Modern Hebrew --2

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at
Sun May 19 03:40:30 EDT 2002

>We aim to teach 100% Biblical Hebrew, no gapfilling. <

What is "100$ Biblical Hebrew"? The Hebrew of the Song of Deborah? Or perhaps the Hebrew of Daniel, written perhaps 1,000 years later?
As smeone has already pointed out, the Bible was written by many different authors living at different times and in different places.
Since the comparison of Shakespeare with Modern English has already been mentioned on this list, may I perhaps suggest that the Hebrew of the Song of Deborah compares with the Hebrew of Chronicles somewhat like the English of Chaucer compares with Modern English (Beowulf might be too distant for comparison).
Hebrew evolved and changed over a long period, from its earliest written records (one can dispute whether Canaanite or Phoenician iscrptions can be considered Hebrew for this discussion), down through Chronicles, Daniel and Esther, through Ben Sira and into Mishaic Hebrew, which itself developed.
As for the Indo-Europeaqn influence on Modern Hebrew, there's a lot of that in Mishnaic Hebrew as well. Gone is the waw-consecutive and many other things, and the tense system of Mish. Heb. is an entirely different thing from BH.
Mishnaic Hebrew evolves into Rabbinic Hebrew, though, which mainly a literary dialect, did exist and evolve over the centuries. And Modern Hebrew drew from all these sources.
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College

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