public domain novice Hebrew reader?

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kwrandolph
Posts: 999
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: public domain novice Hebrew reader?

Postby kwrandolph » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:59 pm

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!

Dewayne


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.

Mark Lightman
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:33 pm

Re: public domain novice Hebrew reader?

Postby Mark Lightman » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:39 pm

talmid56 wrote:שלום מרקוס! השלום לך

Glad to see you’re still with us at B-Hebrew, and that you’re still learning Biblical Hebrew!

Jason Hare wrote:
Mark Lightman wrote:Having more or less mastered Ancient Greek, I am now focusing on my Hebrew, probably now moving from a beginner to an intermediate learner.

Hi, Mark.

Just wanted to throw out a howdy and say that I'm very happy to see you moving into Hebrew. Best of luck with your studies. Let me know if you want someone to converse with. I know you love to incorporate conversation into your studies. I use a modern accent (Israeli).

Regards,
Jason

Thanks, Chaverim. For reasons I won't go into now, I will probably wind up spending less time with the Direct Method in Hebrew than I did (and am doing) with Greek. Probably will spend less time on line in general, with more of a reading Tanakh only approach. But it's good to know you guys are out there.
Jason Hare wrote:
Have you looked at any of the Hebrew chrestomothies on Archive.org? Perhaps one of them will meet your needs.

Chrestomathy: "a selection of passages from an author or authors, designed to help in learning a language" [Google]

This looks pretty good as far as it goes, but it appears to be mainly collected allegedly "easy" passages from Tanakh. This can be helpful, but I don't think it is what the Original Poster quite has in mind. What I have in mind would be, for example, the Psalms in Hebrew printed on one page, and on the facing page a "made up" paraphrase in Biblical Hebrew, replacing the rare poetic words with their more familiar prose synonyms and normalizing the poetic syntax into more clear, normal prose-type grammar. My Hebrew is obviously not good enough to do this (I can do and have done similar stuff for Greek) and it's an open question whether something like this has been or will ever be done. "If you build it, they will come." "In a parallel universe, it has already been built. In that universe, you have already come to fluency. Back in this universe, you will probably just have to use Karl Randolph's approach and just slog though unadapted Tanak. That works too."
kwrandolph wrote: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.

Again, I understand and respect this argument. I heard it when learning Greek and rejected it, choosing instead to spend a lot of time speaking and writing and listening to Ancient Greek, and reading lots of adapted, simplified Ancient Greek. That approach worked for me then. Partly for reasons I won't go into right now, and partly because you, Karl, are a role model for me in learning Tanakh, I will likely use your approach more for Hebrew.
talmid56 wrote: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.

The other ones I use regularly are Lindsey's fantastic Mark,

https://www.amazon.com/Hebrew-Translati ... 953&sr=8-1

Salkinson-Ginsburg, and various versions of the medieval Matthews. All of these depart somewhat from classical Biblical Hebrew but at the same time they all go out their way to MIMIC this same Hebrew, and of course for all of them Tanakh itself remains the fundamental inspiration for the phraseology. Karl has his reasons for avoiding these, reasons which don't make sense for me, but, again, I am not going to take exception with a method that has worked so well for a guy I respect so much.

talmid56 wrote: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.

Well sure, the exercises of basic Hebrew text books, like their Greek equivalents, are to a more or less degree good sources for Comprehensible Input. The Original Poster said he prefers public domain resources, so I have not mentioned Weingreen's text book, but his made up sentences are as good as I could hope for. Sometimes late at night, when I am too tired to even reread the easiest parts of Tanakh, I will reread his sentences with profit. I suppose the Original Poster (and me) could be helped if someone could provide links to Public Domain primers which have made up Hebrew comparable to Weingreen.

Genug shoine. Back to reading Tanakh.
Mark Lightman


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