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 [...]
We've begun our Biblical Hebrew Instructors Fluency Workshop in Fresno. We will be posting photos on our Facebook page as well as updates during the workshop. For a video from the first day, here.
I first met Peter at SBL's annual meeting in 1997. A true friendship was formed that has covered the past fifteen years but has now been sadly cut short. Peter was interested in seeing students study Greek and Hebrew without going through a second or third language to their mothertongue. I was interested in seeing [...]
Just a quick note to inform our BLC friends that Peter Burton, Randall Buth's friend, colleague, and supporter of BLC, passed away peacefully on Thursday night (4 October 2012) of complications associated with ALS with which he had just recently been diagnosed. Peter's enthusiasm for the biblical languages and seeing them taught using Communicative Language [...]
An article by Randall Buth Introduction The basic premise of this paper is as follows: a generative-functional approach to the Biblical Hebrew (BH) nominal (or verbless) clause provides a simple, adequate, linguistic framework. It explains the discontinuities in the data and is able to unite and explain the Lists and ad hoc rules of many [...]
The BLC/FPU workshops are providing the field of New Testament studies with a unique opportunities for professors of Koine Greek. The community and environment created at these workshops is literally the only place where the field can experience what spoken fluency in Koine Greek may offer to the field. As such, the testimonies of the professors present should not be dismissed off hand.
At the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in San Francisco, CA, Brian Schultz presented a paper on "First Steps to get Started in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)." In his paper, he presented three options as to how instructors of biblical languages can begin incorporating some aspects of CLT into their curriculum.
A couple quick anecdotes. Last year I interviewed a few of my students to get their thoughts about my biblical Hebrew course taught using Communicative Language Teaching. The one student had the following comment: Learning Hebrew has been easier, so far as to say that I don't translate it. Like when I was learning French, [...]
Last week I had to give a talk to my colleagues, the faculty of the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences at Fresno Pacific University. I chose to speak on the importance of teaching the biblical languages and why I teach biblical Hebrew differently than the traditional way. In order to help me, I [...]
The video clip below is from the first year Hebrew class I am teaching at Fresno Pacific University. It is from the 8th class period of 50 mns each (if one counts the first class period in which all I did was hand out syllabi and explain the dynamics of the class). The point of [...]
A common objection to the communicative approach to teaching biblical languages is: "All we are aiming at is being able to read, not speak, the language." However, Frank Smith in his book "Reading without Nonsense" suggests that in order to truly read fluently, one has to depend less on deciphering the printed matter, and more on a background of already acquired knowledge. Though he does not highlight fluency as part of that body of "already acquired knowledge," it is presupposed throughout (indeed, it is unlikely that a non-fluent English speaker would be reading his work in the first place). It would seem, therefore, that without fluency, it is impossible to read effectively for meaning.
I've recently (re)read an article sent to me this past summer entitled "Preparing Latin Teachers for Second Language Acquisition," pp. 184-191 in Teaching Classical Languages (Spring 2010) by Robert Patrick, PhD. This online peer-reviewed journal can be found here, and the article in question here. While the BLC does not at this point provide resources [...]
First Things, published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an inter-religious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society, just posted an article entitled "Why study biblical languages?" In the post, the author Nicholas Frankovich highlights the difference between savoir and [...]
Biblical languages are usually taught using a Grammar-Translation approach, where one learns grammar rules and vocabulary in order to translate a text into one's mother tongue. The Biblical Language Center, however, purposely avoids GT in favor of the principles of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). Here are 10 reasons why.
Student motivation to learn and desire to invest even more time learning biblical Hebrew does not seem to be a problem for these students using the "Living Biblical Hebrew" curriculum. They planned a biblical Hebrew week-end retreat.
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: "REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A BABY? Probably not, so here’s what happened: [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]