[b-hebrew] Definiteness in bhebrew

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 03:36:01 EDT 2009


On Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 11:53 AM, James Christian <jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
> wrote:

> Hi,
> What I'm really looking for are concrete clues from which we can extract
> rules about how Hebrews understood definiteness. When is it OK to say
> Elohim
> and not HaElohim? Is it ever OK to use Ha with bereshith? If not why not?
> Is
> it the preposition? Is it the quality of the noun itself? Can we extract
> any
> kind of generalisations whatsoever which are likely to work with any kind
> of
> high accuracy when applied to the whole corpus? These are the kind of
> questions I'm thinking about.
> James Christian
> As for the use of Elohim and haElohim, there are 337 verses where haElohim
are found vs. 635 verses where just Elohim (without a prefix) are found.
That’s according to a quick electronic search. With such a ratio, it is
likely that whether or not to use the definite article may be one of
personal preference, not a mathematically describable rule.

As for BR$YT in Genesis 1:1, the original may have had an understood
definite article, one that was lost in the Masoretic tradition. The lack of
vowels in the original makes it impossible for us to be sure.

Karl W. Randolph.

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