[b-hebrew] watered ground & forming dust

Gerry Folbre gfolbreiii at gmail.com
Tue Nov 10 16:06:47 EST 2009

Shalom, Naama:

I fully realize that most if not all of you here will be unreceptive to the
idea(s) I am hoping to discuss.  These idea(s) are not what you have been
taught and therefore are not what is commonly construed from this particular
Hebrew narrative.

Naama:  I comprehend what you, K Randolph, and Yigal are sharing with me.  I
have read E.A. Speiser’s Genesis commentary, as well as Nahum M. Sarna’s
Genesis commentary and both convey similar ideas to what I am hearing from
the three of you.

I am not looking for an “argument”, only a fair discussion of idea(s).

Naama, you state above that עפר מן־האדמה “can be dry or moist, and it can be
formed.”  I cannot find anywhere in the Hebrew Tanakh where עפר מן־האדמה is
specifically designated as “moist” or where it is used as a material of the
earth that is used for ‘forming’ vessels.  I am fully aware that עפר is used
to describe the “surface of the ground”, and that it can also be understood
as “soil.”  I have not found where עפר is used to describe “wet, irrigated
soil on the surface of the ground” or where עפר is used in a “forming

The Gesenius O.T. Lexicon and the BDB O.T. Lexicon both describe
עפרemployed in Gen. 2:7 as, “dust, dry earth”; “dry earth, dust”.

Furthermore, if עפר is what all three of you are suggesting, then why
is עפרnot used in Gen. 2:19?

All the best,

Gerry Folbre

On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 12:44 PM, Naama Zahavi-Ely <nxzaha at wm.edu> wrote:

> Shalom!
> The problem is that you are dealing through English with something for
> which there is no good English term.  I run into this problem every year as
> I read the text of Genesis 1-3 with intermediate Hebrew students.  "Afar,"
> which is translated as "dust," is actually not (dry, wind-blown) dust but
> rather earth/soil as material -- that is, the collective term for particles
> of earth that one can pick up and pinch between one's fingers.  It can be
> dry or moist, and it can be formed.  I have not been able to find a better
> English word -- every possibility I can think of has other connotations that
> are misleading (ground?  earth?  soil?).
> I also agree with Yigal's reasoning -- you can't apply Aristotelian logic
> to the Hebrew Bible (or for that matter to most usage of any language).  But
> in this case, the argument is not necessary.
> Best wishes
> Naama Zahavi-Ely
> College of William and Mary
> >Message: 3
> >Date: Mon, 9 Nov 2009 17:59:46 -0700
> >From: Gerry Folbre <gfolbreiii at gmail.com>
> >Subject: [b-hebrew] watered ground & forming dust
> >To: B-Hebrew <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> >Message-ID:
> >       <a79631010911091659rf59c74ewaf2c29d1d0c10644 at mail.gmail.com>
> >Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> >
> >I would like to discuss what I perceive as incongruent anomalies composed
> >within Gen. 2:6b & 2:7a.
> >
> >Gen. 2:6b ????? ???????????????? ...  {and irrigated [watered/made wet]
> the
> >whole face of the ground).
> >
> >Gen. 2:7a ... ????? ???? ????? ??????? ??? ????????  {and it formed the
> >human archetype of dust from the ground ...)
> >
> >
> >
> >Gen. 2:6b states that the entire face (surface) of the ground is
> irrigated.
> >But then Gen. 2:7a not only describes ?dry, loose earth (or dust)? being
> >found upon the newly irrigated surface of the ground, Gen. 2:7a also
> >apparently stats that somehow this ?dry, loose earth (dust)? can somehow
> be
> >?formed?.  However, ?dust (dry, loose earth) from the ground? is not an
> >earthly substance that lends itself to being ?formed {like a potter forms
> a
> >vessel)?.
> >
> >
> >
> >If there is anyone who may have some constructive insight into these
> >contextual anomalies, I look forward to discussing these subjects with
> you.
> >
> >
> >
> >Gerry Folbre
> >
> >
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list