Here is the history of how the word “land” came to have two different meanings in the Bible in our modern times.
In the time of the writing of the Jewish creation myths, every human being in the world believed the planet Earth to be flat in nature. They believed that there is only one large land, and around this land is a bubble of water high above and directly below, with breathable air above the land that is between land and the watery firmament above. They believed that the stars and planets had been thrown high up into the sky of air above the land, but that these stars resided below the watery firmament that surrounds land and sky all around. For most of human history, humans believed that we live on a flat earth, that the stars rotated around the land life resides upon, and the myths of many ancient cultures clearly reflect this. The Jewish Torah only refers to an elohim (“God”) creating an eretz (“land”).
The Hebrew Torah was written in two major stages, polytheistic monarchical and henotheistic priestly periods, between 10th-5th BCE (B.C.) – hence the repetitious double-sets of the same myths throughout the redacted into one scroll/book that was eventually produced by the scribes (the basis for the Greek Septuagint).
The Greek’s educated elites, in 5th century BCE (B.C.), were the first to figure out that the planet Earth actually has a round shape, and is not flat as had always been assumed by all humans in the past. They achieved this discovery through careful observation of the shadow of earth on the moon and by mathematics only. But, even with this discovery, they still believed that there was only one continent of land on this planet Earth, and the Greek Septuagint only refers to a theos (“God”) creating a gi (“land”).
The Greek Septuagint was written in the 3rd-2nd BCE (B.C.)
In Europe, the Greek discovery that the planet Earth is round in shape did not go beyond thinking that the world was maybe cylindrical or very warped in its shape. The concept of an actual sphere, with an atmosphere around it, and empty space with stars and galaxies was still yet way beyond their grasp of understanding. So, the biblical thinking of a flat land with a bubble of water high above and directly below land and sky (the firmament), with the stars and planets high up in the sky and below the top half of the bubble of water above, still persisted. The Latin Vulgate only refers to a deus (“God”) creating a terra (“land”).
The Latin Vulgate was written in the 4th CE (A.D.)
Then came the European Age of Discovery and Enlightenment, wherein European scientists and sailors discovered that this planet Earth is actually a literal sphere in space, that rotates around the sun (not the other way around!), is not just oddly shaped and potentially warped, and definitely not flat as the Bible says it to be so. This confirmation of a spherical world was achieved in 1519, when Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the world. It is at this time of human history that the English word ertha (“land” or “soil”) would take on new meaning as a reference to an entire spherical planet. This is also that time period where Amerigo Vespucci’s discovery of America (another continent on the earth), led to the worldwide understanding that there is more than one continent of land surrounded by an ocean of water, with air above land and water, and stars up way out in space above the sky.
These discoveries have affected how the ancient myths of the Bible are translated for post-Enlightenment readers. With the first English translation of the Bible this one word “land” could now be translated in two ways, now having two meanings that represent two separate thought concepts, which is exactly what had happened. For the first time in the history of translating the Hebrew myth of creation, the Wycliffe’s English Bible refers to a “God” creating an “earth” and, interchangeably, a “land”. It is the same word in the original texts of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, with one meaning. But, in the English, at the will of the first translator of this new English Bible, this single word of land took on new meaning of either referring, at times, to just a “land” or, at times, to a planet “earth”.
The Wycliffe’s Bible was written in 1382 CE (A.D.), and is the very first English version of the Bible.
Hence, why it is quite valid to challenge the method of translating the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin into English by modern Bible translators. Because, arbitrary selective use of the word “earth” in places of the text where “land” would be more accurate and historically correct, it is disingenuous and fools the reader into misunderstanding what the ancient writers were actually trying to say. The result ends up being that such translating behavior favors a modern understanding of the world that is now eisegesis applied upon the ancient myths. Meaning, it gives a meaning to the story that was not ever intended by any of the earlier pre-1300’s versions of the Bible, and it is done so deliberately solely for modern theological purposes only.
How The Ancient Hebrews Viewed The Universe
“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.” – Genesis 1:6-10
#Jewish #Orthodox #Torah #UnderstandingTheBible
Because I see this hashtag so often online: Are we #inhisimage – or – is ‘He’ #inourimage? Since the first human written story and even before this, it has always been the latter.