Genesis 1.1 and Topic-fronting before a Wayyiqtol

Robert Holmstedt and John Cook

In a previous post, I (RDH) partially based my analysis of the syntax of Gen 1.1 within the larger structure of Gen 1.1-3 on the existence of examples where a wayyiqtol clause has a Topic-fronted Prepositional Phrase that is located before the wayyiqtol, such as Gen 22.4 (1).

(1) Gen 22:4 בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֗י וַיִּשָּׂ֨א אַבְרָהָ֧ם אֶת־עֵינָ֛יו וַיַּ֥רְא אֶת־הַמָּק֖וֹם מֵרָחֹֽק׃
‘On the third day, Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from afar.’

In this post, we follow that description of Gen 1.1-3 with additional supporting data and analysis.

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Ancient Hebrew Syntax: Making a Searchable Database

(For a PDF of this post, see here.)

At the 2010 Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Atlanta, there was a special informational session devoted to discussing the new syntactic databases available in the Accordance Bible software. As the primary architect of the syntactic tagging scheme, I gave a paper outlining the issues of principles that I, my collaborator Prof. Martin Abegg (Trinity Western), and the chief programmer Roy Brown (OakTree Software) had to sort out.

(The other three presenters were Prof. John Cook (Asbury Theological Seminary), on the verbal valency issues we faced in the project and how we sort them out, Dr. Brown on the types of syntactic searches that users of Accordance can now perform, and Prof. Abegg on the type of issues in Qumran Hebrew our database can help to solve—and yes, the overall project includes all ancient Hebrew, from epigraphic through Qumran).

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