Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Learning English to learn Hebrew

The third semester of Hebrew is moving on.  This one is pushing us to do academic level text analysis of Hebrew sentences, which I suppose is ideally necessary for a theologian.  Thus, we aren't really immersed in the language, but more feeling like we have one toe in the language and most of the work involves comparisons and touches the disciplines of linguistics and semantics.  A major work that we have, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensia (BHS) is a Hebrew Bible, but in the footnotes it has a list of every point where ancient sources deviate from the semi-official Masoretic text of the Hebrew.  That can come from dozens of different documents, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and - as if this isn't enough - we have a Samaritan Pentateuch and Syriac Targums.  Most verses will have some point where a stroke is different across the 100 or so original documents, and then we have to analyze it to death.

Next, we have to start dissecting the grammar.  This is what I hated most in school, but now it is done at a new level.  Most of my vocabulary learning this semester is due to this:  "genetive", "dative", "cohortative", "inclusio", "causative", "factative", ...  They aren't exactly Hebrew words.  Hopefully three months will go by quickly.

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