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So far Randall Buth has created 34 blog entries.

More on Why Jesus was a Hebrew speaker

I appreciated the title of a recent essay (June 9, 2014) by Seth Sanders on Religion Dispatches entitled, “Why the Argument Over Jesus’ Language is More Complicated and More Interesting Than Media Experts Have Claimed.” In fact, many of Sanders’ points that elucidated the complexity of the language situation in the first century resonated with [...]

Differentiating Hebrew and Aramaic Backgrounds in Greek writings

Semitic influence on an ancient Greek writing has been discussed widely in Biblical Studies and Pseudepigraphical texts. In general, it is quite difficult to go deeper and to differentiate between Hebrew influence and Aramaic influence on a particular Greek text. The new volume, Randall Buth and R. Steven Notley, edd., The Language Environment of First-century [...]

Did Jesus Heal the Sick before or after the Sabbath Had Ended? (Luke 4:40; Mark 1:32; Matt. 8:16)

A little story begins in Luke 4:40 after the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39): Δύνοντος δὲ τοῦ ἡλίου ἅπαντες ὅσοι εἶχον ἀσθενοῦντας νόσοις ποικίλοις ἤγαγον αὐτοὺς πρὸς αὐτόν· ὁ δὲ ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ αὐτῶν τὰς χεῖρας ἐπιτιθεὶς ἐθεράπευεν αὐτούς. While the sun was setting all as many as were having sick people with various diseases, [...]

The Language Background and Literary Function of the Cry from the Cross Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34

We are finally able to provide the published text of the article on the "cry of dereliction" from the Brill volume, The Language Environment of First Century Judaea,  Randall Buth and R Steven Notley edd., (Brill, 2014, ISBN 9789004263406). The PDF of Randall Buth, "The Riddle of Jesus' Cry from the Cross: the Meaning of [...]

So what, in fact, does ἑβραϊστί mean?

A rather lengthy article "Hebraisti in Ancient Texts: Does ἑβραϊστί Ever Mean 'Aramaic'?" by Randall Buth and Chad Pierce has appeared in the Brill volume, The Language Environment of First Century Judaea,  Randall Buth and R Steven Notley edd., (Brill, 2014, ISBN 9789004263406). The article looks at the meanings and claims about the meanings of [...]

New Volume on First Century Language in Land of Israel

The Language Environment of First-Century Judaea, edited by Randall Buth and R. Steven Notley, (Brill, 2014, ISBN 9789004263406) has finally appeared. Here is a PDF of the table of contents and preliminary chapter "Introduction: Language Issues are Important for Gospel Studies" 9789004263406_01-Buth Intro May you enjoy the Volume.

Word Order, Focus-CC (Contextualizing Constituent, Topic) Inversion, Enclitics in Greek

While reading Philemon this morning I noticed what might be considered an inversion of Focus--Contextualizing Constituent (aka Topic) in the pre-verb area. The default order with two marked items, a CC and Focus, is normally from more topical to more salient, that is, first a CC then a Focus, followed by core template orders. Here [...]

Getting the Right Handles on the Greek Perfect

At SBL 2013 there was a session devoted to a description of the Greek perfect. Basically, there were three positions and they had been published previously. Stanley Porter argued that the perfect was a third aspect category in Greek with a meaning of "stative". Buist Fanning argued that the perfect entailed a complete action with [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:27+00:00 November 29th, 2013|ancient Greek, Blog, Greek perfect|7 Comments

Faith that Grows, Genesis 15v6

While the need for Hebrew is self-evident for Jewish interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, it’s need is sometimes diminished within Chrisitan communities for the New Testament. The following little study shows how a close reading of the Hebrew Bible can raise useful questions for New Testament interpretation, too. In fact both Jewish and Christian communities [...]

Relevance Theory and the Problem of Tense-Aspect in Biblical Hebrew

  Genesis 22 is a common narrative text that is used in introductory biblical Hebrew courses. There are several points of syntax and narrative style in that passage that are often overlooked by both beginning-intermediate students and even by Hebrew grammarians.   Consider Gen 22:3 ויקם וילך אל המקום אשר אמר לו האלהים and he [...]

What is wrong with calling the Hebrew verb “an aspect”?

The biggest problem with calling the Hebrew verb “an aspect” is the English language. This problem also applies to any language that clearly differentiates aspect from tense, like most of the European languages including Greek. Unfortunately, because Hebrew is quite different from Greek or English, the verb is often described as an “aspect” system that [...]

Eureka! I found a new approach to Greek.

This is a guest blog by Paul Nitz on Learning Another Language Through Actions , expanded 7th edition, by James J. Asher, Originator of the Total Physical Response known worldwide as TPR. Paul teaches Greek in Malawi and will be attending the Fresno BLC workshop this summer. Comments are welcomed: I had been looking for [...]

On Speaking and Scholarship

Students at our ulpans often ask about the relationship between speaking a language and scholarship. The question arises because most in the related academic fields do not currently advocate or practice speaking the language (and we are all greatful for the generations of scholarship in both Biblical Studies and Classics), yet we at BLC and [...]

Literacy development linked to oral development. Hmmm-?

I've been reading about reading again. A quote from a national report on literacy research caught my eye and seemed appropriate for general discussion on a blog. "It is not enough to teach language-minority students reading skills alone. Extensive oral English development must be incorporated into successful literacy instruction. The most promising instructional practices for [...]

Bar Koseba (Bar Kochba) and Modern Hebrew Today: Speaking a Language as a Window into an Ancient Language

Many processes in a language are basic to the human species and can provide insight into speakers of the past. Today when we speak Hebrew fast it is common to ask something like “ra’ita ’ta-nehag?” or more Tel-Avivian “raita ’ta-naag?” Did you see the driver? ראית את הנהג? The marker “et” את is swallowed up [...]

The Need for Some Speed in order to Read

I've been reading Frank Smith, Understanding Reading, A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Reading and Learning to Read, fifth edition, Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,1994. It is nice to be reading a fifth edition. That says that there has been some previous usefulness and that the author/publisher is trying to keep up. More germane to the [...]

Listening for reading

Question: I want to read the Hebrew Bible//Greek New Testament. Why is there so much listening in the BLC courses if the purpose of learning Hebrew//Greek is only for reading? Answer: Lots of listening and speaking will make you a significantly better reader of a new language. There are several reasons for using extensive listening [...]

Learning from Greek Inscriptions in Tiberias

Last year in the Greek immersion workshop in Galilee we were able to view some inscriptions in situ. The inscriptions are fun to read and provide a good learning experience. They can even be viewed over the internet. I've uploaded a picture of a text. Can you read any pieces of it? What can we [...]

Why am I speaking to you in Greek?

At SBL in the Applied Linguistics section I will be giving a lecture on the advantages of speaking Greek, for those who spend a significant part of their time working with ancient Greek literature of the post Alexander period. The lecture will be twenty minutes and primarily in English. Five and one-half minutes will be [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:41+00:00 November 12th, 2010|Blog|4 Comments

On the history of Hebrew YIQTOL and the Hebrew verb

I read an interesting article this weekend by Alexander Andrason, “The Panchronic YIQTOL: Functionally Consistent and Cognitively Plausible.” 62 pages. It is rather top-heavy with metalanguage from Cognitive Linguistics so I will try to summarize and interact with the main points, plusses and minuses, in language that gets halfway back to common English, including some [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:41+00:00 August 22nd, 2010|Blog|7 Comments

The Hebrew Language Academy on lamed-yud pi“el: גִלִּיתִי and גִלֵּיתִי

Yesterday, 27 Jan 2010, the Hebrew Language Academy confirmed that alternative 1st and 2nd person suffix tense (‘past’) forms of pi``el lamed-yud roots will be officially acceptable in modern Hebrew. גִלֵּיתִי will be acceptable, and apparently even גִלֵּיתָ. The reason for the confirmation and acceptance is that forms with both [i] and [e] occur in [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:44+00:00 January 28th, 2010|Biblical Hebrew verb, Hebrew Language Academy, Piel|2 Comments

Galilee Greek Immersion April 2010

Greek inscription at Hippos One of many inscriptions in Sephoris synagogue. Notice spelling of και. Overlooking 'parable bay', a nice place to preach from a boat Imagine breakfast to bed overlooking the Lake of Genneseret, all in Koine Greek. Reading the gospels, discussing them in Koine Greek, some fluency pedagogy, and visits to sites around [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:44+00:00 June 9th, 2009|Galilee, Greek immersion, Greek pedagogy, Koine Greek|0 Comments

The Irony of Samaria: Σαμαρεια / Σαμαρειτης in the Greek NT

The following is a little long for a note, but hopefully fun.There are several ironies in the spelling of Σαμαρεια/Σαμαρια in our Greek texts.Readers of United Bible Societies Greek text and the Nestle Aland text will be familiar with the following spellings:Σαμάρεια (the place), andΣαμαρίτης (a person of the place, male)Σαμαρῖτις (a person of the [...]

When do corrections need to be made with language learners? When does Erasmian pronunciation cross the line and need to be corrected?

When do corrections need to be made with language learners? When does Erasmian pronunciation cross the line and need to be corrected? Children need a stress-free environment for play and learning. Parents correct their children's speech, but not everything all at once and most of the time most any understandable utterance is accepted and praised. [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:45+00:00 April 25th, 2008|Erasmian pronunciation errors|2 Comments

Textual Criticism and Synoptics, the Case of ευθυς

On the importance of textual criticism in synoptic studies: the case of ευθυς. I have always viewed ευθυς as a nice marker of Matthew's use of Mark. [For the record, I am confident that both were composed in Greek. What of the Hebrew tradition in Papias? I see the Hebrew Matthew of Papias as refering [...]

Intensive Koine Greek, spoken immersion summer session

The Biblical Language Center, at Qibbutz Tzuba, just west of Jerusalem is offering its second annual, immersion Greek SXOLH this summer 2008. Two teachers in class teach in Koiné Greek, 90%+ of the time. Outside languages (e.g. English, Hebrew) are restricted to 10% within the classroom. From the beginning students start to play in the [...]

Arabic and Aspect and Tense

In a discussion on another blog, www.AncientHebrewPoetry.typepad.com , John Hobbins asked me about tense and aspect in Arabic, with an implicit question on its relevance to biblical Hebrew tense-aspect, "Does [Östen] Dahl represent a consensus point of view when he interprets the classical Arabic verbal system as at root aspectual? Or is there a continuing [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:46+00:00 February 10th, 2008|Blog|4 Comments

Teaching a “dead” vs a “live” language

[Excerpts from an email exchange between Randall Buth and others on whether a "dead" language, Greek in the discussion below, can ever be taught as a "live" language.]> I think that what is happening is that there is a clear distinction between> learning, reading and speaking a language that is NOT DEAD and learning, reading> [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:46+00:00 February 8th, 2008|Blog|1 Comment

Psalm 16:2: טוֹבָתִי בַּל עָלֶיךָ

This is a translation question from a student for Dr. Buth:Dear Dr. Buth,Last night i was reading Psalm 16 and struggled with some difficultverses. I would like to seek your opinion on verse two: אָמַרְתְּ לַיהוָהאֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי, בַּל-עָלֶיךָA straightforward reading seems strange and doesn't make sense: my welfare is not upon you.BDB interprets this [...]

By | 2017-06-12T21:31:47+00:00 February 6th, 2008|Blog|0 Comments

What’s with Christians and Hebrew in Israel?

BY RANDALL BUTHThe land of Israel offers new opportunities and can change Christian expectations for Hebrew learning. Literature is a weave of culture and language. Christian academic programs need to ensure a high level of Hebrew at the end of the day. An investment of six months or more should actively build toward internalization of [...]

By | 2011-09-14T23:25:18+00:00 January 22nd, 2008|Blog|0 Comments

Are We Serious About the Languages of the Bible: A Greek Parable

BY RANDALL BUTHThis is a parable written in Koine Greek, challenging Christian students to use common sense when setting goals of biblical language learning. What level would be honoring to our scriptures?Ἆρά γε τιμῶμεν τὰς ἡμῶν γραφάς;παραβολή, τίνι ὁμοιοῦται ὁ λόγος; ·ἄνθρωπός τις ἀπὸ τῶν Ἰνδωνησίων ἦν σόφος τοῦ Κωρᾶν,ἀποδημήσας δὲ εἰς τὴν Κάϊραν (ἐν [...]

By | 2011-09-14T23:25:32+00:00 January 22nd, 2008|Blog|1 Comment