My next class for MOLLI will be titled “What the Bible Really Says“. You can read more about the class here. If you choose to visit the page, however, feel free to browse through some of the other course offerings. But, just to pique your interest, give these two articles a glance. You’ll get a good idea of what it means to discover what the Bible really says.
- Does God Say Please?
- What Does “In Christ” really mean?
This up and coming course, like the Genesis Creation stories are often surprising to most of us. In my view, this is because the Bible has been interpreted largely through contemporary, Western eyes. However, when studied from an Ancient Near East perspective our understanding is so much more deeply enriched. Those of you who have taken one or more of my classes know that the Bible is anything but a set of fabulist stories meant for children, scientific illiterates, and other non-sophisticates.
What are these classes like? Well, I usually like to spend the first session re-introducing students to the Bible as it was read and understood in its original language by its original audience – the ancient Hebrews of the Canaan highlands. Even though this introduction is brief, you’ll be surprised at how little headway modern biblical scholarship has made in deepening our understanding of the Bible and contemporary religious teaching. Much of the resistence to new findings is the fear that existing doctrine will be weakened or, at its worse, overturned. Poppycock. It is precisely this head-in-the-sand view of the Bible that has led to rather egregious misunderstanding of the text. This class, What the Bible Really Says, seeks to address many of these misunderstandings straight on.
The first change you’ll notice is that I’ve changed the [Forums] tab to [Discussions].
The second change is I’ve fixed the permissions. If you’re a registered user of the website you can now post new topics and replies to existing ones.
The Coffee (preferably fresh ground French Roast) is mandatory when trying to achieve a most excellent translation.
I’ve added a new forum under the [Discussions] tab titled “Verse Translations” – click here to go there now This forum provides a mechanism to share your translations of various verses of the Hebrew Bible. If you wish to share one of your translations, please try to follow these guidelines (not hard and fast). They are designed to enhance your translation and reading skills. This is the format that I use for all of my formal translations.
- Type the verse in Hebrew using the Unicorn Editor (available here). If you do not have a Hebrew Bible you can copy any verse from a free Hebrew source here.
(HINT: Do not use any of the many free English-Hebrew interlinear Bibles. You should not be looking at the English text until step #3 below)
This a very, very important step. When typing (or handwriting) the actual Hebrew it forces me to focus carefully on the spelling of each word. This serves to slow me down and concentrate more intensely. Transcribing (whether typing or longhand) the words in Hebrew is one of the very best ways to learn how to recognize the words and the patterns they often form.
- When the verse is complete, I write a close approximation of how the verse is to be pronounced (HINT: I highly recommend that you listen to the verse spoken in Hebrew you’re translating here).
- Next, I translate each word in the verse as best I can. Any word I am not completely and 100% sure about, I look up in a Hebrew online lexicon such as can be found here. Finally, I highlight the word in red then say the word in Hebrew at least 20 times.
- At this point, I know the meanings of all the words in the verse. It’s now to perform three translations in the following order:
- A mechanical, word-for-word translation. Mechanical translations often make little or no sense.
- A literal translation. This is close to a mechanical translation, but the text is anglicized (e.g., put subjects before their verbs, add punctuation, and so forth). A literal translation makes a bit more sense, but is often ambiguous.
- A formal translation. This translation attempts to convey in English what you believe the original author meant to convey in Hebrew. I try to preserve, as much as possible, the form, literalness, and earthiness of the original text.
- Finally, I copy the translations from the NIV and the NET bibles for comparison.
As its first topic, I’ve added my translation of Genesis 15:1 so you might see first hand how this all works out.
Well, about two years ago my wife and I decided to move to Montana and here we are. However it was impossible to develop the learning aspect of this blog and so its development has been dormant over this period. But, now that we’ve moved into our new house and winter is just around the corner, I will be working aggressively to finish the lessons.
On the docket will be to better integrate Quizlet into the lessons and add Scriptural context to the presentation of nouns and verbs.
I’ve added a forum tab (MOLLI Forums). But in a week or so, I’ll be changing the name to include forums to discuss learning biblical Hebrew.