OFF TOPIC Modern Hebrew question

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at
Fri May 17 10:55:29 EDT 2002

I'd like to piggy-back on Jim's remark.
I was turned down for two jobs because I
could not conduct Bible classes in modern Hebrew!
I asked one dept chair why that would be necessary,
and she asked me in return how anyone would consider
teaching Shakespear in Russian!.
Well, goodness. I hope people are teaching Shakespear
in Russian. Students should certainly read the text in
the original, but the class could definitely be conducted
in Russian. How would teaching it in modern English
facilitate learning any more than teaching it in Russian????

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim West [mailto:jwest at]
> Sent: Thu, May 16, 2002 12:39 PM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: OFF TOPIC Modern Hebrew question
> At 12:21 PM 5/16/02 -0400, you wrote:
> >
> >A distinguished professor at Hebrew U once made the comment that
> >the whole field suffers for lack of fluent control of the
> language(s).
> we would all agree.  however- now we must decide which
> languages one needs
> fluent control of to do biblical studies.  1) biblical
> hebrew; 2) LXX greek;
> 3) koine.  perhaps as well one should certainly be familiar
> with aramaic and
> classical greek.  but, pray do tell, why is it necessary to
> read modern
> hebrew to be a student of the bible?  i am extraordinarily
> curious as to how
> reading modern hebrew or for that matter any modern language
> at ALL will
> help one read documents well over 2000 years old.  if so- how
> so?  and which
> modern languages must we have control of in order to meet whatever
> requirements are set for us in the field of biblical studies?
>  and who are
> these people setting the linguistic requirements anyway?  is it an
> individual? a committee? when did this committee meet?
> where?  for how
> long?  where are the minutes of their meeting so we can
> examine them and see
> their reasons for their choices?
> in short- to suggest that if one does not read modern hebrew-
> or control it
> (whatever that is supposed to mean) then one isnt a good
> scholar of ancient
> texts is a gross misstatement and falsity.  one can be a
> profoundly good
> exegete and not have any inkling of modern hebrew.
> >It's hard for a school to require something at a PhD level
> that would
> >naturally have been expected in the first two-three years of a first
> >degree.
> >
> what do you mean *naturally expected*?  are you implying that
> nature itself
> teaches us that we should have mastery of modern hebrew
> before we can be
> competent in exegesis?  where exactly does nature teach us
> this lesson????
> i await your articulate response.
> best
> jim
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Jim West, ThD
> Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies
> Quartz Hill School of Theology
> Biblical Studies Resources
> ---
> You are currently subscribed to b-hebrew as: [lizfried at]
> To unsubscribe, forward this message to
> $subst('Email.Unsub')
> To subscribe, send an email to join-b-hebrew at

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list