Chancery English - (This translation is a scholarly, formal-equivalent rendering of the first ten verses of the Genesis. This portion follows P text [Gen. 1:1-2:4a. - Sigalius)
1. When God began to shape the heavens and earth,
2. the earth was wrecked and empty, [with] murk over the anleth of Deep, a wind from God swept upon the waters.
3. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
4. God saw that the light was good, and God shed the light from the murk.
5. God called the light Day, and the murkiness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6. And God said, “Let there be a beaten-stretch in the midst of the waters, and let it cleave water from water.”
7. So God made the beaten-stretch and shed the water that was under the beaten-stretch from the water that was above the beaten-stretch. And it was so.
8. God called the beaten-stretch, heavens. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one stead, that the dry land come into sight.” And it was so.
10. God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of waters he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
footnotes: (Chancery English)
The initial phrase of this work is in Hebrew tongue ‘bereshit’, which refers to beginnings. This account is of the perspective of those within the cult of Yahweh; and it relates the stories of primitive human relation to this deity from the point of view of the Israelites. Edit
The Israelite accounts of creation contain clear allusions to Ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies. The first verses draw upon the Babylonian epic, Enuma Elish (which means “When on high…”), both beginning with a temporal clause--in which also nothing existed but primeval waters, male and female, fresh and salt: Apsu and Tiamat respectively. Genesis applies the same styles and motifs of its Ancient Near Eastern setting, only in a demythologized manner that lacks any theogony of the gods which the texts discuss. Edit
When (temporal clause) - the same as opening in the Babylonian epic, Enuma Elish . Saying “in the beginning” is grammatically inconsistent with the text, since Genesis 1:1 has no noun to consistently be in the second place of the construct.
God - El’ohim - a plural word meaning “the gods” because El, Ba’al, Yahweh, and other gods converged into a single deity representing virtually all powers of the world, which the Israelites worshiped under the name Elohim or Yahweh. (cf. Mark S. Smith, Origins of Biblical Monotheism)
Shamayim - cognate of Akkadian shamu. Canaanite god of the sky, though not the ruler of the gods.
wrecked - the Heb. (tohuw) literally means “laid waste, desolated”. (This further shows how the creation is not ex nihilo. Thus this literary context further shows the temporal clause to be the correct translation.)
murk - (Heb. choshek) connotes obscurity rather than evil (cf. John i. 5. “could not comprehend”).
Deep - The Hebrew is Tehom, . Tehom is a cognate of Tiamat (Abyss and Leviathan) the primordial goddess of chaos and water which existed before creation. Genesis is not described as a process of making something out of nothing. It is a process of organizing pre-existing materials and imposing order on those chaotic materials. (cf. Psalm 74:12-17; Isaiah 51:9-10)
wind - Ru’ach - This term is often anachronistically mistranslated as “spirit”. This is comparable to the Enuma Elish, in which Tiamat is torn asunder in the face by the wind of Marduk. With the two halves of Tiamat, Marduk forms the firmament and the land.
waters - '-yim' plural ending, following the pattern of Apsu and Tiamat within the A.N.E. setting.
said - In Genesis, creation is effected through divine speech instead of divine battle; a polemic against polytheistic traditions. However, the memory of the battle narrative is preserved in other parts of the Tanakh, e.g. Psalms 104:7, 107:29; Isaiah 51:9-10, & Job 41.
“it was good” - a leitwort used seven times, it shows the biblical authors rejecting the A.N.E. concept of a primordial evil, that is as an element of the natural world.
Days 1 & 4; 2 & 5; and 3 & 6 are poetically linked.
beaten-stretch - (Heb. Raqia) - a solid, inverted bowl over the earth, which is colored blue because of the waters beyond it. From raqa, meaning “to beat or spread out”, like a dish made by hammering thin metal. Implied by the wind, this dome is made in order to render a sort of bubble for the land to be. This is similar to the story of Marduk in which creation is described as resembling a clam shell: the separated carcass of the water being Tiamat.