Hebrew

A Handy Guide to Scholarly Editions of the Bible

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I received in the mail today, as I’m sure some of you have, a handy guide to the scholarly editions published by the German Bible Society. It’s a guide geared for first-year students, “who might benefit from a basic introduction like this.” There are short write-ups on the BHK, BHS, and BHQ, as well as a short history on the Greek New Testament.

If you’re interested in perusing this handy little guide, you can download the pdf. And, be sure to check out the website, Academic Bible, where you can view the text of these scholarly editions of the bible.

Αυτω η δοξα

OT Textual Criticism

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Having to work through yet another set of text-critical issues for my paper, I am content to think of such exercises as providential plagues! How long, O Lord, how long?

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason

Call for Resources

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I have decided to preach through the book of Jonah at the conclusion of this semester (and before I start summer sessions). Here’s where I need your suggestions–resources! I have plenty in the way of lexical and grammatical resources, but not in the way of commentaries and other resources. I don’t only want suggestions for commentaries, but any other volumes specific to the book of Jonah that are helpful in understanding the book.

What volumes do you suggest?

The criteria are:

  1. Must be written by a notable OT scholar (would anyone else attempt such a feat?)
  2. Must be accessible, i.e. I don’t want to waste time reading rabbit chases cased in technical jargon!
  3. Must be affordable. I have a wife, four kids, and a summer and fall’s worth of tuition to pay for, so I have to be judicious in my selections!

That’s not asking too much, is it? ;-)

I plan to start the series on Sunday, May 2, which means I’ll begin preparing the previous Monday. I have several OT introductions and other materials that will be useful in preparing the first sermon (in which I try to set up the background of the letter/account), but I would like to have books in hand by  Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason

Quote of the Day

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Thanks to Dr. Claude Mariottini for the quote of the day (taken from his post on the divine name):

“Christians should avoid using the name Jehovah because it does not provide an accurate translation of the Hebrew name for God. And, although I am going against the majority of Biblical scholars on this issue, I believe we should take seriously God’s desire that he wants to be remembered forever by his name.”

Read the whole thing here.

HT: Charles Savelle

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason

Hebrew is…

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…killing me!

I’ve mentioned how I’ve neglected my Hebrew since I graduated seminary and now it’s catching up with me. Here’s an analogy. Hebrew is a pool/sea/other body of water and mostly I’ve been able to tread water well enough to keep my head above the surface, maybe even muster the strength to break out into a nice rhythm and actually swim. However, just about the time I get going, something happens and I find myself struggling to stay afloat!

Anyway, I am thoroughly enjoying exegeting the book of Ruth and hope to avoid completely drowning through the remainder of the semester.

A lesson for the kids out there–don’t neglect your languages when you finish seminary!

,שָׁלוֹם

Jason

Translating

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TC recently opined concerning how his Greek suffered in 2009. Ever since I graduated from seminary in 2004, my knowledge of Hebrew has considerably weakened. In an attempt to remedy this unfortunate state, I’ve been reviewing Hebrew grammar and vocabulary for a little while now and I am noticing improvement. Though memorizing paradigms and vocabulary are important, I have found actually translating the text to be more beneficial for relearning what I thought was forever burned into my brain.

One example from seminary reinforces this for me. I took a Hebrew exegesis class on the Psalms and one of our assignments was to recite Psalm 23 (with no helps or prompts obviously) before the class. It was a minor assignment, only a small percentage of the final grade, but it turned out to be a most helpful exercise. I, of course, memorized it and recited it and went on with the remainder of the semester toiling through the quizzes, paper, and exams. But even now, so many years later, I remember that psalm. I stumble through a couple of the verses, but because I learned to read it and say it, I feel it stuck with me.

Now, depending on the text I am reading and/or translating, I see a word that is used in that psalm, regardless of the inflection, and I can usually parse it so that I can move on in the text. It is so time-consuming to stop and look up a word in a lexicon or in the footnotes (I use A Reader’s Hebrew Bible for my current endeavor). So when I run across those occasional words that occur in Psalm 23, I am reminded of the importance reading, translating, and memorizing have in my efforts to become proficient in Hebrew.

Are there any particular methods you have used that have been helpful?

,שָׁלוֹם

Jason

Hebrew Vocabulary

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One of the things necessary to mastering a language is to learn the vocabulary (obviously!). In my recent endeavors to strengthen my Hebrew skills to their former glory, I began reviewing vocabulary. I did this primarily through translating and reading from the Hebrew Bible, which has been a slow and arduous task. I also employed flash cards, specifically the Master Set of Bible Flash Cards from EKS Publishing. This particular set is keyed for use with their The First Hebrew Primer, 3d ed. There are 335 words in this set, which represent the words in the HB that appear at least 200 times, many of them occurring more than 500 times. Clearly I will need to master these and the words that occur less frequently, but I was pleased with the amount of vocabulary I have retained since my days in seminary. I would guess I knew approximately 85% of these 335 words. I still have a long way to go, but I was pleased to have remembered this much!

שָׁלוֹם,

Jason

Coming Soon from Zondervan

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Some of you may be miffed about the whole TNIV thing, but Zondervan has a wonderful new bible slated to be published in 2010:  A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible! (HT: Matthew Montonini)

I know several folks have made known their disgust over the TNIV because they had shelled out a hefty sum for a study bible. The same goes for me with this one–I spent a fair amount purchasing the Hebrew and Greek reader’s bibles, only now to know they will be combined. I guess it was only a matter of time…

And, yes, I will likely purchase one of these–it looks like a lovely bible!

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason

More Light on the Path

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Since I first heard of this devotional guide, I have wanted to purchase a copy. It is entitled More Light on the Path: Daily Scripture Readings in Hebrew and Greek. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

“Following in the tradition of the well-received Light on the Path, which was published in the early 1980s, More Light on the Path provides a unique and useful resource for pastors and seminary students who desire to keep their biblical language skills well-honed. Like the earlier volume, this work consists of brief daily readings drawn from the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. Grammatical notes and translation helps are provided with the text, and in most instances, the reader will be able to work through difficult sections without having to turn to lexicons or other reference works.”

Does anyone reading this post own a copy (or a copy of the first edition)? What are your thoughts on it?

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason

Bible Reading

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I have taken up a task that I set about to start some time ago, but for various reasons, did not start in earnest: reading through the Bible in the original languages. Though I have exegeted many passages from both testaments, I want to focus on reading through the text, vocalizing aloud as I go through in hopes of retaining more of the text in my memory. I am under no delusion that this will be an easy task, but I think it will be very rewarding.

The tools I will use in this endeavor are:

A Reader’s Greek New Testament: 2nd Edition by Richard J. Goodrich and Albert L. Lukaszewski

Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament by Warren C. Trenchard

A Reader’s Hebrew Bible by Philip A. Brown,  II  and Bryan W. Smith

Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew by Miles V. Van Pelt and Gary D. Pratico

I am much more nimble working through the Greek and have long needed to shore up my Hebrew, so hopefully I will accomplish this, as least as much as such an exercise could do so.

Has anyone else taken up this task?

Αυτω η δοξα,

Jason