Hebrew and Israel and a Book on Inscriptions

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at gmx.de
Tue Nov 9 14:31:18 EST 1999

My Biblical Hebrew is much further along than Modern Hebrew, though I have 
completed a course amounting to the ulpan level gimmel in modern Hebrew. 
Basically, I know enough to go to Israel and find out I don't know a whit. Unfortunately, 
I am getting married and am too poor to transplant my entire family to Israel, so 
unless I end up getting a job there, I don't plan on being what I would call fluent in the 
language. I do aspire to be able to read it though, for purposes of the Fachliteratur. In 
terms of the linguistics, I really don't see too much relevance of Modern Hebrew. I 
have a personal interest in modern Hebrew poetry, though. (If one dare call that stuff 

And I am not terribly sure about the sine qua non thing. In my frantic struggle for a 
pen-pal, I have been astounded by the number of people I have run into on Jewish and 
Hebrew lists and sites who do not know modern Israeli Hebrew.

You asked about being able to help. Well, I am looking for a letter or e-mail 
correspondance in modern Hebrew. I have LingoMAIL, and can receive and send 
Hebrew mails. Anyway, finding people who are willing to talk to me is pretty hard, as I 
am a committed Christian who knows more about Judaism than most Jews. Not that 
I am tooting my own horn. I just major in the stuff. I admit to knowing much less than 
virtually all graduated scholars, but scholars are hard to come by. Do you know where 
I can get in touch with Israelis who would be interested in talking to a guy like me? I 
really need to work on my active writing skills, so if I ever do end up in Israel with a 
need to learn the language quickly, it won't be such a shock. Letters would be better, 
so I would be more inclined to take the time to write them properly and in so doing 
save myself some embarassment. E-mails find a way to get rushed. But I will take 
what I can get. Though I am a Christian, I tend to like to AVOID talking about 
theological subjects with Jews or Christians unless I am already assured that I am on 
a VERY similar wavelength than my partner. I hate meeting people who I am tempted 
to respect, only to have that friendship ruined by differing religious beliefs. The 
healthiest relationship I have with an academian is my epigraphy teacher because we 
don't mutter a peep about personal religious views. We just peep about epigraphy.

As far as the visit, well, the only way you could help me is by getting a scholarship for 
me to get a doctorate over there that would be sufficient for me to support my wife 
and daughter. I would be willing to work as much as possible without damaging my 
studies, but of course, I don't know modern Hebrew fluently.

But we all do what we can in this world. Some just don't have the privilege of running 
all over the world learning all kinds of languages. But my wife and daughter are worth 
the sacrifice.

I assume the book you mentioned is translated into English? I would like to know if the 
ISBN you gave me is to the Hebrew or English. I would like to get it in Hebrew (if I get it 
at all - can you tell me more about it?).

I have decided to go ahead and put this on the list, although it is personal and 
off-topic, because I am indeed looking for "penpals". Maybe someone on the list would 
be interested. For those of you who are not, and don't enjoy your boxes getting 
cluttered with personal style mails about off-topic subjects, you can be rest assured 
that I will stick to Hebrew linguistics in the future.


---------- Original Message ----------

>>if I really 
>>fall in love with the language and/or find the time to really learn it

>i noticed you mentioned ... "[akkadian] fluently" ... and also "modern
>hebrew" in your list. 

>i hope that means that you are already fluent in hebrew. 
>that is a sine qua non if you are serious about doing your best in biblical

>what levels are necessary? 
>i would say about 5000 vocabulary level for BH, 6000-10000 for modern.
>if you're not there, then by all means plan a visit over here. i'll be glad
>to help out where i can.

>on inscriptions that you've mentioned interest in, you may want 

>asuppat ketovot `ivriyyot
>by shmuel aHitov
>jerusalem: mosad bialik, 1992
>ISBN 965-342-602-8
>eng tit: handbook of ancient hebrew inscriptions

>it's nice to work on these things within the language, as it were.

>randall buth
>rothberg, hebrew u.
>jerusalem univ. coll.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list