[b-hebrew] Gen 1 & Gen 2

A Becker ABecker at nerdshack.com
Tue Oct 30 12:06:18 EDT 2007

Karl W. Randolph wrote:

"It is recognized by grammarians that the waw as used in these verses can
refer to actions out of temporal sequence albeit in narrative sequence,
though that is not common it does occur, therefore it is incumbent on those
who insist that in these verses that it cannot be so used to show why the
denial of the grammatical possibility. If we allow the grammatical
possibility, then there is no problem in allowing that the two narratives
are different viewpoints on the same event."

                By this same methodological logic the New World
Translation's rendering of John 1:1 is acceptable because grammarians, in
fact, find anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nominatives are sometimes
indefinite. Forget the fact that Daniel B. Wallace in "Greek Grammar Beyond
the Basics" shows that an indefinite understanding here is "weak" and the
"indefinite notion  is the most poorly attested for anarthrous pre-verbal
predicate nominatives." Even if such an understanding is "weak" and "poorly
attested," by your rational it is acceptable because it is at least
possible. Therefore, it is "incumbent" on those who deny this usage here and
insist on the best attested usage for anarthrous pre-verbal predicate
nominatives, a qualitative usages, to carry the burden of proof. (Jehovah's
Witnesses will argue that "a god" is not indefinite but qualitative, but "a
god" is indefinite in English and thus makes THEOS indefinite here.) Those
who would argue for the best attested usage and deny the indefinite
understanding must obviously have some kind of "agenda" to "mistranslate"
John 1:1 by "adding to the text."

                Of course I doubt many would argue this way, but it is the
same kind of reasoning you are employing. For, as I have shown, the
wayyiqtol is normally used for temporal or logical succession. The
pluperfect usage of wayyiqtols (i.e. "and.had formed") that you are
advocating to offset the temporal sequence, to quote Waltke and O'Connor, is
"controversial" and has been shown not to hold here by Randall Buth.
Additionally, I have further shown how native readers of Hebrew altered the
text here in an attempt to harmonize Genesis 2 to 1 as is evidenced in the
Samaritian Pentateuch and probably the Septuagint's Hebrew vorlage. Since
this variant occurs at the Hebrew level, they could not resort to smoothing
the text by translation. This attempt at harmonization would not show up if
the wayyiqtol here could easily be interpreted as some kind of backdrop to
the story already. Thus, this is the most straight forward way of reading
the text here because it (A) is the most attested, obvious usage of the
wayyiqtol and (B) SP and LXX's Hebrew vorlage show that wayyiqtol here
caused problems for scribes so needed to be dealt with. Your right, your
reading is *possible,* but it is "controversial," been shown not to met the
criteria for pluperfects, and fails to explain the rational for the variant
here. Who then has the burden? Surely not me.


A Becker


PS: As this is B-Hebrew and not B-Greek, anyone taking issue with what I
said about John 1:1 and the New World Translation here should E-mail me

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