[b-hebrew] Light be made versus Let there be light.

Steve cosmos at intergate.com
Thu Oct 1 20:39:15 EDT 2009


James and list members:

If anyone knows (if the information exists at all), what is the logic that 
Tyndale used in the translation: "Let there be light..." Do other 
translations that render the Hebrew this way merely follow suit, or have 
they chosen based upon considerations from within the text?

Thank you,

Steve Teague
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James Christian" <jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 7:05 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Light be made versus Let there be light.


> Hi all,
> recently I said:
>
> ויאמר אלהים יהי אור Traditionally we translate this as 'And God said "Let
> there be light"'. The 'let there be light' idiom we owe to William Tyndale
> who coined the phrase structure 'let there be...'. Personally, I don't 
> think
> this is particularly good English (at least not in our modern world). I 
> see
> this as a direct command 'Make light!'. The Greek of the LXX agrees with 
> the
> thought of a direct command using the verb 'to make' but uses the passive
> version 'καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός γενηθήτω φῶς'. In English, we get the awkward
> translation of 'light be made' which can be made more palatable by a 
> return
> to the 'let...' structure 'let light be made'.
>
> Just now I checked the Tyndale and Wycliffe translations online using
> the crosswire parallel reader at
> http://www.crosswire.org/study/parallelstudy.jsp?key=genesis I was
> pleasantly surprised to see that Wycliffe offered a similar
> translation view:
>
> Wycliffe: And God seide, Liyt be maad, and liyt was maad.
>
> Tyndale: Than God sayd: let there be lyghte and there was lyghte.
>
> I don't honestly see objections on the basis of the use of the verb
> 'make' as particularly valid. This may well have been a part of the
> semantic field of the verb HYH. Whoever translated the LXX certainly
> seemed to think it was or that an idiomatic translation commanded such
> an understanding. The Latin Vulgate rendition 'dixitque Deus fiat lux
> et facta est lux' also seems to support such a view with its use of
> 'fiat'.
>
> James Christian
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