Monday, October 12, 2009

"Fresh textual analysis"

Joe Carter alerts us to a story that will probably not cause anyone to change his mind:
So you thought Genesis 1:1 claims that God created the universe? That’s because you don’t understand Hebrew:
Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author, claims the first sentence of Genesis “in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” is not a true translation of the Hebrew. ....

She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb “bara”, which is used in the first sentence of the book of Genesis, does not mean “to create” but to “spatially separate.”

The first sentence should now read “in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth.” ....

She concluded that God did not create, he separated: the Earth from the Heaven, the land from the sea, the sea monsters from the birds and the swarming at the ground
I’m glad she was able to correct this misperception. Now if she could explain how scholars for thousands of years seem to have missed this point.
A spokesman for the Radboud University said: “The new interpretation is a complete shake up of the story of the Creation as we know it.”

Prof Van Wolde added: “The traditional view of God the Creator is untenable now.”
For a scholar trained in languages, Professor Van Wolde appears not to understand the common meanings of many words and phrases. For instance, she seems to think the word “untenable” means “can’t be defended since I settled the issue” and that “fresh textual analysis” is synonymous with “stuff I just made up.”
Breaking News: God Didn’t Create the Heavens and Earth » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog

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