Thursday, June 07, 2007


It's been almost a week since I've written anything. I am still recovering from trying to speed-read Bauckham's Jesus and the Eye Witnesses - not a good idea. But what a beautiful Grammar Book I have been loaned - Brettler, Marc Zvi , Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew, 2002 [marvelous!]

Can you imagine a marvellous Grammar book? It is so cool - it reads in Hebrew and English concurrently and explains one or two words at a time in Hebrew so you learn fast. I am not a student of modern Hebrew but I've pored over Lambdin and a Hebrew-Latin concordance for a year and believe me this new book though based on Lambdin is a real speed-read. If only I took the time to do all the exercises - later...

The strongest component is its understanding of morphology - why propretonic reduction works and how consistent it really is. At some point, the implied rules will also help my root derivation algorithm - but that may need to wait till I retire from my day job :

Milestones: I no longer turn Hebrew books upside down - I can read the letters from the other side of the table without getting confused (that indicates internal visual brain connections growing - like the seed in the ground that grows without the farmer knowing).

Zvi's brilliant timing of his prose shows me that word recognition is happening without excessive conscious memorization. This shows that even old dogs can learn a language not by translation but by usage.

He introduces about 25 words per chapter - that's 275 words so far + a few more that aren't in the vocabulary lists. It's not many but I did recognize most of them immediately.

Newish psalms (some with minor changes, some a fresh draft) - the number in brackets is a word count - I'm looking for patterns...
Psalm -26 June 2007 (85)
Psalm -90 May 2007 (140)
Psalm 120 June 2007 (51)
Psalm 121 May 2007 (56)
Psalm 122 June 2007 (62)
Psalm 123 May 2007 (41)
Psalm 124 May 2007 (57)
Psalm 125 June 2007 (49)
Psalm 126 June 2007 (50)
Psalm 127 June 2007 (60)


Iyov said...

Marc Brettler has an interesting (albeit out-of-date) web page as well. His recent book How to Read the Bible (hardcover/paperback) attracted quite a bit of attention including (an interview on NPR). You may also be interested in this this interview (although Brettler seems to be gasping for air).

I wish you great success on your study of Tehillim. You may be interested in the Samson Rafael Hirsch's Psalter because of his very deep engagement with the Hebrew. I enjoy this psalter very much and may blog about it in the future. Your local library may have a copy.

Bob MacDonald said...

iyov - thank you; I see some books about Samson Raphael Hirsch in French and English at the two Ottawa libraries where I am at the moment. I am enjoying the NPR with Brettler.