talmid56 wrote:I’m going to slightly disagree with Karl about the value of Hebrew translations of the New Testament, then address your main question.
There are a number of Hebrew New Testaments available, only two of which I’ve used, so I’ll confine my comments to those. They are Delitzsch and the Bible Society in Israel (BIS) version. Delitzsch was done in the late 19th century, and is, I understand, based primarily on Mishnaic or early Rabbinic Hebrew.
That’s exactly the reason I question the usefulness of Hebrew translations of the New Testament.
Already by Mishnaic Hebrew the semitic Hebrew grammar had been exchanged for an Indo-European grammar, many Biblical words had been forgotten (as evidenced by their mistranslations or non-translations in the LXX), so by studying the New Testament in Mishnaic Hebrew, is one learning Biblical Hebrew?
talmid56 wrote:(Karl doesn’t agree that there was a vernacular Hebrew then, but that’s a separate thread.)
Depends on how you define “vernacular”. If you mean “native speaking of Hebrew” then no, there was no “vernacular” Hebrew spoken then. But then if you, like I, recognize that there’s still a “vernacular” Latin being spoken today, even though Latin as a natively spoken language died 1500 years ago, then I recognize that there was a “vernacular” Hebrew being spoken during Mishnaic times, even though native speaking of Hebrew had died out centuries earlier.
talmid56 wrote:Now on to your main question. To answer Karl first (briefly), you would format the “made-up” Hebrew based on the Hebrew Old Testament as much as possible.
What subject matter do you consider for this “made-up” Hebrew? If your reader limits its subject matter to Biblical subjects, then the only vocabulary needed is Biblical. If your subject matter is modern life, then you can’t limit yourself to Biblical Hebrew.
Of course any such “made-up” Hebrew will need to use Biblical Hebrew grammar. Are there any scholars who know Biblical Hebrew grammar well today? Is not one of the reasons we have such divergent opinions concerning Biblical Hebrew language on this forum because no two of us can agree on all details of Biblical Hebrew?
When the question first came up, I thought what was meant that some of the teachings of Tanakh were being retold in a simpler Biblical Hebrew. I didn’t think that what was meant was dealing with subjects other than those already in Tanakh.
talmid56 wrote:There are, however, some readers that are based directly on BH texts: ones on Genesis, Jonah, and Ruth. For Genesis we have Biblical Hebrew Step by Step, Volume 2: Readings from the Book of Genesis by Menahem Mansoor (Third Edition, 1984; I don’t know if there is a later edition.) For Jonah and Ruth there are Charles L. Echols’ guides to the Hebrew text. All three give the Biblical texts along with vocabulary and grammar helps. Mansoor also provides some exercises, including some in compostion/translation. He includes some made-up Hebrew in his Hebrew to English exercises, but it is supposed to be based on the Tanakh. I haven’t used Mansoor’s text yet (I did use his volume 1 as a primer when I first studied Hebrew), so I don’t know how close his made-up Hebrew is to actual BH. You can probably get Mansoor on Amazon or thru another bookstore. Echols’ books are available as PDFs from https://www.academia.edu online (free downloads).
If you like a comic-book type format, there are several options available. Charles Grebe has produced a Jonah comic that apparently includes the entire text. You can listen to it in Hebrew (read slowly) while reading it online at http://www.animatedhebrew.com/jonah/jonah_01.html. For purchase, GlossaHouse has illustrated versions of Genesis, Exodus, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel (online at https://www.glossahouse.com/illustrated-biblical-texts). The Ruth one also an audio/video version. I have used the Animated Hebrew Jonah by Grebe a little and it is well done. For the text you have the option of using either vocalized or unvocalized Hebrew, which is nice. The GlossaHouse ones look promising from the sample pages I saw.
Hope this helps!
I still think that the best way to learn Biblical Hebrew is just to dive in and read Tanakh. I have nothing against starting with some of the simpler books as a way to get familiar and comfortable with the language before tackling some of the more difficult sections. But by reading Tanakh itself, one gets the original, not somebody’s interpretation thereof.
Karl W. Randolph.