Re: barah, br'

Murphy (
Tue, 01 Apr 1997 17:42:32 -0500

Jan de Koning wrote:
> I am sorry, if I offended someone. I only wanted to warn against saying:
> "Only God can "br' " ," since the word in Hebrew has different meanings,
> just like create is used in different meanings.

There was nothing offensive in what your post but it missed my
point, the need for attention to the distinction between God's creative
activity and the work of human beings and natural processes. A separate
English verb for divine creation might help, but that was not my whole
argument. & if the Hebrew br' did not have the appropriate features, we
could invent another word.
I'm not trying to invest the biblical Hebrew br' with some
mystical quality or make it the verbal equivalent of the tetragrammaton,
but it is not as compromised as you suggest. In the Qal it is used only
for divine creation. Forms of a verb other than the Qal are sometimes
related rather remotely to the Qal. Thus the fact that the Pi'el of br'
is used differently doesn't change the basic argument.
If you wish more precision, we may _define_ an _English_ verb
bara to be that for divine creation, and distinguish it from the Hebrew.
Thus in English "Only God can bara" is true by definition. Others may
develop the full inflection of bara, its pluperfect subjunctive, &c.
George Murphy