This year we (Barry and Helen) decided to go back to the oldest possible material available to us and compare it, bit by bit, with current (KJV to the present) translations. The oldest we are aware of is the Alexandrian Septuagint, translated by Hebrew scholars from ancient, or paleo- Hebrew to classical Greek about 200 years before Christ was born. We have found some fascinating things. Because Barry was sick yesterday, we did not do chapter 1 then, so only the second day of January and we are already a chapter behind! But here is some of what we found in chapter 1 of Genesis -- material not brought forward in ANY of the currently used translations, but there in the ancient Greek, in words chosen by the ancient Hebrew scholars themselves. Verse by verse: 1. no major differences 2. BUT is the word this verse starts with, effectively negating any ancient understanding of any 'gap' idea. Verse 2 reads, "But the earth was unsightly and unfurnished..." Following this, the phrase 'the face of' or 'the surface of' is missing. The Alexandrian LXX simply reads that "darkness was over the deep." The last part of this verse reads that the Holy Spirit was moving over the waters, not 'hovering' or 'brooding'. Considering the enormous battles that have been fought over some of these words, it will be interesting to some to see what the ancient Hebrew scholars themselves chose as the correct words. 3. No major differences. 4. "divided between" is the phrase used which is usually shortened to 'divided' or 'separated' regarding light and darkness. 5. No significant differences. 6. 'firmament' -- with the understanding that this does NOT indicate something solid! 7. no major differences, 'firmament' used. 8. 'heaven' used, although 'sky' is used in many major translations. "And God saw that it was good" is in this verse in the LXX and not in the English translations. 9. "collected" in terms of the waters being put into one place. "Gathered" is used in most modern translations. Not a big deal, but a slightly different meaning that is interesting. 10. No significant differences. 11. The land would 'bring forth' "the herb of grass bearing seed (or sowing seed) according to its kind and according to its likeness, and the fruit tree bearing fruit whose seed is in it according to its kind on the earth. And it was so". This is a major difference from what we have in any of our modern versions (consider KJV modern, please, as it is nowhere near the age of the Alexandrian LXX). It is much more definitive about the separation between 'kinds' or types of vegetation.. 12. Similar to 11 in wording, but no other differences. 13. No difference. 14. And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth (literally, 'for light and shining upon the earth'), to divide between day and night and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years." Again enough of a difference from any modern version to have quoted it directly here. 15. No significant difference. 16. The stars also is the only mention of the stars. Not even "He made." Simply, "the stars also." In addition, the sun and moon are given to 'regulate' the day and night, whereas the common translations use 'rule' or 'govern.' Again, perhaps not a significant difference, but interesting. 17. "to shine" is used rather than to 'give light.' 18. "regulate" instead of 'govern.' "Divide between" light and darkness instead of just 'divide' or 'separate'. 19. No difference. 20. And God said, "Let the waters bring forth reptiles of living souls, and winged creatures flying above the earth in the firmament of heaven." And it was so. "Reptiles" is not used in any current translation. And "winged creatures" need not be confined to fowl (KJV) or birds (NIV) -- bats, pteradactyls and such may easily be included here. It is also interesting to note that the translators all avoided not only 'reptile' but the fact that these were said to have 'nephesh' or soul. And yet that is how the ancients translated those words. 21. After the mention of God making the great creatures (whales, etc.) of the sea, the words go on, "and every soul of living reptiles which the waters brought forth accoring to their kinds, and every creature that flies with wings according to its kind. And God saw that they were good." It is very possible here that we not only have some unidentified flying creatures, but some of the large, probably extinct, reptiles which were known as the monsters of the water and one of which may very well be what is described in Job 41. 22. "creatures that fly" rather than 'birds' or 'fowl.' 23. No difference. 24. And God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living souls according to their kind; quadrupeds and reptiles and wild beasts of the earth, according to their kind." And it was so. Here the designation of 'nephesh' or 'soul' is given to animals living on the earth. 25. And God made the wild beasts of the earth according to their kind and cattle according to their kind and all the reptiles of the earth according to their kind. And God saw that they were good. This choice of the word meaning, in English, 'reptile' is very interesting. Could Genesis 1 be referring to a class of animals that included the dinosaurs? 26. And God said "Let us make man according to our image and likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the flying creatures of heaven, and over the cattle and all the earth and over all the reptiles that creep on the earth." If there is any referral to dinosaurs here, then it appears they were not only contemporaneous with men, but that men were given dominion over them as well. 27. No significant differences. 28. And God blessed them, saying, "Increase and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the seas and the flying creatures of heaven and all the cattle and all the earth and all the reptiles that creep on the earth." The term used for 'cattle' here and above has often been translated as simply 'livestock', which also makes sense. 29. No significant differences with the understanding that there is emphasis upon the fact that people were to be vegetarian at the time of creation. 30. "And to all the wild beasts of the earth and to all the flying creatures of heaven and to every reptile creeping on the earth which has in itself soul (breath of life), even every green plant for food." And it was so. This is rather specific about the green plants being the only food for those animals on the ground and in the air created with nephesh, translated as 'the breath of life' as well as 'soul.' 31. No significant difference. NOTE: there is NO paragraph break at this point, even though someone, at some time, decided this was to be the end of the first chapter. The end of the first narration actually comes at 2:4a, which will be part of the next series of comments. At any rate, it may or may not be significant that the word for 'reptiles' is mentioned so frequently in Genesis 1, both in connection with land and sea dwelling creatures. It is also significant that it is not 'fowl' or 'birds' that are mentioned, but rather creatures that fly in the firmament, or creatures with wings. This is MUCH more inclusive than birds. To us, at least, some interesting stuff... ========== After this has been up for about a week, it will be transferred down to the study under Genesis 1 for quick referencing.