Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Sun Mar 30 2008 - 22:46:35 EDT

I raised - quite appropriately in view of your claims - the question of your expertise in Hebrew grammar in comparison with that of scholars whose apparently unanimous consensus disagrees with you about the translation of Gen.2:5. You've dodged the question. The number of commentaries you've read or what you think you've discovered about Sumerian texts aren't at issue. The subject indeed should not be you but Gen.2:5, but since you are making a claim about the translation of that verse which is contrary to that of every recognized authority on the text & its language, the question of your qualifications to address the subject is relevant. & it's clear that your reading is based not on any special knowledge of Hebrew grammar but on your insistence that the text must agree with concordist presuppositions.

There is no point in continuing this, though you may repeat your claim again if you wish. I'm content to have pointed out the great weight of scholarship which contradicts it.

Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: ASA
  Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 9:30 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

  George, I didn't have to study the entire Old Testament, just ten chapters of one book, and I had over twenty-five years to do it with the aid of the library at Virginia Theological Seminary and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC where even you do not have access. I completed a master's degree in theology and I have read Speiser, Driver, Poole, Genesius, Von Rad, Cassuto, Young, Kidner, Delitzsch, Westermann, Waltke and every other Genesis commentary in the library at VTS. Enough about me. The subject is Genesis 2:5.

   

  Can we all agree that as it reads the verse stands at variance with known facts about our earthly abode? Therefore, the problem lies either with the inspired writer or the uninspired translators. You seem to think it's the former. I prefer to take the latter. If the verb tense is left just as it was written in present tense and the Hebrew erets is translated as "land," which it often is throughout Scripture, then it squares with the geological facts. God doesn't cause it to rain very often in southern Mesopotamia the setting of Genesis. That's it. Now what is your problem?

   

  Of all the erstwhile authors that have tackled Genesis, who besides me found the phrase "fountains of the deep" in Atrahasis and connected the biblical phrase with irrigation? Who besides me was able to tie the last three pre-flood patriarchs with the last three pre-flood kings on the Sumerian King List? Who besides me correlated Genesis verses where Eve was taken from Adam's rib and Eve was the mother of all living with the Sumerian pun "the lady of the rib is the lady of life"? Who besides me reported that the city Cain built named Enoch was called unug by the Sumerians and rebuilt after the flood. I had to find all of these items and much more on the sheer strength of my own scholarship unaided by any of those fine gentlemen who you seem to think all know more than me.

   

  On my web page under chapter synopsis is a suggested reading list. How many of those books and articles did you read, George?

   

  Dick Fischer. author, lecturer

  Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham

  www.historicalgenesis.com

   

  -----Original Message-----
  From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of George Murphy
  Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 2:22 PM
  To: Dick Fischer; ASA
  Subject: Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

   

  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.

   

  Shalom
  George
  http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/

    ----- 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

    www.historicalgenesis.com

     

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Mar 30 22:49:55 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Mar 30 2008 - 22:49:55 EDT