[b-hebrew] Gen 1:1-3 (was "Gen 1:2- And the earth . . .")

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Apr 14 20:07:55 EDT 2006

Dear Herman,

Please let me share this passage that suggests a parallel with Gen 1:1:

>A completely different viewpoint, but imho a very legitimate one
>(there's been a nice controversy about this on this forum before) is
>to reanalyse the syntax of Gen 1,1-3.
>I don't think we should go over the entire discussion, but I'll just
>give here a translation that represents the syntactic viewpoint of
>Rashi, Ibn Ezra, the Stone Chumash, quite a few scholars I know in
>Leiden, Alter's translation, etc.
>"In the beginning of God's creating the heavens and the earth - when
>the earth was astonishingly empty, with darkness upon the surface of
>the deep, and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the
>waters - God said,  "Let there be light," and there was light.

HH: The real question with the traditional reading ("In the beginning 
God created the heavens and the earth") is the absence of a definite 
article with "in" followed by "beginning":  BR)$YT.  It is not so 
much the use of the perfect verb that follows. However, there seems 
to be a good parallel for R)$YT being definite with a prefixed 
anarthrous (having no article) preposition in Isa 46:10, although the 
preposition is "from" rather than "in." Let me give the a couple of 
translations and then a transliteration of the first part of the 
verse, followed by a more literal rendering of that part:

NIV Is. 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient 
times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I 
will do all that I please.

KJV Is. 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient 
times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall 
stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isa 46:10a   MGYD  MR)$YT  )XRYT  WMQDM  )$R  L)-N(&W

Isa 46:10a  Declaring from (the) beginning (the) end and from ancient 
time what has not happened.

HH: The Hebrew seems to be able to understand a certain definiteness 
to R)$YT with a prefixed, anarthrous preposition. Couldn't this be 
applicable to Genesis 1:1 and the use of BR)$YT there?

Harold Holmyard

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