"Non-Academic" Original Languages?

Trevor & Julie Peterson 06peterson at cua.edu
Wed Dec 18 22:04:08 EST 2002


Peter wrote:

> Those who come to biblical Hebrew from modern
> Hebrew have a strong tendency, which we have seen expressed on this
> list, to assume that BH verb forms have the same tense and aspect
> meanings as those already internalised for modern Hebrew.

As I say, I think the differences need to be stressed with modern speakers.
The drawback to Randall's approach is that BH lacks the breadth to
constitute a real, spoken language. For that matter, as a collection of
literary dialects, it would probably be appropriate to say that it was never
a spoken language as such. Also, our grasp of the language still has
significant holes that I think are better addressed in abstraction than as
integral elements of an attempted spoken language. Because modern Hebrew is
a living language, such holes do not exist, allowing students to learn the
language accurately and confidently on every point. What they don't learn
formally can be reinforced by interaction with living speakers. This
provides a more certain starting point from which to branch out into the
more shadowy world of ancient literary dialects.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics




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