Ishnian ishinan at comcast.net
Tue Sep 4 05:08:03 EDT 2012

Dear Ishinan,

Please send the attached post to the list.


Dear George,

Where do the birds fly? I understand the mythological viewpoint of Genesis 1 and 2 in the following way: There is a solid "dome of the sky" (firmament) on whose surface the Sun and the stars are fastened. Above the firmament there is water, and the firmament has windows from which water can come down on tjhe earth.

Now, where do the birds fly? Genesis 1:20 says that the birds fly "over ((L) the earth" and across the RQY( of the heavens" (L-pny RQy( H$MYM. The last phrase is a construct where RQY( is the focus and not H$MYM. The text speaks of "the  RQY( of the heavens". Because this is a construct, how can you part its two elements and say that $MYM is one thing and RQY( is another? In a construct construction both elements are bound together. In other words, what is the linguistic basis for your claim that the birds "fly through the sky, but the sky is under the RQY(? 

If we treat the construct as other constructs and say that (L PNY means "over" (In a previous post you gave the literal translation: "over the surface of the firmament of the sky), then I see only one possible conclusion, namely, that the birds fly over the RQYA (of the heavens). In that case they ougth to be wet, because of all the water.

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli

Tirsdag 4. September 2012 09:22 CEST skrev George Athas <George.Athas at moore.edu.au>:


  In your examples, the noun פנים in the expression על פני refers to the face of people. As such, it has a personal usage ('against' or 'opposite'). This is certainly not the case in Gen 1.20, unless you want to propose the רקיע is a being, which I don't think you do. This is a common distinction: the 'face' of people and the 'surface' of things. Same word in Hebrew (פנים), but different connotations and different words in English.


  The birds fly through the sky, but the sky that is under the רקיע, which stands as a dome-like roof above everything. The birds flying through the שׁמים are thus seen to be flying 'across the surface' of the רקיע above them. You are confusing שׁמים with רקיע, but they are distinct.

  Dean of Research,
  Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
  Sydney, Australia

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