Study Program

NBTP nbtp at
Mon Aug 21 10:24:15 EDT 2000

Dear friends,

Thanks for your responses regarding my inquiry on Study Program.  Below is one 
that I received from Randall Buth.  It might help those of you looking for some 
similar study program.


For (...institution deleted...) and Hebrew materials I would recommend
getting ahold of a copy of our Living Biblical Hebrew for Everyone, vol. 1
with 3 audio CDs. (cost $65/unit, or $40/unit in orders over 10). That and
a CD walkman could give you an attractive and encouraging 'demonstration
station' (is that what you mean by 'station' above?) for prospective Hebrew
students. Students are drawn into the material by natural curiousity, a
light, fun atmosphere, changing contexts and constant Hebrew, resulting in
double to triple efficiency and retention for that specific phase of Hebrew
learning. Students who have worked through this material have loved it.
(See a recent testimonial following these notes from an experienced ESL

On JUC, probably the first point to underline is that while there will be
much that continues on in the programs, current PR (public relations)
materials are out of date. There are new courses planned and some different
orientations for older courses.  The overall theme is/will be
"Biblical Hebrew in Israel".
Some new PR/catalogue material will start to be available in September
after our first Academic council meeting. However, while all official
material must wait for proper channels before it can appear there are
several points that I can state 'by word of mouth', having already gotten
oral approval.

Programs offered at JUC will continue the MAs in
Hebrew Bible/Semitic languages and
Hebrew Bible Translation.
One year 'cerificates' are also available on an individual basis. Several
overall parameters will go into guiding the restructuring of the new Hebrew
MA programs.

1. 'One year' of biblical Hebrew is required as a prequisite for MA
the Home for Bible Translators for any needing it. The intensive 100%
BIBLICAL Hebrew ulpan is taught along the lines of modern language
acquisition for increased efficiency. Total Physical Response, pictures for
listening comprehension, dialogues and drills, annotated readings and
interspersed grammar descriptions are part of the curriculum. The 6-week
class starts from absolute zero Hebrew and proceeds to read Jonah, Ruth and
selected stories from Judges. Notes include a "discourse analysis"

2. A focus in the MA programs will be put on reading and internalizing the
Biblical language. One new class in the Fall and two new classes in the
Spring will illustrate this:
a.    For example, this Fall, first semester students will read the whole
of Genesis in one 4-unit class.

b.    In Spring: "Reading the Parasha", which means following the weekly
parasha readings in class and a couple of visits to synagogues to hear
various traditions (e.g. Iraqi, Temani, Moroccan). (This is orally approved
and will become 'official' after August.) The focus is on expanding
vocabulary, and advanced recognition of syntax and style.

c.    Also Spring: "Readings in historical and geographical texts". Stories
from the Hebrew Bible are studied in class and both slides and 'on site'
field trips will add to the learning experience. You may think of this as a
Hebrew extension to the Physical settings class. Since that class will be a
prerequisite, the focus will be on Hebrew texts and land more than
English/maps and land. (Again, approved and soon to be 'official')

3. An atmosphere of Hebrew immersion will be made available for those
interested. MA students will be encouraged to read 1/2 of the Hebrew Bible
while at JUC. (This may not become official for a year or two but we will
begin planning such schedules, for those interested, from the beginning.)
Comprehensive tests will test this by setting a BH 'vocabulary standard' in
the 3000-4000 range.

4. The Cultural backgrounds course(s) will be taught with special sections
for Hebrew majors so that coursework and readings are based on the Hebrew
Bible. (I.e. Hebrew semantic domains and artifacts will be presented rather
than English.)
(An additional 1 credit is being discussed as an addition for students who
fulfill the Hebrew content of the course.)

5.  Paradoxically, Modern Hebrew (MH) will be removed from the credit part
of the program but provision will be made to learn it to relatively high
levels. (Being able to read and interact with Israeli biblical scholarship
is a valuable skill and attainable within a two-year in-country program.
Also, MH morphology reinforces Biblical morphology and MH provides a matrix
that allows better retention of BH vocabulary.) Mornings will be left open
for students to attend local government ulpans. Students who want a 'modern
immersion' will find it possible to mix it with the JUC program. A modern
Hebrew level attainment (alef-vav, including 'petor') will be placed on a
transcript at a student's request. However, students electing little or no
modern Hebrew will not be penalized and ALL students will be evaluated and
credited solely by their attainment and work in BIBLICAL Hebrew. (A
parallel bi-focal example: starting this Fall we will have two different
introductory biblical Hebrew classes. A 'traditional' approach working
through a grammar and especially targeted to one semester students
returning to the US; and the highly interactive BH class [like the 'BH
ulpan' above], recommended for those continuing at JUC or wanting a fuller
Hebrew experience.)

6.  Both the BH Translation degree and the Hebrew Bible/Semitic Languages
degree will require discourse analysis/textlinguistics. Students will be
expected to learn to appreciate and to interpret the syntactic signals in
BH styles and genres.

7. The overall philospophy will emphasize doing in Israel what is best done
in Israel. (PS: Aramaic, especially Jewish Aramaic and targumic/midrashic
method (new) is considered an 'in Land' advantage and will be part of the
program. History of Hebrew and Canaanite inscriptions, likewise. Special
optional programs in LXX and 'living' Koine Greek (new) will also be
available. Arabic, too, but that is mainly for MiddleEast majors. On the
otherhand, Ugaritic or Akkadian will be recommended mainly for those whose
modern Hebrew has reached '"he-level" or higher' or those not doing MH; not
because Ug and Akk are not valuable but because they can be studied equally
well anywhere and preferably after one is fluent in one Semitic language.)

Please email me in about three/four weeks when we have a more official
write-up. Everything has had to wait this summer for the Academic council
.. from an ESL teacher:  "Am now on PictureLesson 5 and continue to enjoy
this self-study method of developing my
aural comprehension skill in a foreign language.  In fact, it's the easiest
and most pleasant I've ever experienced. ..."

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list