Wayne Steffen, editor-in-chief of Pacific Magazine, wrote an article for the March 2010 volume about my Biblical Hebrew course here at Fresno Pacific University. It has recently been put on FPU’s website.

He begins his article by describing language learning by immersion:


Probably not, so here’s what happened: You were surrounded by people much larger than you, who were making noises and moving their faces, hands and arms in ways that made sense to them. After awhile, you realized that these noises and gestures meant things—some good, like food and hugs; some not so good, like night-nights.

Fascinated, you copied those sounds and gestures. Then you discovered frustration as what you did didn’t bring the desired result. Still, the big people were encouraging, so you kept trying.

One day, success! You did something and the big people responded. From then on, no one could shut you up.

That method—immersion—is how you learned your first language. Immersion is also how Brian Schultz teaches biblical Hebrew.”

Although I wish I could say otherwise, the problem with first year Hebrew students isn’t getting them to “shut up,” but to speak even more. But what is exciting for me to see is their motivation to learn which seemingly can’t be “shut down.” It is certainly higher than in any of my other classes! And as the article points out, not a few have told me that Biblical Hebrew is their favorite class – and they aren’t even Biblical Studies majors!

Click here to read the rest.