[b-hebrew] OT: a link about Modern Hebrew

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Jun 7 02:31:10 EDT 2004

Dear Vadim:

I view the difference between modern and Biblical Hebrew to be greater than the difference between ancient Hebrew and ancient Aramaic, which the speakers of one could not understand the other.

For me, personally, ignorance of modern Hebrew was not of choice, but because I did not have the opportunity to study modern Hebrew. Now I view it as an advantage. I studied Biblical Hebrew from an unpointed text. I read it in a font from before the Galut Babel. I read it while analysing lexemes from every occurrance found in Tanakh according to a recognized scholarly concordance. My goal was to learn Biblical Hebrew the same way a native speaker in the 8th century BC would have learned it.

To give an example: I learned German while living in an area where the local dialect spoken was a branch of Alamanisch (which, apparently, Rashi spoke. I noticed Yiddisch is similar to Alamanisch.). Now, when I try to speak German, I have an Alamanisch accent. However, it is corrupted by my ancestral language of Norwegian. Germans, when they hear that, can‘t figure out which part of Germany I‘m from. The Alamanisch accent mixed with the Norwegian accent mixed into my high German makes for quite a confusion.

My ignorance of modern Hebrew is now an advantage, as my Biblical Hebrew is uncontaminated by even Mishnaic Hebrew. So, for example, when I viewed the ”Josiah stone“ forgery, I had a whole list of examples that sounded strange long before I reached the use of BDQ as a verb that tipped off those who know modern Hebrew that the stone might be a forgery. In fact, the BDQ example was rather minor IMHO than the other examples.

This is not the same as knowing modern French to understand medieval French, rather it is more like knowing modern English to understand Anglo-Saxon.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "VC" <vadim_lv at center-tv.net>

> Since the difference between the ancient and modern Hebrew is relatively
> minor, and could be covered in a month or so, which is not a major term for
> people devoting their life time to Hebrew studies, may I suggest that this
> negligence to the modern Hebrew has doctrinal roots?
> In your example, Medieval French scholar relies on the publications of
> French-speaking scientists, and so needs the modern French. But in the
> Hebrew studies, opinions of the Jews are a curiosity at the most because
> they do not understand the divine message, anyway. Believe it or not, this
> is the reply I once got from a reputable group of scholars working on the
> translation of Tanakh.
> Best regards,
> Vadim Cherny
> > Unfortunately, yes. I complain about it every chance I get ( and have done
> > so on this list). No scholar of Medieval French literature would dare not
> be
> > able to read Modern French.
> >
> > Yigal
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