[b-hebrew] Genesis 3:15 and order of ideas
Harold R. Holmyard III
hholmyard at ont.com
Wed Dec 22 14:52:13 EST 2004
>On 12/22/04 6:38 AM, "Harold R. Holmyard III" <hholmyard at ont.com> wrote:
>> What makes me
>> sympathetic with Doug's idea is that a man obviously deposits seed.
>> Since ancients could see that, whether they understood anything about
>> an egg would not be so important. They would have seen that the man
>> planted seed in the woman. So the Hiphil of ZR( may have been a term
>> to indicate that this seed germinated.
>Yet our ideas about what "ancients ... would have seen" is not a solid basis
>on which to make philological claims.
HH: I did not make my argument on the basis of
some questionable modern idea. I made on the
basis of what their experience was. They would
have seen with their eyes that male seed went
> Are there any _attested_ uses of the
>verb ZR( taking a masculine subject and meaning "to impregnate"? I can't
>find any in the Tanakh. Am I missing them?
HH: We're dealing with this topic because that
information is not in the Tanakh. This fact does
not mean that one cannot draw conclusions about
basic realities of life and how they impinge on
the use of a word. I did not say I was right. I
said that I was sympathetic with Doug's idea, and
in fact both the lexicons and even Moshe in his
translation agrees with Doug.
HH: It is obvious that the wording in Lev 12:2 is
similar to many places in the OT when it says
that a woman became pregnant and gave birth. here
is just a sample in the first book of the Bible:
Gen. 29:33 ¶ She conceived again, and when she
gave birth to a son she said, "Because the LORD
heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one
too." So she named him Simeon.
Gen. 29:34 ¶ Again she conceived, and when she
gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my
husband will become attached to me, because I
have borne him three sons." So he was named Levi.
Gen. 29:35 ¶ She conceived again, and when she
gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will
praise the LORD." So she named him Judah. Then
she stopped having children.
Gen. 30:7 ¶ Rachel's servant Bilhah conceived
again and bore Jacob a second son.
Gen. 30:19 ¶ Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son.
Gen. 38:4 She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan.
HH: The ancients were fully aware of the role of male semen in conception:
Gen. 38:8 ¶ Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with
your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her
as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your
Gen. 38:9 But Onan knew that the offspring would
not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's
wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep
from producing offspring for his brother.
HH: I've already argued that the Hiphil of ZR( in
Lev 12:2 is a functional word looking forward to
giving birth and probably functioning like HRH in
the texts above. Otherwise, you have to assume
that the text is speaking of simply producing
eggs, which Peter says was an unknown reality
until the nineteenth century. Or you have to
imagine some other strange scenario. Why not just
assume that the Hiphil in ZR( speaks of
conception, which the ancients understood to
involve male seed?
>R. Christopher Heard
>Assistant Professor of Religion
>Armstrong Fellow in Religion
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