June 30, 2008
• See the Hebrew transliteration of "Wikipedia" at Hebrew Wikipedia:
• Unmentioned in PVP is the importance of proper spelling on your Hebrew tattoo. Caveat tattooer.
more on this from Tyler Williams
• See the Hebrew letters of the name of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin at Rabin's Gate for Peace:
• See the transliteration of street names on this trilingual sign in Jerusalem.
June 23, 2008
June 20, 2008
• The Shema
Also see Parsons on the Shema
• The Basic Blessing
• From Parsons:
Barukh hamelamed et yadi lesapper et ha’otiyot.
Blessed is the One who has taught my hand to scribe the letters.
Looking at the original forms of the alphabet--their pictures and meanings--can help explain why they look the way they do, and maybe even help keep similar-looking letters apart. But I didn't do too much of this at first because I didn't want more to memorize.
Here's Sacks on aleph: (also see Benner on aleph)
* Field Notes
* Hebrew Today
* Inscriptions & Archaeology
* Key Concepts
* Key Verses
* Linguistic Background
* Mnemonic Devices
* Rabbinic Literature
* Reflections for Meditation and Preaching
* Useful Exercises
Buy something else
The attribution I'm requesting (for the 3rd item in the license, Attribution) is either my name ("Nathan Bierma") or the URL of this blog ("basichebrew.blogspot.com") or both. If possible, I'd love to know (contact me) how you were able to use the material, and how I could improve it.
Cook, John and Robert Holmstedt. Ancient Hebrew: A Student Grammar (Unpublished PDF draft, 2007)
Dobson, John. Learn Biblical Hebrew (Baker Academic, 2005)
Kelley, Page. Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar (Eerdmans, 1992)
Kittel, Bonnie P.; Vicki Hoffer; and Rebecca A. Wright. Biblical Hebrew: Text and Workbook (Yale, 1989)
Lambdin, Thomas. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew (Prentice Hall, 1971)
Pratico, Gary and Miles Van Pelt. Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammmar (Zondervan, 2001) (W) (buy)
Ross, Allen. Introducing Biblical Hebrew (Baker Academic, 2001)
Seow, C.L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (Abingdon Press, 1995)
Waltke, Bruce and Michael O'Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Eisenbrauns, 1990)
• Annotated reviews and companion resources from Tyler Williams
Groom, Sue. Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (Paternoster, 1969). (G)(buy)
Hoffman, Joel. In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language (NYU Press, 2004). (G)(buy)
Miller, Cynthia. The Representation of Speech in Biblical Hebrew Narrative: A Linguistic Analysis
(Scholars Press, 1996). (G)(buy)
Nahir, Moshe. Hebrew Teaching and Applied Linguistics (U. Press of America, 1981) (G)
Steinberg, David. "History of the Ancient and Modern Hebrew Language." Version 8.1, 21 July 2008. Accessed at www.adath-shalom.ca/history_of_hebrewtoc.htm
Young, Ian. Diversity in Pre-Exilic Hebrew (Mohr Siebeck, 1993) (G)
Young, Ian, ed. Biblical Hebrew: Studies in Chronology and Typology (T&T Clark, 2003) (G)
Griffin, William. "Killing a Dead Language: A Case against Emphasizing Vowel Pointing when Teaching Biblical Hebrew." SBL Forum, May 2007. Accessed at www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=675
Helabe, Rahel. "Ancient Languages are still Around, but do We Really Know how to Teach Them?" SBL Forum, March 2008. Accessed at www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=756
Helabe, Rahel. The Introduction to Biblical Hebrew the Practical Way. Master's thesis, University of British Columbia, 2005. Accessed at www.hebrew-with-halabe.com/intro%20biblical_hebrew.htm
Isbell, Charles David. "The Hebrew Teacher: Guru, Drill Instuctor, or Role Model?" SBL Forum. Accessed at www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=452
Nahir, Moshe. Hebrew Teaching and Applied Linguistics [see above]
Zahavi-Ely, Naama. "Teaching the Biblical Hebrew Verb." SBL Forum, 2007. Accessed at www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?ArticleId=771
Granted, transliteration can actually be a barrier to getting familiar with the Hebrew alphabet (which is why Cook and Dobson, among others, use only the Hebrew alphabet for Hebrew). But I've also found that in the beginning stages, transliteration is one helpful check on pronunciation and spelling.
My own transliteration scheme is simplistic and imprecise (which, in a way, is a good reminder that romanization is only an approximation of Hebrew sound--plus, of course, we don't know what Ancient Hebrew actually sounded like). For verses, I tend to use the transliteration from Sacred Texts, which appears to use ISO 259.
I've realized another benefit of transliteration: it makes the sounds of Hebrew feel more like words. That, of course, is purely my bias and limitation as someone whose native language and other languages I've studied use the Roman alphabet. But the danger in reading a non-native alphabet is that it feels like you're deciphering, not reading. Transliteration helps remind me that these are words and sentences, not just symbols.
PVP has a good transliteration table on the first page of the book; but here are some printable transliteration guides from other textbooks.
This blog follows the chapters of the Pratico & Van Pelt textbook, which, as I say below, is a step forward for biblical Hebrew grammars. If you click here and then buy it (or click here and buy something else), I get referring credit.
Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar
by Pratico & Van Pelt
The Lambdin book is worse than many but hardly unusual. Few would disagree that traditional Hebrew courses in seminaries have historically taught the language in such a way, and at such a level of detail, that they actually deter future pastors from reading and using Hebrew in their work—the exact opposite of what they should be doing.
Charles David Isbell describes the problem this way:
If a student has a desire to learn Hebrew for any reason, it should be considered a teacher’s sacred duty to fan the flames of that desire by every means possible. And I believe the best way to quench the fire of desire is by continuing to teach Hebrew the way most of us learned it. The routine is well known. Memorize these words. Learn these rules. Identify these forms. Translate these meaningless English sentences into “biblical Hebrew,” which you don’t understand yet and which modern scholarship assures us Moses himself did not write so clearly. Spend at least one full semester on these numbing exercises before you ever get to open the text of the Bible to an exciting narrative. continued...
(Most blatant, in my opinion, is the over-emphasis on patterns of vowel reduction related to grammatical inflection, which are often presented too intricately and
And so the Pratico&Van Pelt textbook is a huge step forward for 1) simpler presentation more appropriate for beginning students, 2) meaningful interaction with digital technology (which is making the old grammatical-paradigm-driven pedagogy obsolete) and—most importantly in my opinion—3) application for reflection and preaching.
But still more is needed on all three fronts. I await a Biblical Hebrew textbook that will more fruitfully involve, as consultants or co-authors, people with a palpable vision for 1) language pedagogy, 2) digital technology, and 3) preaching, or, best yet, one person for each (in which case, I realize, they'd have to divvy up the royalties into tiny slices).
In the meantime, here is my blog scrapbook that tries to engage these three areas. I am an amateur in each. But to me, each is a essential connecting point with the fascinating, beautiful, historic, God-breathed language of Hebrew.