[b-hebrew] Definiteness in bhebrew

Joel C. Salomon joelcsalomon at gmail.com
Sun Oct 18 12:55:35 EDT 2009

James Christian wrote:
> 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.

My understanding is that Hebrew has neither an indefinite nor definite
article, in the sense that English does; the “ה״א הידיעה” is usually
more of a “very definite article”, with some specific emphasis.

Translate בראשית as “in beginning” (or “from beginning”, according to
S.R. Hirsch), then insert whatever article is needed in English to make
the phrase grammatically correct.

—Joel Salomon

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