[b-hebrew] gen 1:2

Dora Smith villandra at austin.rr.com
Sat Jun 5 17:05:34 EDT 2004

Lord, trying to discuss language and history on a philosophical list!  Did
you notice I didn't join the discussions about Hyksos and Exodus and all
that?   My favorite subject, but not the way you guys do it!

For Tohu (according to the Ancient Hebrew Research Center's Hebrew lessons),
"The root word here is to, meaning "Empty".  By adding the letter "v" to the
root, a noun derivative is formed meaning "empty" or "void".

For uvohu; "The first letter, 'vav, is the prefix meaning "and" and is used
to connect the following word with the previous word.

The root word is "bh", meaning,  "to fill a void".  A common Hebrew word
also derived from this root is "bo'", and is usually translated as "come" or
"go".   The English translations for this word imply movementin a certain
direction but teh Hebrew meaning of the word is to "fill a void" and can be
either here (come) or there (go).

The v added after teh root forms a noun deriviative meaning "void".

There are two styles of poetry seen in the passages we have looked at thus
far (Genesis 1.1 and 1.2).  The first is the use of similar sounding words
together such as we see with this word and the previous word.  "tohu
v'vohu".  The other is called parallelism where one idea is expressed in two
separate ways.  The first sentence we looked at said that "God filled the
sky and the land" while this sentence says that "the land was unfilled (a
void).  "

So the poetic device would literally translate as an empty/ void and a void
that is empty.    Formless does not appear in the discussion, but makes the
best sense in context, where God makes sense of the universe by giving it
form.     Empty also works.   Clearly a literal translation is not possible.

Dora Smith
Austin, Texas
villandra at austin.rr.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
To: "Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 12:26 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] gen 1:2

> Dear Dora:
> Where is the term "formless void"? We already covered this in previous
discussions, whereby we split along philosophical presuppositions. I
personally say that it means "lifeless and still (the stillness of empty of
life)" but others say it has other meanings.
> Karl W. Randolph.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dora Smith" <villandra at austin.rr.com>\
> > PS - The reason for the greatly differing translations of the first
> > of Genesis is clearly lack of clarity of what the words mean,
> > concepts (like deep sea), the meaning of which is lost on many or all
> > scholars, and terms like the two words for formless void that do not
> > translate into English.   One has to come up with approximate English
> > concepts.
> > .
> > Yours,
> > Dora Smith
> > Austin, Texas
> > villandra at austin.rr.com
> --
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