My New Biblical Studies Blog

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talmid56
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 am
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA

Re: My New Biblical Studies Blog

Postby talmid56 » Sun May 06, 2018 8:38 pm

Karl wrote:

Along with teaching the points, we should also teach that the points are human tradition, not canon. So students should be taught how to analyze verses to second guess the Masoretes.


I tend to agree with that. I don't buy the view that some have held, that the points were passed down from Moses, or that the Masoretes were divinely inspired. I do believe however, to the extent that they correctly preserved and passed down the text of the Hebrew Bible, that God used them in his providence to preserve and protect his divine message. Yes, I know that's theology, so I won't go further than that.

As for analyzing the verses to "second guess" the Masoretes, one of the best ways to prepare students for that in my view is to use immersion or semi-immersion methods so that students learn to appreciate Hebrew as Hebrew. To learn to think in Hebrew, to read Hebrew with comprehension. Not to focus on parsing and translation, as BH courses typically do. I have not personally used Buth's materials so I can't speak to how Biblical his Hebrew is. But his approach to it as far as method goes is the right way to go. The more traditional way, the more common way, teaches students more about Hebrew than actually teaching them Hebrew. Not to say that other methods or approaches have no value, but that if we are serious about teaching Hebrew as a language, then use methods that have been proven to actually produce language acquisition.

Over the last few years, I've gradually retrofitted my Hebrew studies to include living language approaches. Still a work in progress, but it has helped me a lot when reading the Tanakh. One project I plan to get back to soon is to try this approach to learning Hebrew vocabulary, starting with Jonah. Instead of just providing English glosses and parsing data, I would provide the vocabulary with definitions written in Biblical Hebrew. This is an experiment, and I don't know yet how it will go. I worked on it awhile back and got the first draft of 1:1-5 done. Later this year I plan to get back to it. This data would be incorporated into a slideshow format with images and hopefully sound files. Again, an immersion or semi-immersion approach. If it does come to fruition, I would value your feedback to improve it.

P.S. I am also adding notes on Greek pronunciation and Latin pronunciation to the Resources page at the appropriate points.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים

kwrandolph
Posts: 909
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: My New Biblical Studies Blog

Postby kwrandolph » Tue May 08, 2018 6:44 am

Dear Dewayne:

You wrote:

talmid56 wrote:… I do believe however, to the extent that they correctly preserved and passed down the text of the Hebrew Bible, that God used them in his providence to preserve and protect his divine message. Yes, I know that's theology, so I won't go further than that.


That’s historical fact, not just theology, as far as the consonantal text is concerned. The problem is that they added to the consonantal text.

talmid56 wrote:… one of the best ways to prepare students for that in my view is to use immersion or semi-immersion methods so that students learn to appreciate Hebrew as Hebrew. To learn to think in Hebrew, to read Hebrew with comprehension. Not to focus on parsing and translation, as BH courses typically do.


I agree with that. However, when first starting out learning a new language, even when living in country, the learning starts out with parsing and translation. As familiarity comes on, less and less translation is needed until finally only unusual words are looked up.

It helps if one can practice speaking it as well. But how does one immerse oneself into a language of which its pronunciation is unknown? Which is known only in writing?

To give what happened in my experience, I basically let the language flow over me, concentrating on meaning rather than parsing and translating. I did that especially after realizing that everything I had been taught about the meaning of Hebrew conjugations was wrong. I tried reading the text exactly as the Masoretes pointed it, but let that fall by the wayside when I realized that the meanings indicated by the points didn’t always square with the consonantal text. I noticed the parsing forms, but concentrated on meaning, not translation.

talmid56 wrote:… The more traditional way, the more common way, teaches students more about Hebrew than actually teaching them Hebrew.


Yes!!

talmid56 wrote:… One project I plan to get back to soon is to try this approach to learning Hebrew vocabulary, starting with Jonah. Instead of just providing English glosses and parsing data, I would provide the vocabulary with definitions written in Biblical Hebrew.


Wouldn’t this work only with fairly advanced students? How would they understand the definitions unless they’re already advanced?

How do you know that your Biblical Hebrew is up to snuff?

In my case, I’d hesitate because the more I study the language, the more I realize how much I don’t know about the language. Yet I wrote a dictionary from Biblical Hebrew to English, and in recent years paid more attention to the grammatical forms that I read.

Recently I started a study on how nouns are derived from verbs, and while gathering data to analyze, found a pattern of derivation that I didn’t know existed. No, I don’t claim that all nouns are derived from verbal roots, far from it. But some nouns are undeniably derived from verbal roots and I want to see what meanings the derivation patterns impart to those nouns. Has anyone made such a study, and published the results?

talmid56 wrote:… I would value your feedback to improve it.


I’m in the initial stages of planning a Hebrew class for absolute beginners. The hardest part of learning a language is getting a sufficient vocabulary, so I figure that’s where I’d concentrate first. I see this as a semi-immersive class as I would concentrate on meaning, not parsing. But understanding the forms will be needed, but not emphasized. I’m thinking of starting with Genesis 1:1 and going from there.

I want to make reading as simple as possible, to encourage more people to read Tanakh. That’s one reason I’d stick with a Hebrew to English dictionary. At least at first.

With best wishes, Karl W. Randolph.

talmid56
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 am
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA

Re: My New Biblical Studies Blog

Postby talmid56 » Tue May 08, 2018 9:09 am

Karl wrote:
Wouldn’t this work only with fairly advanced students? How would they understand the definitions unless they’re already advanced?


Well, the vocabulary used for the definitions, as much as possible, is the range that is normally learned in the first two years. I anticipate (hope) that by the latter part of the first year or early in the second year they would be familiar with a lot of it.

As for my Hebrew being up to snuff, that is a valid question. I am more at home reading than composing in Hebrew. As I said, this is an experiment, a first attempt. The reason I thought of it was seeing what was done by Rouse in his Greek Boy at Home. For first year students of Attic Greek, he composed a lengthy story entirely in Attic Greek and taught his classes by immersive methods. The vocabulary list he compiled has the Greek words defined in simple Attic Greek. His students did as well or better than more traditional students when they took the exams to get into university studies in classics. Rouse taught boys in high school. Now granted, they had been exposed to Latin first, which may have helped some with the grammar concepts.

Anyway, he is my inspiration for this idea. As he went through the story, the vocabulary gradually increases in difficulty.

I like your idea for the class. Some use a short book like Jonah or Ruth with a simple storyline to start in Hebrew immersion.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים

talmid56
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 am
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA

Re: My New Biblical Studies Blog

Postby talmid56 » Tue May 08, 2018 9:31 am

I am basing the vocabulary, syntax and idiom of my Hebrew definitions on what I know from observation in the Hebrew Bible, particularly on simple narrative and conversational material (of which there is quite a bit in the Tanakh). Per Rouse, I normally use the lexicon form of the verb in the definition (normally Qal qatol form, 3rd sg.) as this is easier to recognize, and as these are definitions, not elegantly phrased sentences per se. This project is only concerned with the vocabulary in Jonah.

What I have done so far is a first draft and has not been checked for mistakes. I would be glad to send you a copy if you'd like to take a look.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים

talmid56
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 am
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA

Re: My New Biblical Studies Blog

Postby talmid56 » Tue May 08, 2018 9:34 am

As for the pronunciation to use in the class, you go with what you have. As we know, the Tiberian is ancient, we just don't know how ancient. You can of course advise the class of these uncertainties. But this is a common issue in ancient language studies.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים

kwrandolph
Posts: 909
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: My New Biblical Studies Blog

Postby kwrandolph » Wed May 09, 2018 1:06 pm

talmid56 wrote:Karl wrote:
Wouldn’t this work only with fairly advanced students? How would they understand the definitions unless they’re already advanced?


Well, the vocabulary used for the definitions, as much as possible, is the range that is normally learned in the first two years.


“First two years”? My goal is to have students start reading Tanakh within the first two months.

The first time I read Tanakh through, it took me four years. After taking one year of class, other than a few isolated verses, I had not read Tanakh for two years. Then I started reading Genesis. Remembering how slowly I read at first, I can encourage reading while warning students not to be too impatient at first.

talmid56 wrote:As for my Hebrew being up to snuff, that is a valid question. I am more at home reading than composing in Hebrew.


Of course. All of us are that way. Even in English.

Now when I try to compose in Hebrew, I do so by what sounds right, rather than by learned rules. Even then I often find myself second-guessing myself and unsure.

talmid56 wrote:As I said, this is an experiment, a first attempt. The reason I thought of it was seeing what was done by Rouse in his Greek Boy at Home. For first year students of Attic Greek, he composed a lengthy story entirely in Attic Greek and taught his classes by immersive methods. The vocabulary list he compiled has the Greek words defined in simple Attic Greek. His students did as well or better than more traditional students when they took the exams to get into university studies in classics. Rouse taught boys in high school. Now granted, they had been exposed to Latin first, which may have helped some with the grammar concepts.

Anyway, he is my inspiration for this idea. As he went through the story, the vocabulary gradually increases in difficulty.

I like your idea for the class. Some use a short book like Jonah or Ruth with a simple storyline to start in Hebrew immersion.


Attic Greek is far better known than Biblical Hebrew. That is a good way of teaching Attic Greek.

I have seen so many cases where there is a formulaic composition of what is called “Biblical Hebrew” but which just doesn’t feel right. Or even worse I can see immediately where it’s wrong. By just letting the language flow over me, rather than rigorously analyzing it, has given me more of a feel for the language than a formulaic understanding. It’s that feel for the language that we use as native speakers of English. It’s that feel for the language that I want to impart to my students.

Karl W. Randolph.


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