Jason Hare wrote:Re: “first-year lies”
It is necessary to start somewhere. Every first-year grammar oversimplifies and calls things that are not as though they were (καλεῖ τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα). It’s the nature of the beast.
Yes, it’s necessary to start somewhere. But when I talk about “first year lies” in Biblical Hebrew teaching, I don’t mean just oversimplification, rather teaching that is out and out false.
Jason Hare wrote:He who learns German certainly has to unlearn many general rules that he learns in the first year of study.
Actually, for me, there was very little I had to unlearn in German from my first year learning. But then I had a slightly different experience in learning—my father had brought the whole family to Germany and I had to learn NOW. It was not a total immersion for we still spoke English at home, immersion came later,
The same thing with koiné Greek—there was almost nothing I had to unlearn when getting deeper into the language.
(One note about German: when we lived in Germany, we lived in a farming village, not the city. As a result, I had to learn not only high German, but also local dialect. That area was close to where Rashi lived and worked. Later, when I listened to Yiddish, I understood much of Yiddish through the local dialect that I had learned.)
Jason Hare wrote:This isn’t a problem particular to Hebrew grammars.
I think this is a problem that afflicts Hebrew grammars more so than other languages. Biblical Hebrew is not as well known as many other languages, such as modern German and koiné Greek. Then there are claims, even by well-known professors with impeccable résumés, that can be disproven by quoting Tanakh.
Jason Hare wrote:We must use the tools we have to get students with no Hebrew into the text. I hope that by using Kutz and Josberger’s Learning Biblical Hebrew, I can get them into real Bible text quickly enough that it will smooth over blunders that otherwise would dominate the thinking of first-year students. Who knows?
I don’t know these authors, never heard of them before, nor their text, so I can’t comment on them. But if they teach the same as Weingreen and Gesenius, then what they teach is medieval Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew.
Jason Hare wrote:From your perspective, I probably hold to many of these mistakes though I’ve been reading Hebrew for twenty years now, spend plenty of time in the biblical corpus, and speak modern Hebrew fluently.
If I count the class that I took of first year Hebrew, then I’ve been reading Hebrew for 50 years now. Almost all of the Hebrew that I now know, I learned from reading and analyzing Tanakh. I had to unlearn much of what I learned in that first year class, because, as I read Tanakh over and over again, from Genesis to the end of Chronicles, I found that what I learned in class was wrong and not just oversimplifications. What I had to unlearn is much of what is taught in that text by Weingreen.
In spite of how long I’ve been reading Biblical Hebrew and the number of times I’ve read Tanakh through, I’m still learning. And there are things that I still don’t understand. And when I revisit some of the things I thought I had learned, I now have learned things that call those understandings into question, or more.
At one time I wanted to take the PhD track in Biblical Hebrew studies. The PhD track included learning Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, modern Israeli Hebrew, Ugaritic, and possibly another language or two. At the time I thought it was unfortunate that I didn’t have the pennies to take those classes. But now I think it’s a blessing that I don’t know those other languages, other than just enough Aramaic to struggle through the eight chapters in Tanakh written in Aramaic. What I avoid by not knowing those languages is cognate language cross-bleed, where linguistic features of one language cross-bleed into one’s understanding of a close cognate language, even where that cross-bleed leads astray. Hence, your fluent understanding of modern Israeli Hebrew can be, and most likely is, a hindrance in your understanding of Biblical Hebrew.
Jason Hare wrote:I guess it would depend on which specific things you call mistakes. (People can hold different opinions without being necessarily in the wrong.)
Karl W. Randolph.