Thursday, February 23, 2006

Targum: Genesis 1:1

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ.

Bereshit bara Elohim et-ha-shamayim v'et-ha-aretz.

Beresheit - In the beginning
bara - create/fashion
Elohim - God (plural)
et-ha-shamayim - the heavens
v' - and
et-ha-aretz - the earth

When the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods took counsel to bring forth this heaven and this earth –


When God began to create heaven and earth --
Genesis 1:1 - Jewish Publication Society translation

And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the aGods, borganized and formed the cheavens and the earth.
Abraham 4:1

And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I areveal unto you concerning this bheaven, and this cearth; dwrite the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the eAlmighty God; by mine fOnly Begotten I gcreated these things; yea, in the beginning I hcreated the iheaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.
Moses 2:1

In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth. (Beginning: First of all, and before any creature was, God made ...)
Genesis 1:1 - Geneva translation

According to that which was aordained in the midst of the bCouncil of the Eternal cGod of all other gods before this dworld was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal epresence and into his immortal frest.
Doctrine and Covenants 121:32

"I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible - Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith - in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh - the head. Sheit - grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, "The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods." That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the Grand Council.

"I will transpose and simplify it in the English language. ... The head God called together the Gods and sat in a grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time."

"In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it."

"Now the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos - chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end."
Joseph Smith - King Follet Sermon - Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 348-353


"In the beginning", the common beginning of this scripture, sounds too much like it is the beginning of everything, which it is not, but which is the common belief. That translation has lead to far too much misunderstanding. It wasn't the beginning of everything, just the beginning of the forming of this earth. I prefer something along the lines of the JPS translation, like "When the gods began to create...", but I wanted to highlight that it was a council. I almost left the "When" completely, since it is not there in the Hebrew and is just implied, and just started it with "The Council of the Eternal God...". That would have been more in line with Joseph Smith's statement that baith was added later. That baith is what added the "In" - without it you just had "head" as in "the head God". I added the "When" to give the sense of the beginning and it made the phrase lead better into the next verse.


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