the first WAYYIQTOL verbs, gives the first events of creation,
> which took place when the situation was still as described in 1:2. This
> is not sequential to 1:1 but the first of a series of steps (finishing
> at 2:3) which were summarised in 1:1.
>
> You will note that I am not actually talking about creation ex nihilo
> here, but rather describing a process of creation from pre-existing
> chaos. I find this theologically and philosophically difficult as I am
> also one of those influenced by Greek philosophy and theology dependent
> on it. But I am forced to agree with you, Ian, that the Hebrew text does
> not describe creation ex nihilo (although LXX probably does).
>
> But I stand by my grammatical parsing of 1:1 as a single finite clause,
> consisting of B- plus absolute noun as an adverb phrase of time,
> followed by finite verb, subject, and complex object.
>
> Peter Kirk
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at mclink.it]
> > Sent: 30 March 2002 23:09
> > To: Biblical Hebrew
> > Subject: BR)$YT, the continuing saga.
> >
> > >Ian, I am unable to date LXX, just as you are, because I do not rely
> on
> > >the letter of Aristeas and the dating implied there.
> >
> > I am able to restrict the date because of the DSS material.
> > LXX Genesis did not have a Vorlage in Hebrew while the
> > other pentateuchal books did. This means that LXX Genesis
> > did come from an already developed tradition, so it did not
> > exist before 63 BCE.
> >
> > Dating is always an important issue (I note though that you
> > did avoid the subject through caution).
> >
> > >My point in quoting translations is that translations are good
> evidence
> > >for how the translators understood their Vorlage. Full stop.
> >
> > This is why I brought in the DSS. There was no LXX Hebrew
> > Vorlage for Genesis. All 24 fragmentary copies are
> > basically MT with slight variations.
> >
> > >Ian, you wrote "The simple understanding known from antiquity, ie
> that
> > >one should read br'$yt in Genesis 1:1 as "at the beginning of" with a
> > >following clause being related in the construct state,...". What is
> your
> > >evidence that this understanding was known from antiquity, by which I
> > >understand you as referring to before the time of Rashi? What
> securely
> > >dateable documents can you quote?
> >
> > Isaiah 45:18 when God said l'-thw br'h will do.
> >
> > >I have several documents, including
> > >the Vulgate which is securely dated to the 4th century CE and LXX
> which
> > >must be older, which witness that my understanding was known from
> > >antiquity. (Would you like me to start researching the Church Fathers
> > >for their understandings and their early quotes from LXX, old Latin,
> > >Syriac etc etc?)
> >
> > If you don't think that the creation in LXX Gen 1:1
> > was punctiliar, then was it an ingressive aorist?
> >
> > >And that is all I am trying to argue at this stage of
> > >the discussion (having realised that it is pointless, and annoying to
> > >other list members, to repeat my earlier points despite you
> continuing
> > >to bring up these issues).
> >
> > I have attempted to keep the issues in sight, whereas
> > I do feel that you have either trivialised (Enuma Elish)
> > or ignored (the 6-day literary structure) them.
> >
> > >And in all of this I have made no reference to my personal views on
> > >creation, and certainly not to any theories of the world being
> returned
> > >to chaos after and initial creation.
> >
> > I am trying to elicit such a view based on textual
> > evidence so as to see how you can make such a view
> > coherent.
> >
> >
> > Ian
> >
>
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