[b-hebrew] Studying Modern and Biblical Hebrew

James Bowick bowick at idirect.com
Wed May 12 21:52:50 EDT 2004

To summarize, it seems then from what I hear that there are significant
advantages to studying both Biblical and Modern Hebrew together.  The
languages are quite similar, with the comparative features offering insight
one into the other.  But more importantly substantial scholarly work has
been written in Modern Hebrew, making it well worth learning.  On the other
hand, Biblical students are in danger of bringing modern meaning into the
Biblical text, as there are substantial differences, including broader
semantic domain in Modern Hebrew.  Perhaps the best course for me and those
in my position would be to put an 80% focus on Biblical, and a 20% focus on
Modern Hebrew.  Thus in most cases, the Biblical meanings and structures
will be learned first, resulting in a tendency to bring archaic meaning and
usage into Modern Hebrew rather than the other way around.

Thank you very much all those who have contributed to this discussion.  I
have not mentioned my career goals not because the advice is not
appreciated, but because I am not sure myself where I am going, and at any
rate that factor would not be relevant to anyone else on the list.  This
post is not intended to be a conversation stopper - please feel free to keep
posting and I will keep reading - but more to see what you folks think of my

James Bowick
M.Div. Cand.
McMaster Divinity College
Hamilton, Ontario

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