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Southern Religion

Old Testament scholarship tempest, meet blogosphere teapot

Broken News: Old Testament scholar says proper translation of the Hebrew says God created man, the animals, etc … but the heavens and earth already existed.

Prof [Ellen] Van Wolde, 54, who will present a thesis on the subject at Radboud University in The Netherlands where she studies, said she had re-analysed the original Hebrew text and placed it in the context of the Bible as a whole, and in the context of other creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia.

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’s a serious scholar and as J.F. Hobbins observes at Ancient Hebrew Poetry, her basic findings are hardly new. Her interpretation is interesting. We’ll see how her fellow scholars respond.

Otherwise, Richard may have temporarily stretched a mind or two, and that’s good, but the earth has been neither shaken nor stirred.

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October 13, 2009 - Posted by | Religion | , ,

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