[b-hebrew] Re: Genesis 1:6-7, 8:1, Waters Above and Below

Noam Eitan neitian at nyc.rr.com
Mon Jun 14 20:49:35 EDT 2004

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dora Smith" <villandra at austin.rr.com>
To: <david.kimbrough at charter.net>; <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 6:57 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Re: Genesis 1:6-7, 8:1, Waters Above and Below

>   I found out on the Internet last night that the most common opinion was
> that the raqiya is a thin, "hammered out" layer of - the atmosphere!

Cassuto quotes in this context Ex 39:3, "they hammered out sheets of gold".
The raqiya (a thin, "hammered out" layer) was introduced in the midst of the
layer of water, and divided it into upper and lower waters. According to
Cassuto the raqiya is not the atmosphere. (They probably did not have a
concept of a separate entity between the earth and the sky.)  The text does
not explain how the space between the raqiya and earth was created. It says,
simply, that raqiya is what we call 'shamayim' (sky). The new JPS follows
this logic: "God made an expanse, and it separated the water which was below
the expanse from the water which was above the expanse. And it was so. God
called the expanse Sky."

> Do the parallels also exist in other stories of the flood, particularly
> those of Ugarit and northern Syria that are closest to teh Biblical story?

Cassuto discusses parallels with the Babylonian creation story. Marduk
overcame Taemat (tehom), the sea goddess, and cut her corpse horizontally
into two halves, the top became the sky, the bottom, earth.

BTW - how about the etymology of shamayim: sham-mayim (water-there) - does
it have any validity, or is it a zwei Groschen etymology?
Noam Eitan, Brooklyn, NY

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