[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:1 R)$YT

Kevin P. Edgecomb kevin at bombaxo.com
Thu Apr 13 14:38:23 EDT 2006

Personally, I've always read BR)$YT as an adverbial phrase.  In translation to English, we can't really use a literal adverb "Beginningly,..." as it is simply awful English. On the other hand, "In the beginning..." is a fine enough gloss, since the alternatives have always seemed to focus on the indeterminancy of the timing for whatever other reasons, be they logical or related to parallelomania. "In a beginning..." is just wrong in English as well, leaving open other "beginnings," which is illogical.  One might go with "Firstly,..." but that's simply not on the traditional translational radar, so to speak.  Keeping some relation to the classic King James Version's phraseology seems expected, by including "beginning" somehow.  

Consequently, I've seen the whole issue related more to a matter of tradition on the part of translators and the particular limitations of English in this instance.  The Hebrew itself is perfectly clear.

Kevin P. Edgecomb
Berkeley, California

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