Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sun Mar 30 2008 - 14:22:06 EDT

Dick -

I usually hesitate to challenge the qualifications of people on this list but since you are deliberately setting your knowledge of the grammar of biblical Hebrew above that of people with recognized expertise in the language on various translation projects as well as of OT scholars like Westermann, von Rad & Speiser in their Genesis commentaries, it's natural to wonder just how your knowledge of Hebrew compares with theirs.

Second, you completely misrepresent the position of Dave, myself & others when you suggest that we regard the writer of Genesis 2 as "stupid." You ignore the facts (a) that he was writing some 3000 years ago in a cultural context in which even the most brilliant people had an extremely limited knowledge of the physical world & its history & (b) there is no reason at all to think that he was trying to write anything like a modern historical or scientific account.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: ASA
  Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 8:31 AM
  Subject: RE: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

  Dear George and Dave:


  Your arguments are not just that all these translators used the past or past perfect tense in agreement with each other, which I agree with as well, but you leave unspoken the rest of the argument which is that they stand united counter to the facts. We all know - at least most of us on this list do - that the earth is some 4.6 billion years old and for any one writer or translator to say that no rain had fallen since creation until mankind was brought into existence is patently incorrect. So your arguments are not that the translators were wrong, it seems to be that the translators were right and they faithfully translated the stupid writer of Genesis who had no clue. The writer must have thought the Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon and Gihon flowed from some mysterious source of abundant fog I suppose.


  This verse was written in the present tense as is all Hebrew which in this case if translated in the present tense makes sense. Southern Mesopotamia, the setting of the Garden of Eden, is in a desert area still today. It doesn't rain there very often. God still today does not cause it to rain there. And that's what the Bible writer could have told us if the translators knew anything about the climatology of the region. So my translation may contrast with typical translations but it is consistent with the Hebrew and with the facts. Your idea that Genesis is one way and the facts are the other way falls on my deaf ears - much as I respect you guys.


  Dick Fischer. author, lecturer

  Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham


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Received on Sun Mar 30 14:24:46 2008

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