[b-hebrew] Definiteness in bhebrew

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Sun Oct 18 07:00:16 EDT 2009

Further to our dicussion on what makes a noun definite in BHebrew I would
add the following observation. We generally translate Genesis 1:1 as 'In the
beginning...' when there is no definite article in the Hebrew. In fact, we
would have difficulties with any other translation:

1) In beginning
2) In a beginning

This seems to indicate that we have a need to understand this verse in a
definite way. Did the Hebrews understand this verse in a definite way? That
is to say did they understand a very definite beginning? Was it the
definitiveness of this beginning that allowed the phrase to be used without
an article? There seem to be many subtle ways of detecting definiteness in
Hebrew that we don't have a well defined description of.

James Christian

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