OFF TOPIC Modern Hebrew question

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at
Fri May 17 11:17:21 EDT 2002

I agree with the contention, but another angle on the issue is, who would 
teach Shakespeare without being able at least to read Modern English, even to 
converse in it? I don't know, because I've never gone through such a program, 
but I wonder whether it is normal for someone to teach older stages of, say, 
German, French, or English without knowing the modern form of the language?

Trevor Peterson

>===== Original Message From "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried at> =====
>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
>> ---
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