בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby SteveMiller » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:51 pm

Jason Hare wrote:Hebrew doesn't infrequently use connectors in ways that we wouldn't expect in English. For example, what is the purpose of אשר in the following verse?

Jeremiah 49:34
אֲשֶׁ֨ר הָיָ֧ה דְבַר־יהו֛ה אֶל־יִרְמְיָ֥הוּ הַנָּבִ֖יא אֶל־עֵילָ֑ם בְּרֵאשִׁ֗ית מַלְכ֛וּת צִדְקִיָּ֥ה מֶֽלֶךְ־יְהוּדָ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר׃


Thanks Jason. That is a new use of asher to me. It seems to be exclusive to Jeremiah (14:1; 46:1; 47:1 & 49:34) where there is not an antecedant for asher.
The first use of the phrase אֲשֶׁ֨ר הָיָ֧ה דְבַר־יהו֛ה אֶל in Jeremiah is in 1:2, where it has an antecedent.
The other 2 places it is used are:
Daniel 9:2 uses the phrase with an antecedent when referring to Jeremiah.
And 1Ki 18:31 uses it with with an antecedent referring to Jacob.
The unusual 4 uses in Jeremiah seem to inidcate a distinct way of the Lord's word coming to Jeremiah.
I don't think it is without meaning, and I prefer that it be translated (not untranslated) like:
That which came as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, (Jer. 49:34 NAS)

Jason Hare wrote:Genesis 3:5
כִּ֚י יֹדֵ֣עַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים כִּ֗י בְּיוֹם֙ אֲכָלְכֶ֣ם מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְנִפְקְח֖וּ עֵֽינֵיכֶ֑ם וִֽהְיִיתֶם֙ כֵּֽאלֹהִ֔ים יֹֽדְעֵ֖י ט֥וֹב וָרָֽע׃

the "and" here is a waw-consecutive, which has the meaning of "then":
In the day you eat of it, then your eyes will be opened.
The "and" beginning Gen 1:2 is attached to the subject, indicating a break in the narrative.

Jason Hare wrote:Leviticus 26:26
בְּשִׁבְרִ֣י לָכֶם֮ מַטֵּה־לֶחֶם֒ וְ֠אָפוּ עֶ֣שֶׂר נָשִׁ֤ים לַחְמְכֶם֙ בְּתַנּ֣וּר אֶחָ֔ד וְהֵשִׁ֥יבוּ לַחְמְכֶ֖ם בַּמִּשְׁקָ֑ל וַֽאֲכַלְתֶּ֖ם וְלֹ֥א תִשְׂבָּֽעוּ׃

Notice that the Leviticus verse uses an infinitive construct and then has a vav in the subsequent clause ("when I break... and ten women will bake..."). The vav there must be left untranslated. It's the exact same thing in Genesis 1.

The "and" here is the same as Gen 3:5. In my breaking to you the staff of bread, then 10 women shall bake ...
Different than Gen 1:1-2.
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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:01 pm

Steve,

I realize that it's a vav-consecutive there. That's the point. The continuance of the בראשית clause is also in a vav-consecutive. Genesis 1:2 is parenthetical.

בְּרֵאשִׁית בְּרֹא אֱלֹהִים את השמים ואת הארץ... וַיֹּ֫אמֶר אלהים יהי אור וַֽיְהִי אור...‏

In other words, it could just as well have been:

בִּבְרֹא אֱלֹהִים את השמים ואת הארץ...
"When God created the heavens and the earth..."

The insertion of ראשית simply gives us a point in the creation. It wasn't at the end of the creation. It was at the beginning of the creation.

Structurally, this is the same as Genesis 3:5 and Leviticus 26:26, in which you have an adverbial of some sort (either a כי phrase or a phrase with ב...‏ and an infinitive construct) and then a vav-consecutive.

Do you not consider these to be the same structure?

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Jason
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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:37 pm

Correction:

In Genesis 3:5 the construct chain in question actually starts with ביום אכלכם ממנו. That is, "in-day-of eating-of-you" (in the day of your eating = "when you eat"). The same is בראשית ברא אלהים. That is, "in-beginning-of creating-of God" (in the beginning of God's creating = "when God began to create"). That's why I see it as similar.

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Jason
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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby kwrandolph » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:21 am

Jason Hare wrote:

This places the first two verses as background. God comes to what would become the heavens and earth and finds it a chaotic mass of water. There is darkness and a powerful wind blowing over the surface of a great abyss. God comes to this chaos and the first thing he says is יהי אור. Until that point, there hasn't been a creative act that has taken place. The earth existed as a huge mass of water and chaos, and God came to it in order to overcome the chaos and to induce order in the universe.

That is, the entirety of the creation is the imposition of order upon chaos. It is not creatio ex nihilo in the Genesis narrative. That's how I read it, as not telling us where the matter of the universe came from in the same way that the text doesn't tell us where God came from.

That's my two cents.

Jason


What this boils down to, what is the definition of תהו ובהו in Biblical Hebrew?

The word בהו is used only three times, each time in context with תהו, leaving us with insufficient information to make more than a tentative stab at its meaning. That tentative educated guess depends on the meaning of תהו.

The word תהו is used often enough that we can get an idea of its meaning. Its uses show that in Biblical times it was used for objects that were not formless or chaos, rather had definite form. What ties all uses together is that it refers to objects and places that are uninhabited, lifeless. Hence my entry is as follows: ‎תהו uninhabited Is 45:18, uninhabited area, wilderness Dt 32:10, Jb 6:18 ⇒ uninhabited empty place Jb 26:7, uninhabited because depopulated Is 24:10, 34:11, uselessly (lifelessly) Is 45:19 ⇒ lifeless Gn 1:2, lifeless object Is 49:4, 59:4, used also with idols in contrast with the living God Is 41:29, 44:9

Where the idea of “chaos” comes from, I don’t know. All I know is that that idea is not Biblical Hebrew.

I know that already by the time of the LXX that much Biblical Hebrew had been forgotten so at times the LXX translators were merely guessing how to translate, and sometimes they used Aramaic meanings instead of Hebrew. It’s a real challenge to try to recreate Biblical meanings. By the time of Tiberian Hebrew, there’s good reason to call that a cognate language to Biblical Hebrew, because of the many differences between the two languages.

Because תהו refers to objects that are well formed and decorated, therefore the translation “formless and void” is wrong. This is not a picture of chaos. But it is a picture of the original state of the universe, which was then put into motion, tweaked and given life.

Just my 2¢.

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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby kwrandolph » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:41 am

Jason Hare wrote:
kwrandolph wrote:How many of the animals listed in Tanakh as “unclean” were dinosaurs?


Not a question that I ever expected to read. ;)

I don't think the authors of the Bible had any conception of dinosaurs, and I doubt they would have included them in their telling of the tales they had inherited from their tribal past.


When talking about animals in their surroundings, would they even have classified them as a separate group of animals, or would they have called each type of animal by its own name? After all, the term “dinosaur” is a 19th century invention.

Many of the animals listed in Tanakh are merely given a name, with no description other than that they were unclean. Any translation depends on tradition and/or guesswork. For example, what is ‎שרף מעופף Is 14:29, 30:6 a flying, poisonous snake? Doesn’t that sound like one of the smaller dinosaurs that could fly?

Just my 2¢.

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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby SteveMiller » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:38 pm

Jason Hare wrote:Steve,

I realize that it's a vav-consecutive there. That's the point. The continuance of the בראשית clause is also in a vav-consecutive. Genesis 1:2 is parenthetical.

בְּרֵאשִׁית בְּרֹא אֱלֹהִים את השמים ואת הארץ... וַיֹּ֫אמֶר אלהים יהי אור וַֽיְהִי אור...‏

In other words, it could just as well have been:

בִּבְרֹא אֱלֹהִים את השמים ואת הארץ...
"When God created the heavens and the earth..."

The insertion of ראשית simply gives us a point in the creation. It wasn't at the end of the creation. It was at the beginning of the creation.

Structurally, this is the same as Genesis 3:5 and Leviticus 26:26, in which you have an adverbial of some sort (either a כי phrase or a phrase with ב...‏ and an infinitive construct) and then a vav-consecutive.

Do you not consider these to be the same structure?


Jason,
If there were no v2, then they would be the same structure, but v2 makes your examples to be a different structure.
Can you find any example where a sentence starting with "and <subject>" or just a non waw-consecutive "and" is put into a parenthesis and skipped over as you propose with the opening sentence of the Bible?

I understand that you would translate it as:
In the beginning of God's creating the heavens and the earth (now the earth was tohu and bohu, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering upon the face of the waters), then God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

Isn't that just awful writing? And for the opening sentence of the greatest book?

If your meaning was the intended meaning, it would be better writing to eliminate from v1 after berashit through the "and" at the beginning of v2:
In the beginning, the earth was tohu and bohu,
and darkness was on the face of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was hovering upon the face of the waters.
Then God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

Jason Hare wrote:Correction:

In Genesis 3:5 the construct chain in question actually starts with ביום אכלכם ממנו. That is, "in-day-of eating-of-you" (in the day of your eating = "when you eat"). The same is בראשית ברא אלהים. That is, "in-beginning-of creating-of God" (in the beginning of God's creating = "when God began to create"). That's why I see it as similar.

Yes, that is how I understood you. I thought that was very good that both your examples started with the same preposition as in Gen 1.
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Steve Miller
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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby kwrandolph » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:58 pm

SteveMiller wrote:
Jason Hare wrote:Correction:

In Genesis 3:5 the construct chain in question actually starts with ביום אכלכם ממנו. That is, "in-day-of eating-of-you" (in the day of your eating = "when you eat"). The same is בראשית ברא אלהים. That is, "in-beginning-of creating-of God" (in the beginning of God's creating = "when God began to create"). That's why I see it as similar.

Yes, that is how I understood you. I thought that was very good that both your examples started with the same preposition as in Gen 1.


Other than that both phrases start with a ב prefix affixed to a noun indicating time, there are differences:

Genesis 1:1 is a simple, primary sentence—subject, verb, object—that stands alone. Genesis 3:5, a subordinate clause is indicated.

All primary sentences have a verb, except those where the verb would be “to be”. Genesis 1:1 is not of the structure that it can be a verbless clause.

In Genesis 1:1 the word following the time noun is the verb. In Genesis 3:5 the word following the time noun is another noun, a gerund pointing to an action, making the time noun in the construct state—“in the day of your eating”.

Genesis 1:1 is followed by verse two, where the subject of the verb shifts from “God” in verse one, to “the earth” in verse two, indicating a complete break. If you want to read Genesis 1:1–2 as “…that the earth became…” the waw prefix starting verse two needs to have been on the verb, not the noun. In Genesis 3:5 the subject of the verb in the following clause remains the same—“you” (“your eyes” as part of “you”).

In Genesis 1:1 the verb is ברא, a standing alone Qatal verb. In Genesis 3:5 the verb is ונפקחו with a waw prefix translated into English as “that”.

Someone smarter than I could probably point to more differences, but these should be enough to indicate why they shouldn’t be taken as equivalent.

Thanks. Steve, for emphasizing this argument.

My 2¢

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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby Jason Hare » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:57 pm

SteveMiller wrote:Can you find any example where a sentence starting with "and <subject>" or just a non waw-consecutive "and" is put into a parenthesis and skipped over as you propose with the opening sentence of the Bible?


Yes. Genesis 2:8-15:

וַיִּטַּ֞ע יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים גַּן־בְּעֵ֖דֶן מִקֶּ֑דֶם וַיָּ֣שֶׂם שָׁ֔ם אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָצָֽר׃ וַיַּצְמַ֞ח יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה כָּל־עֵ֛ץ נֶחְמָ֥ד לְמַרְאֶ֖ה וְט֣וֹב לְמַֽאֲכָ֑ל וְעֵ֤ץ הַֽחַיִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַגָּ֔ן וְעֵ֕ץ הַדַּ֖עַת ט֥וֹב וָרָֽע׃ וְנָהָר֙ יֹצֵ֣א מֵעֵ֔דֶן לְהַשְׁק֖וֹת אֶת־הַגָּ֑ן וּמִשָּׁם֙ יִפָּרֵ֔ד וְהָיָ֖ה לְאַרְבָּעָ֥ה רָאשִֽׁים׃ שֵׁ֥ם הָֽאֶחָ֖ד פִּישׁ֑וֹן ה֣וּא הַסֹּבֵ֗ב אֵ֚ת כָּל־אֶ֣רֶץ הַֽחֲוִילָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֖ם הַזָּהָֽב׃ וּֽזְהַ֛ב הָאָ֥רֶץ הַהִ֖וא ט֑וֹב שָׁ֥ם הַבְּדֹ֖לַח וְאֶ֥בֶן הַשֹּֽׁהַם׃ וְשֵֽׁם־הַנָּהָ֥ר הַשֵּׁנִ֖י גִּיח֑וֹן ה֣וּא הַסּוֹבֵ֔ב אֵ֖ת כָּל־אֶ֥רֶץ כּֽוּשׁ׃ וְשֵׁ֨ם הַנָּהָ֤ר הַשְּׁלִישִׁי֙ חִדֶּ֔קֶל ה֥וּא הַֽהֹלֵ֖ךְ קִדְמַ֣ת אַשּׁ֑וּר וְהַנָּהָ֥ר הָֽרְבִיעִ֖י ה֥וּא פְרָֽת׃ וַיִּקַּ֛ח יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּנִּחֵ֣הוּ בְגַן־עֵ֔דֶן לְעָבְדָ֖הּ וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ׃


The vayyiqṭōl forms in verses 8 and 9 trace the story's action.
ויטע... וישם... ויצמח...‏
"And he planted... and he placed... and he caused to grow..."

Verse 10 interrupts the action of the narrative to provide background information, which uses the qōṭēl, yiqṭōl and nominal clauses (in this case) to provide information that doesn't carry the narrative forward.

The story is then picked up again with vayyiqṭōl forms in verse 15 with ויקח.

All of verses 10-14 are parenthetical and are not part of the narrative line. This is the same thing that we see in 1:2, which the author inserted information about the state of the earth at the beginning of its creation before giving us the first creative act - which appears with a vayyiqṭōl form in 1:3 (ויאמר).
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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby SteveMiller » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:43 pm

Thanks Jason. You gave me an example of what I asked. The example you gave is the normal way of writing in Tanach. It is not unusual at all.
The problem is that I didn't ask the question right. What I meant was:
Can you find any example where a sentence starting with "and <subject>" or just a non waw-consecutive "and" is put into a parenthesis and skipped over in the midst of a sentence.
In other words, what I am asking for is <dependent clause><parenthetical starting with "and" subject><independent clause modified by the initial dependent clause>, which is what you are proposing with Gen 1:1-3.
Sincerely yours,
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Re: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

Postby Jason Hare » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:14 pm

Steve,

I see what you mean. I'll be on guard for such a thing. Nothing comes to mind. If I can find something, I'll get back to you.

Jason
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