Tohu wa-bohu (Biblical Hebrew: תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּṯōhū wā-ḇōhū) is a Biblical Hebrew phrase found in the Genesis creation narrative (Genesis 1:2) that describes the condition of the earth ( 'aretz ) immediately before the creation of light in Genesis 1:3.
Numerous interpretations of this phrase are made by various theological sources. The King James Version translation of the phrase is "without form, and void", corresponding to Septuagint ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος, "unseen and unformed".
וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם— Genesis 1:2, Westminster Leningrad Codex
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.— Genesis 1:2, New International Version
The words tohu and bohu also occur in parallel in Isaiah 34:11, which the King James Version translates with the words "confusion" and "emptiness".
The two Hebrew words are properly segolates, spelled tohuw and bohuw.Hebrew tohuw translates to "wasteness, that which is laid waste, desert; emptiness, vanity; nothing". Tohuw is frequently used in the Book of Isaiah in the sense of "vanity", but bohuw occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible (outside of Genesis 1:2, the passage in Isaiah 34:11 mentioned above, and in Jeremiah 4:23, which is a reference to Genesis 1:2), its use alongside tohu being mere paronomasia, and is given the equivalent translation of "emptiness, voidness".
In the early rabbinical period, the verse was a point of contention regarding the question of creatio ex nihilo . In Genesis Rabbah 1:14, Rabbi Akiva refutes gnostic and other heretical views that matter existed primordially and that God alone did not create the world.In Genesis Rabbah 2:2, rabbis Abbahu and Judah b. Simon give analogies in which tohu wa-bohu means "bewildered and astonished" (mentally formless and void), referring to the Earth's confusion after, having been created simultaneously with the Heavens in Genesis 1:1, it now immediately plays an inferior role.
Abraham bar Hiyya (12th century) was the first to interpret the tohu and bohu of Gen. 1:2 as meaning "matter" and "form", and the same idea appears in Bahir 2.9–10.
Possibly related to the concept of "formless and void" is the Yesod hapashut (יְסוֹד הפשוט"simple element") in the Kabbalah, in which "everything is united as one, without differentiation".ArtScroll's Stone Edition Chumash translates the phrase as "astonishingly empty". ArtScroll translates in accordance to Rashi, the most famous medieval Jewish biblical commentator on the Tanakh.
The phrase is featured on the front of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's EP Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, referring to the use of the phrase in Jeremiah 4:23.Jeremiah 4:23-27 is shown on the back of the album cover.
Tohuvabohu is the name of KMFDM's 15th studio album, as well as the title track on the album.
Tohu and Bohu are monsters in the superhero web serial novel Worm.
Tohu can refer to:
Chaos is the mythological void state preceding the creation of the universe in Greek creation myths. In Christian theology, the same term is used to refer to the gap or the abyss created by the separation of heaven and earth.
Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, also stylized as Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada, is the only EP and second release by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It was released on the Montreal-based record label Constellation Records in 1999, and was re-released by Kranky.
Gap creationism is a form of old Earth creationism that posits that the six-yom creation period, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved six literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, which the theory states explains many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth. It differs from day-age creationism, which posits that the 'days' of creation were much longer periods, and from young Earth creationism, which although it agrees concerning the six literal 24-hour days of creation, does not posit any gap of time.
The Genesis creation narrative is the creation myth of both Judaism and Christianity. The narrative is made up of two stories, roughly equivalent to the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis. In the first, Elohim creates the heavens and the Earth in six days, then rests on, blesses, and sanctifies the seventh. In the second story God creates Adam, the first man, from dust and places him in the Garden of Eden. There he is given dominion over the animals. Eve, the first woman, is created from Adam's rib as his companion.
Genesis 1:2 is the second verse of the Genesis creation narrative. It is a part of the Torah portion Bereshit.
Bereshit, Bereishit, Bereshis, Bereishis, or B'reshith is the first weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. The parashah consists of Genesis 1:1–6:8.
Lech-Lecha, Lekh-Lekha, or Lech-L'cha is the third weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis 12:1–17:27.
Noach, Noiach, Nauach, Nauah, or Noah is the second weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.
Toledot, Toldot, Toldos, or Toldoth is the sixth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. The parashah tells of the conflict between Jacob and Esau, Isaac's passing off his wife Rebekah as his sister, and Isaac's blessing of his sons.
Vayetze, Vayeitzei, or Vayetzei is the seventh weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis 28:10–32:3. The parashah tells of Jacob's travels to, life in, and return from Harran. The parashah recounts Jacob's dream of a ladder to heaven, Jacob's meeting of Rachel at the well, Jacob's time working for Laban and living with Rachel and Leah, the birth of Jacob's children, and the departure of Jacob's family from Laban.
Vayishlach or Vayishlah is the eighth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. In the parashah, Jacob reconciles with Esau after wrestling with a "man." The prince Shechem rapes Dinah, whose brothers sack the city of Shechem in revenge. In the family's subsequent flight, Rachel gives birth to Benjamin and dies in childbirth.
Va'eira, Va'era, or Vaera is the fourteenth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the Book of Exodus. It constitutes Exodus 6:2–9:35. The parashah tells of the first seven Plagues of Egypt.
Hebrew Bible English translations are English translations of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) according to the Masoretic Text, in the traditional division and order of Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim. Most Jewish translations appear in bilingual editions (Hebrew–English).
Tehom is a Biblical Hebrew word meaning "the deep". It is used to describe the primeval ocean and the post-creation waters of the earth. It derives from a Semitic root which denoted the sea as an unpersonified entity with mythological import.
Nitzavim, Nitsavim, Nitzabim, Netzavim, Nisavim, or Nesabim is the 51st weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the eighth in the Book of Deuteronomy. It comprises Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20. In the parashah, Moses told the Israelites that all the people stood before God to enter into the covenant, violation of which would bring on curses, but if they returned to God and heeded God's commandments, then God would take them back in love and bring them together again from the ends of the world. Moses taught that this Instruction was not beyond reach, and Moses put before the Israelites life and death, blessing and curse, and exhorted them to choose life by loving God and heeding the commandments.
Haazinu, Ha'azinu, or Ha'Azinu is the 53rd weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the 10th in the Book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Deuteronomy 32:1–52. The parashah sets out the Song of Moses — an indictment of the Israelites' sins, a prophecy of their punishment, and a promise of God's ultimate redemption of them.
Seder Olam Rabbah is a 2nd-century CE Hebrew language chronology detailing the dates of biblical events from creation to Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia. It adds no stories beyond what is in the biblical text, and addresses such questions as the age of Isaac at his binding and the number of years that Joshua led the Israelites. Tradition considers it to have been written about 160 CE by Jose ben Halafta, but it was probably also supplemented and edited at a later period.
Formlessness may refer to:
Jeremiah 4 is the fourth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. Chapters 2 to 6 contain the earliest preaching of Jeremiah on the apostasy of Israel.
The band's tendency to draw from ambiance rhythm and then fall back into ambiance is summed up by a snippet of Hebrew text, "tohu wa-bohu," which Godspeed used as the front of their 1999 album, Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada. The phrase, which means "formless and empty," is used in Genesis to describe the world before creation, and in Jeremiah to describe the land after a war that has desolated it.
The Hebrew on the cover of Godspeed You Black Emperor's latest EP is pronounced "tohu va-bohu." It means "void and waste," and it's a phrase you can find all over the Old Testament. It's what the earth was before the creation and it's what the earth will look like after the coming Day of the Lord.