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

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Mon Apr 17 20:27:35 EDT 2006

> [Steve Miller] Thanks Lizbeth. And thanks for giving examples. I am not
> saying that the "and" in Gen 1:2 requires that Gen 1:2 happened
> after Gen 1:1. I believe the "and" disallows making Gen 1:1 a modifying
> clause to Gen 1:2, and it disallows making Gen 1:1 a title with Gen 1:2 as
> it's subpoint. This holds true for the 2 examples you cite.
> To me, it makes more sense for Gen 3:1 to be sequentially after Gen 2.
> God finished His work of creation in Gen 2, the snake became sneakier than
> all the other animals. It learned this by observing, etc.
That's not Rashi's interpretation.
> Is Rashi saying that "and" preceding SVO _requires_ that the 2 sentences
> connected by the "and" happened simultaneously? I find that hard to
> and would need more than just these 2 weak examples.
I first learned this concept in Hebrew class at NYU with Dan Fleming when we
were reading the story of Dinah. Gen. 34:5, Now Jacob *had heard*.... Gen
34:7, the sons came in while Shechem and Hamor were coming in. etc. etc.

> > Or "Now Adam had known his wife Hava, and she had conceived and had
> > 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.
> > all the rabbis agree with him, however, but I think it's theology that
> > makes
> > them and us want to deviate.
>  [Steve Miller] Again, I think it makes at least as much sense for Gen 4:1
> to be sequentially after Gen 3. It took time for them to court. But there
> no way to know because life was probably very different back then. Does
> Rashi have any better examples?
> I am quite sure, however, that Rashi is wrong in saying that Cain was born
> before Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. That should be quite
> clear to any reader. But that is not relevant to the discussion since only
> the 1st phrase, "Now Adam had known his wife Hava" is vav-SVO.
Yes, that's true, but the subject "his wife" is gapped, it doesn't need
I'd go with Rashi in terms of grammar. In other situations, I'd steer clear,
but in terms of grammar, I'd go with Rashi. Rashi doesn't let his theology
or his expectations about what makes sense get in the way of the text, he
reads the text.
> > Best,
> > Liz Fried
> > Ann Arbor
> > >
> If you run into a "Ruth Miller", Math major at UM, that is my daughter.
> Beware of Triangle Towing.
Huh? "triangle towing"??? what's that?
I don't know any math majors any more, now that my son graduated.
> - Steve Miller,
> Detroit
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