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Re: From the foundation of the world

Posted by R. Berg on August 28, 2008 at 17:03

In Reply to: Re: From the foundation of the world posted by R. Berg on August 28, 2008 at 17:02:

: : : : I am researching the Biblical phrase "from the foundation of the world". As a point of reference, Matt 13:35 quotes Psalm 78:2 as "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world". However, Psalms simply states "I will utter dark sayings of old". It seems that the former may be an idiomatic, somewhat hyperbolic expression rather than a factual, chronological reference to Genesis 1. What thinkest thou?

: : : I think that they are, like other phrases ('from the dawn of time', or whatever), rather fanciful ways of saying 'I will tell you some old stories'.

: : : DFG

: : When talking about the Bible, one should remember that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, while the New Testament was mostly written in Greek by and about people who were mostly speaking Aramaic. Then, we read it in English translated by various people at various times, and sometimes it has gone through another translation in between (e.g. Hebrew to Latin to English). The concept of "exact quotation" becomes rather an odd idea in that light.
: :
: : The Vulgate (a translation from the original into Latin) says "meum loquar enigmata antiqua" where the Douay-Rheims (a translation of the Vulgate into English) says " will utter propositions from the beginning". (This is Psalms 77 not 78 in both these versions.)

: As the two previous responses suggest, research into biblical phrases requires knowledge of the original languages. Another complication is added because your verse has Matthew writing in Greek and quoting, or perhaps paraphrasing, a text in Hebrew. In addition, when you write "It seems that the former may be an idiomatic, somewhat hyperbolic expression rather than a factual, chronological reference to Genesis 1," it implicitly raises another question: did Matthew believe that Genesis 1 was a _factual_ account? For that matter, did the psalmist? We can't know that they interpreted the Creation story literally. Either or both of them may have understood it as a grand and poetic way of beginning their sacred book. ~rb

(Reposted to correct typo. ~rb)