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

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Sat Apr 15 09:38:57 EDT 2006

Peter Kirk wrote:

> On 15/04/2006 01:07, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:
>> ...
>> 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)$YT. ...
> It is also worth noting that this definite article would be marked 
> only in the subtleties of vowel pointing, with qamets for the definite 
> version rather than sheva as found in the Masoretic text. But then the 
> LXX rendering EN ARCHi without the definite article points to an early 
> undertanding of R)$YT as indefinite, but not a construct as "created" 
> (actually rendered as just EPOIHSEN, "made") is a main verb, not 
> subordinate to EN ARCHi.

HH: The LXX rendering EN ARCHi without the definite article need not 
point to an early understanding of R)$YT as indefinite. The Greek often 
leaves out article in situations such as this (arguing for the 
possibility that Hebrew might as well?). Here is Smyth's Greek Grammar:

§1127.  The article is omitted in many adverbial designations of time, 
mostly with prepositions (except hêmera_s by day, nuktos by night).

Thus, peri mesa_s nuktas about midnight, hama heôi just before daylight, 
hôrai hetous at the season of the year. So with orthros daybreak, deilê 
afternoon, hespera_ evening, ear spring; and ek paidôn from childhood. 
Most of the above cases are survivals of the older period when the 
article had a demonstrative force.

§1128.  The article is very often omitted in phrases containing a 
preposition: en archêi tou logou in the beginning of the speech D. 37.23 
, exô belôn out of reach of the missiles X. A. 3.4.15 , Êiona tên epi 
Stru_moni Eion on the Strymon T. 1.98 .

Harold Holmyard

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