OFF TOPIC Modern Hebrew question

Shawn Madden smadden at sebts.edu
Sat May 18 11:55:07 EDT 2002


Might the question of using modern Hebrew to teach classical Hebrew not be
handled this way. There is a school of thought that in the teaching of
classical Hebrew one is merely teaching the students to observe what has
been produced by the ancient writers and is not really that interested in
"producing" or "creating" sentences in classical Hebrew. I use this method
my self. However, I saw a history channel series on Elizabeth I that
pointed out that she was taught her plethora of non-English languages by
having her not only be able to read what she found already produced but
she was also required to produce dialogue in those languages. It was said
on that show that that was the superior method of teaching a foreign
language. ONe of our professors here at Southeastern who was taught a
Jewish Union in Cincinatti, remarked that that was how he was taught and
that he did the same thing in his class. If you look at Wiengreen's
textbook he has exercises in both Hebrew to English and English to Hebrew.

So, that being said, is it not more to the point that in teaching Hebrew
the students could/should learn to produce the language (whether in Modern
or Classical forms) to improve their understanding and skills? I am
considering this for my next year's class.

To the other point about learning modern Hebrew to access the works of
modern Hebrew scholars. Good idea but so too one should have a facility in
a plethora of languages that have secondary works in those languages about
classical Hebrew. Again, German being primary, but also French, Dutch,
Italian, Modern Hebrew, etc. Of course this works out that one should know
a whole bunch of languages to seriously be able (yes, I like to regularly
split infinitives!) to address an issue, not just the modern version of
the classical language under consideration.



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