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The Faculty Blog

InSights

15
Apr

Examining Translations of Genesis 1:1 in Relation to Genesis 1:1–3 (Part One)

In previous posts we have assumed the traditional translation of Genesis 1:1, “In-the-beginning God created the-heavens [or heaven] and-the-earth.” This familiar rendering interprets Gen. 1:1 as an absolute statement, grammatically independent (i.e., not subordinate) to what follows. This interpretation has a long precedence in translation history. The earliest example is the Septuagint, a major pre-Christian...
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02
Apr

Heavens and Earth in Genesis 1:1 

In previous posts we looked at the first three words of the Bible, “In-the-beginning God created …” We noted that the first verb of the Bible relates to (God’s) creative activity (bārā’: “created”), while the first subject of the Bible is “God” (Elohim).  This time we’ll look at the two objects of the verb, “the heavens and the earth” (‎אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ: ’ēt haššāmayîm ve’ēt ha’ārets). Both are designated in Hebrew with object markers (אֵת, ’ēt, pronounced as ate), the second of...
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25
Mar

Elohim (אֱלֹהִים: ’elōhîm) (“God”) in Genesis 1:1

In the previous two posts we looked at the first two words of Genesis 1:1, “In-the-beginning” (berē’šît: בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית) and “he-created” (bārā’: בָּרָא). Today we’ll look at the third word in the Hebrew text of the Bible, Elohim (pronounced like ӗh-low-heem´). This noun is always rendered “God” in standard English translations. (In Hebrew it looks like...
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18
Mar

bārā’ (בָּרָא) (“he-created”) in Genesis 1:1

In the initial post, we looked at the first word of the Bible, berē’šît (בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית), often translated as “In-(the)-beginning.” (In a future post, we’ll look at other translation possibilities for this word in relation to Genesis 1:1–3.) This time, we’ll look at the second word of Genesis 1:1, bārā’ (בָּרָא), a verb. (It is pronounced...
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10
Mar

What do the Biblical Languages Offer?

Master of Divinity students take Hebrew and Greek courses as part of the curriculum. What do such languages offer? In one word, “immediacy.” The biblical languages enable readers to approach the Scriptures directly rather than indirectly through translation. In forthcoming posts I’ll offer examples of insights from the biblical languages, and today we’ll begin with...
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