Robert Holmstedt on the Grammar of Gen 1:1

(I just discovered this discussion via the 69er edition of the Biblical Studies Carnival, and I think it merits repetition.) If you’ve ever looked closely at the syntax trees in Accordance, you’ll notice that Gen 1:1—3 is analyzed in an interesting way. The first two verses and a portion of the third are marked as a single sentence, with the first verse functioning as an adjunct (specifically a temporal modifier) to the main verb, which is ויאמר at the beginning of v. 3. Verse 2 is a parenthetical statement. This would render the translation something along the lines of the following:

In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth (and the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the divine spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters), God said, . . .

Robert Holmstedt (and John Cook) discuss the reasons for this reading on the Ancient Hebrew Grammar blog here and here. They make a solid case.


2 responses to “Robert Holmstedt on the Grammar of Gen 1:1

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