Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:27

Genesis 1:27
כז וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָם:
Transliteration: Va-yivra elohim et ha-adam b’tsalmo b’tselem elohim bara oto zakhar u-n’qevah bara otam.
Translation:    Gd created men in His image, in the Image of Gd He created him, male and female He created them.
Vocabulary in this lesson:

Now.  In the last verse Gd said “we shall make.”  First person plural.
In this verse it says Gd “created,” aorist third person masculine singular.  It says b’tsalmo, third person masculine singular. 
Rabbi Simlai said 18 centuries ago that whenever Torah seems to support heretics, look right next to that place.  (Midrash Breshit Rabbah Parshah Chet [8] section Yod [10])  He was commenting on this exact verse.  The last verse seemingly meant that more than one individual was involved in creating humankind.  This verse contradicts that; it says Gd alone in the singular number did it.  Every time elohim is used to mean Gd, it uses a singular verb.
This is an issue called context.  It rules what things mean.  No single word means anything without a surrounding context.  The context rules what meaning the word has.  You’ll see this in great detail if you read postings on my Fact-Checking page.  The very first one points out that a commonly quoted part of the Bible is taken out of context and claimed to mean one thing, when in fact when restored to its context it means the opposite of the claim.  Books have been written on this subject, notably Samuel Levine’s You Take Jesus, I’ll Take Gd, which points out that every statement used by a missionary is a) taken out of context; and b) means the opposite of what the missionary claims when restored to its context.
There’s even a whole fallacy named after this tactic, quoting out of context, and it has been used to misrepresent all kinds of material for thousands of years.  A court case was lost a hundred years ago partly because material taken out of context by the prosecution was challenged by the defense and shown to be inaccurately interpreted.
In fact anytime somebody gives you a quote, you have every right to challenge them for the source, then to find that source and the context of the quote.  You will usually prove that they are wrong about the meaning of the quote. 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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