[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Apr 17 14:11:41 EDT 2006


Steve:

Maybe we should ask Dr. Furulli what his verbal 
studies show on this. I think Rashi was wrong here.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried at umich.edu>
> 
> 
> Dear Steve, Schmuel, et. al.
> I haven't been following this thread, so I apologize if this has already
> been said. These verses have been explained by Rashi, and for all his
> faults, he was a wonderful grammarian. The significance of the "and" which
> begins verse 2 is not important of itself. What is important is that the
> "and" is connected not to a verb, but to a noun, vha'aretz haita tohu vbohu.
> "Now the earth was at that time astonishingly empty..." (Rashi's
> translation.)Rashi states we do not have a description of creation here, the
> earth, the water all existed prior to the events described in Gen. 1:1.]
> 
> When the biblical text writes a sentence SVO (subject verb object), then
> that verb must be translated into the pluperfect. It is the biblical text's
> way of conveying this tense (which is now lost to modern Hebrew). Thus,
> sentences which begin "and SVO" do not move the narrative forward at all.
> These sentences describe conditions which exist at the same time or which
> precede the previous sentence.
> You can see this construction many places. Gen. 3:1, "Now the snake was (at
> that time)sneakier than all other animals."
> Or "Now Adam had known his wife Hava, and she had conceived and had borne
> Cain." Rashi states that Adam and Eve had been having intercourse in the
> garden, and that she had conceived and had borne Cain before the expulsion.
> Thus, "and" + VSO moves the narrative. "and" + SVO does not move the
> narrative forward and should be translated by the pluperfect.
> That is the strict grammar according to Rashi, and I think he's right. Not
> all the rabbis agree with him, however, but I think it's theology that makes
> them and us want to deviate.
> Best,
> Liz Fried
> Ann Arbor


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