In the beginning (phrase)

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A stained glass window depicting the phrase in Church of Our Savior, MCC.
The first chapter of B'reshit, or Genesis, written on an egg, in the Jerusalem museum

"In the beginning of" (bereshith in Biblical Hebrew) is the opening-phrase or incipit used in the Bible in Genesis 1:1. In John 1:1 of the New Testament, the word Archē is translated into English with the same phrase.

Etymology[edit]

The translated word in the Hebrew Bible is Bereshith (בְּרֵאשִׁית‎): "In beginning". The definite article (the) is missing, but implied.[1]

Archē (Ancient Greek: ἀρχή) is the original word used in John 1:1.

Usage[edit]

In Genesis 1:1, the full verse saying is translated as:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth. (King James Version)

It was used again in the New Testament in the verse John 1:1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Tradition and theology[edit]

In Judaism[edit]

The Book of Genesis as a whole has the title of Bereshith ( בְּרֵאשִׁית‎) by its incipit in Hebrew, as with other books of the Hebrew Bible. The first word, and thus God's role as Creator, is recited in the Aleinu prayer near the end of each of the three daily prayer-services.

In Christianity[edit]

John 1:1 in King James Bible

Genesis 1:1 is commonly paralleled by Christian theologians with John 1:1 as something that John the apostle alluded to.[2] Theologian Charles Ellicott wrote:

"The reference to the opening words of the Old Testament is obvious, and is the more striking when we remember that a Jew would constantly speak of and quote from the book of Genesis as "Berēshîth" ("in the beginning"). It is quite in harmony with the Hebrew tone of this Gospel to do so, and it can hardly be that St. John wrote his Berēshîth without having that of Moses present to his mind, and without being guided by its meaning.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blenkinsopp 2011, pp. 30–31.
  2. ^ Jobes 2014.
  3. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers on John 1, accessed 22 January 2016

Bibliography[edit]

  • Blenkinsopp, Joseph (2011). Creation, Un-Creation, Re-Creation: A Discursive Commentary on Genesis 1–11. T&T Clarke International. ISBN 9780567372871.
  • Jobes, Karen H. (2014). 1, 2, and 3 John. Zondervan Academic. ISBN 978-0-310-51801-3. Retrieved 22 July 2020.

Further reading[edit]