Thursday, 31 March 2016

In the beginning ...

I mentioned in a previous post that I've been drafting a translation of the opening chapter or so of Genesis, part of a project I'm currently at work on. I promised to post it here, since it may be of interest.

It's still a first draft, but I think it helps show some of the ways the old Greek Bible saw things a little differently from the Hebrew originals - and it's worth remembering that it's almost certainly this version (or something like it) that the authors of the New Testament were reading and remembering.

Anyway, here's my rendering of the Greek text of Genesis 1.1 - 2.3.

The First Creation Account


In the beginning God made heaven and earth.
But the earth was unseen and unformed;
darkness was over the abyss,
and the breath of God was moving over the water.

God said, “Let there be light” - and there was light. God saw that the light was beautiful, and God separated the light and the darkness. The light God called Day and the darkness he called Night; then there was evening and morning, the first day.

God said, “Let there be a span in the midst of the water, and let it separate water from water” - and there it was. God made the span, and God separated the water under the span from the water over the span. This span God called Heaven, and he saw that it was beautiful. Then there was evening and morning, the second day.

God said, “Let the water under heaven be gathered into one gathering, and let dry land be seen” - and there it was. The water under heaven was gathered into one gathering, and dry land was seen. God called the dry land Earth, and the system of waters he called Seas, and God saw that it was beautiful.

God said, “Let the earth blossom with grassy herbs which sow their seeds, according to their varieties and after their likeness; and fruit trees bearing fruit which carry their seeds within them, according to their varieties, across the earth” - and there they were. The earth brought forth grassy herbs which sow their seeds, according to their varieties and after their likeness; and fruit trees bearing fruit which carry their seeds within them, according to their varieties, across the earth. And God saw that it was beautiful. Then there was evening and morning, the third day.

God said, “Let there be luminous bodies in the span of heaven, to illuminate the earth and to separate day from night, and to be signs of the seasons, days, and years: to become lights in the span of heaven to shine on the earth” - and there they were. God made the two great luminous bodies, the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night; he also made the stars. God set them in the span of the heavens to shine on the earth, to rule the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was beautiful. Then there was evening and morning, the fourth day.

God said, “Let the waters bring forth creeping things among the living creatures, and birds flying over the earth in the midst of the span of heaven” - and there they were. God made the great sea creatures and every living creature, which the waters brought forth according to their varieties, and all the flying birds according to their varieties, and God saw that they were beautiful. God blessed them saying, “Increase, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let birds multiply over the earth.” Then there was evening and morning, the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their varieties: four-footed creatures, creeping things, and wild beasts of the earth according to their varieties” - and there they were. God made the wild beasts of the earth according to their varieties, the cattle according to their varieties, and all the creeping things on the earth according to their varieties. And God saw that it was beautiful.

God said, “Let us make humankind according to our image and likeness, and let them rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things on the face of the earth.”

God made humankind;
according to God’s image he made them;
male and female he made them.

God blessed them saying, “Increase, multiply, and fill the earth; master it and rule the fish of the seas, the birds of heaven, all the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things on the face of the earth.” God said, “Behold, I have given to you all seed bearing herbs which sow their seeds, across the whole face of the earth, and all trees bearing fruit which carry their seeds within them; these will be yours, for food. To all the wild beasts of the earth, all the birds of heaven, and all the creeping things that creep over the earth, to every creature that has life within it, I have given all the green grasses for food” - and there it was. God saw everything, all that he had made, and behold: it was utterly beautiful. Then there was evening and morning, the sixth day.

Heaven and earth were completed, together with all their adornments.
On the sixth day God completed his work,
all that he had made;
then he rested on the seventh day from all his work,
all that he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,
because on that day he rested from all his work,
all that God had begun to do.

Image: NASA (public domain)

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