The following is the current title page for my ongoing work on the rāqîaʿ. Of course a title page is more of print oriented concept, nonetheless, it’s nice in that it allows us to apply a single encompassing title to the work, and I like to have these few intriguing citations alongside it. Note that this site is not limited to the topic of the rāqîaʿ, though much of my work has been limited to this major issue to date.
‘MY HANDS STRETCHED OUT THE HEAVENS’
A REAPPRAISAL OF THE RĀQÎAʿ (‘FIRMAMENT’) CONCEPT IN SCRIPTURE AND IN ANTIQUITY
יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם
‘Let there be a rāqîaʿ in the midst of the waters’ (Genesis 1:6)
Ἦ τοι μὲν πρώτιστα Χάος γένετ’
‘Verily, first of all, Chasm came into being’ (Hesiod, Theogony 116)
‘I (Shu) have made a void … I am one exhale like of form, … My clothes are the wind of life … It is I who am Shu, begetter of the gods.’ (COS 1.5-6)
The chief Egyptian god Shu (‘Void’), representing air and ‘world space’
רָחוֹק מַה־שֶּׁהָיָה וְעָמֹק עָמֹק מִי יִמְצָאֶנּוּ
‘What has been is far off. Deep, so deep! Who can discover it?’ (Ecclesiastes 7:24)
The citation in the title is from Isaiah 45:12. This could be more accurately translated: “My very own hands stretched out the heavens” (אֲנִי יָדַי נָטוּ שָׁמַיִם). For the two non-scriptural citations, the context in which we place these and other non-Hebrew parallels is discussed in the section: Cosmic Space – The True Parallel to the Rāqîaʿ in Antiquity, under the sub-section : The Unique Character of the Hebrew Scriptures [forthcoming digital edition].