It seems that some choose to read into the text of Genesis 1 a title and also claim that day 1 begins in v3. Why would the text go through the trouble of connecting all the “verses” that follow to the first verse?

Why if verse one is the beginning, why would day 1 start later on an undisclosed day, arbitrarily labeled as day1?

The idea of a title likened to the toledoth interpretation also seems curious because it’s unlike the toledoth template. It bears no resemblances.

What is the purpose of the conjunctive being added after v1? Are they intended to point back to one reference point? Are they meaningless? Are they evidence of poor grammar? Or are they divinely inspired, intentional and significant; and how are they significant?

  • Researching publications explaining - Why does the shva in Bereishit 1:2 express "vav" as an adverb (Now) in JPS 1917 translation? To help determine : Why the shva causes the "vav" to be expressed in English as an adverb Now : "Ve" (וְ) instead of the conjunction And : "Va" (וַ), "Ve" (וְ), "U" (וּ) used to initiate each verse of Bereishit 1:3-31. * Interesting puzzle Jan 5, 2021 at 18:03
  • Is this an article/document available online? Can you link to it @חִידָה? Also are they using the MT or the Hebrew text without the niqqud? Jan 5, 2021 at 18:24
  • Max Lansberg's [JPS 1917] English translation of Bereishit 1:2 states "Now-The-Earth", but Isaac Leeser's [1853 Pentateuch] English translation of Bereishit 1:2 states "and-The-Earth". | Curious to find why Max Lansberg (senior rabbi of the B'rith Kodesh Congregation, Rochester, New York) & Dr. Marcus Jastrow (JPS Editor-in-Chief) interpreted the "Ve" with shva as the adverb 'Now' instead of the Leeser "and". < mechon-mamre.org/e/et/jps1917.htm > Jan 5, 2021 at 21:57
  • The sequence "Then God said … were the [nth] day" seems to define what happens on each day, for "n" from 1 through 6. That there also happen to be sentences that begin with "Then God said" in the middle of days 3, 4, and 6 doesn't seem to be significant. Jan 5, 2021 at 22:01
  • And hence it’s not significant that the first day doesn’t start with “and God said” but with “In Beginning God” does that suit you @RayButterworth. Why not? If we can make exceptions for other days let’s make another exception. In fact you’re skipping over a lot more conjunctions while only selectively choosing some and even they don’t follow a pattern. Likely because they aren’t a pattern Jan 5, 2021 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


The reason that some (including myself) suggest that Gen 1:1 is a title or summary of what follows is the for the following reasons:

  • Every day of creation week begins with the statement, "And God said ...". For consistency, so should day #1.
  • If Gen 1:1 records a creative act prior to day #1 the "heaven and earth" were created before day #1 or on day one. However, this conflicts with the actual record further down where "heaven" is created on day #2 (Gen 1:8); and earth is created on day #3 (Gen 1:10).
  • The summary of Gen 1:1 neatly balances the chiastic structure where the another balancing summary is provided at the end in Gen 2:1.

I do NOT suggest that Gen 1:1 acts as a "toledoth" because that word is conspicuously absent.

All six days of creation week begin with a "waw" showing its undivided unity.

  • 1. The toledoth is the argument used to validate v1 as a title but v1 has no other toledoth-like equivalent. Hence not a title. 2. God called the firmament heavens, He made the firmament, it doesn’t say He made the heavens like in v1. He qualifies the firmament as being part of the heavens by renaming it. 3.The earth was not CREATED on day three, He said let dry land be seen, after the waters under the heavens/firmament were separated further. You won’t find the word to make or create anywhere in reference to earth except in v1. 4.What do you do with the earth in v2 if its only made on day3? Jan 5, 2021 at 21:33
  • @NihilSineDeo - I see it quite differently. However, I cannot see what point and structure you try to impose on the text. You create great difficulties by suggesting what you do but that is up to you. The text defines the earth as dry ground the heavens as the space between the waters above and the waters below. End of story.
    – Dottard
    Jan 5, 2021 at 21:45
  • Another point if ויאמר אלהים “And God said” marks each day of Creation v26 has an additional ויאמר אלהים does that mean man was made on day seven? Or v29 same thing, is that day eight? Or maybe the days were counted as stated at the end of each day? Hence why, day six ends v31. Either it’s a rule or it’s not. Jan 5, 2021 at 21:55
  • @NihilSineDeo - in fact there is a consistent pattern - day #3 and day #6 both have two events not one as per the other days. I wish you would simply state what point you are trying to make with all this rather than rejecting what everyone else says.
    – Dottard
    Jan 5, 2021 at 21:57
  • "heaven" is created on day #2 and earth is created on day #3 -- not necessarily. On day two, the clouds that enshrouded the earth were lifted away from the surface of the waters, while on day #3, the waters and the solid land were separated. In neither case was there any creation, only transformation. Similarly on the fourth day, the remaining mist was cleared enough that the stars etc. were now visible, again without any "creation from nothing". (Imagine the process as something like clearing up after a nuclear winter.) Jan 5, 2021 at 22:29

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