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How Long to Hebrew or Greek for a hardworking student??

Discussion in 'Languages' started by rONniEx, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. rONniEx

    rONniEx Newbie

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    Hi
    Am planning to learn Biblical Hebrew and want to devote serious amount of time in it. Once I've achieved this then I'll go on to learning Greek...

    But first things first....which is easier to learn?? Hebrew or Greek??

    I want to have enough knowledge to be able to read and interpret these languages....

    God Bless
    rONniE
     
  2. jaihare

    jaihare New Member

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    For an English speaker, Greek is obviously easier. The order of the alphabet is closer to English; the vocabulary shares a lot of stock with English medical and biological terminology ("cardiac" comes from Greek καρδἰα "heart"; "thermal" comes from Greek θερμὀς "hot, heated", etc.); and, the structure of the language is much more comprehensible, especially for someone who has studied a bit of Latin. There's no doubt that Greek is easier to learn.

    Hebrew is more fulfilling, though — in my opinion. The goal when learning Biblical Hebrew is to learn noun formations really well (this means even the strange vowel quirks), to be able to recognize verb forms by tense, person and number, to be able to recognize objective/possessive suffixes and to become really handy with a dictionary. At that point, it becomes your challenge to simply spend a lot of time reading the Hebrew Bible (which is great for everyone!).

    When I was still in high school, I started my self-teaching of Koiné Greek. In college I ended up taking three years of Greek and also two years of Hebrew. I've never regretted studying either language, and (especially Hebrew) it stays with me every day of my life. I wish you well in your studies. Let us know if you have any questions.
     
  3. debi b

    debi b Senior Veteran

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    Mine too :thumbsup:

    Most grammar books focus on how to translate. This is a good first step. If you really want to understand it tho you need to learn how to read it the way it is written. If you are always rearranging things in your head to fit a good English sentence this is not fluent. I think if you have the opinion that this is something you are going to do and not leave it you will do well. Scripture really opens up at this point :D
     
  4. jellybean99

    jellybean99 Make me an instrument of Peace and Safety

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    Welcome to CF.

    The methods I employed to learn Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek are as follows:

    1. I obtained a Hebrew text (Weingreen - integrated with the Torah/Pentateuch) and attempted to make flash cards to learn the alphabet. I was unable to do this deceptively simple task, so I purchased some calligraphy pens and practiced until I could draw all the letters.
    2. I began taking a one year Biblical Hebrew course. In my opinion, the course is at least worth auditing for a couple of months to pick up pronunciations and learn how to pace yourself. I did complete it.
    3. Bible Colleges or Jewish libraries will have audio tapes to teach you modern conversational Hebrew. I found these helped with the memorization and brought the language to life.
    4. The last thing I wanted to do was go to Israel to either work in a Kibbutz or Archaeological dig so that I could be immersed in Jewish culture and be forced to learn the language. Circumstances have delayed that last step.
    I've been over-educated and am analytical by nature. Post-secondary education teaches students to carve up Scripture with their analytical tools. This has been detrimental to my devotional reading. The most rewarding part of learning Biblical languages is being able to curl up with Scripture and read it again with child-like wonder. It is enough for me to read the words and understand what is written.

    I found Hebrew to be a mind destroyer at times, especially at the pace we were learning the language. Learning to read Koine Greek was child's play in comparison.

    This is a new toy that I've been playing with. In addition to language translation, there are extensive word backgrounds and an audio feature that makes translation fun to do.
    Translation Software and dictionary by Babylon
    It takes you right back to Genesis 11;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  5. ittarter

    ittarter Non-Metaphysical Christian Critic

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    If you already know more than one language, you could probably get away with learning Hebrew without Greek.

    Otherwise, Greek is an important stepping stone -- you can learn about how grammar works before learning to read/write crazy symbols with lines and dots all over them... :)
     
  6. jaihare

    jaihare New Member

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    I also found Hebrew to be a mind destroyer (nice "Dune" reference, by the way — "Fear is the mind destroyer; I will face my fear. I will let it pass through me.").

    After my first year of Hebrew grammar in college, I swore that I would never study Hebrew again. I hated it, since it was so difficult (or so I thought). At the instigation of my professor, I enrolled for the second year of Hebrew — and that's when my life changed! In the second year, we went heavy into Biblical texts, and we cut down on the high grammar intake. That made all the difference, once I started to see how the Biblical text simply made sense in Hebrew! I have never stopped learning and investing in Hebrew since then (it's now been 10 years since I started studying Hebrew, and I am now a citizen of the State of Israel and speak Hebrew daily!), and I'm so glad that I didn't leave off with Koine Greek!

    Regards,
    Jason
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  7. andy1078

    andy1078 Andy1078

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    I wish I would have had the opportunity to take Hebrew in college, but it was not offered. I now live in a very small and sometimes sheltered area, and I doubt anyone in my area teaches Hebrew. But on the positive, my boyfriend is from Isreal and his first language is Hebrew, soo I have someone to help me! Still, reading Hebrew is very difficult for me to learn, I can understand many things my boyfriend says in Hebrew, but I cannot even imagine trying to write those words yet!
     
  8. debi b

    debi b Senior Veteran

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    I have a group that I went over 3 years thru several good grammar books (quite technical). It didn't find a place to fit and they did not practice (reading) on a regular basis. Because they continue to have an interest (which has grown) I am going to take this group through a less technical grammar book "Biblical Hebrew for beginners" by Dan Cohn-Sherbok and read with them in an interlinear as part of the exercises.

    The only way hebrew is of any value is if you continue.....
     
  9. jellybean99

    jellybean99 Make me an instrument of Peace and Safety

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    3 years? Those textbooks don't sound like they're highly integrated with the OT. What excited me about learning Biblical Hebrew was that with each lesson, I was able to read Biblical verses in Hebrew that I recognized from my Sunday School days.

    That is why I highly recommend the Weingreen Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew text from Oxford. This book allows you to learn Biblical Hebrew on your own at your own pace and retrace your steps when you forget something (use it or lose it:confused:) You can buy one for less than $15 (including shipping).
    AbeBooks: Search Results - weingreen and Hebrew grammar

    You can do like I did and practice writing Hebrew with calligraphy pens. They sell these at art supply stores. However, you don't have to learn how to write these words if you don't want to--we have software that can do that for us now:idea:
    הלוואי הייתי יכול להיות היה בעל ההזדמנות לקחת עברית בקולג', אבל זה לא הוצע. אני עכשיו חי במאוד קטן ולפעמים סוככתי תחום, ואני מפקפק בכל אחד בתחום שלי מלמד עברית. אבל על החיובי החבר שלי הוא מישראל ושפה הראשונה שלו הוא עברית, לכן יש לי מישהו לעזור לי! עדיין, קורא עברית מאוד קשה בשבילי ללמוד, אני יכול להבין הרבה דברים חבר שלי אומר בעברית, אבל אני לא פחית אפילו מדמיין לנסות לכתוב את המילים האלו עדיין!
    Translation Software and dictionary by Babylon (free trial)
     
  10. jellybean99

    jellybean99 Make me an instrument of Peace and Safety

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    duplicate post
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  11. debi b

    debi b Senior Veteran

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    FYI ;)

    The books we worked on were:

    The First Hebrew Primer - EKS Publishing
    Biblical Hebrew - Bonnie Kittel - Yale University Press
    Biblical Hebrew An Introductory Grammar - Page Kelley - Eerdmans Publishing Co.
    A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew - Seow - Abington nashville Press

    Fantastic information but if one does not apply themselves....it is time plus effort.
     
  12. sylk

    sylk seaside

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    For myself I haven't had a hard time learning one language over the other. Each language has been the same learning capablities for me. :).

    Again as I mentioned in a previous post on Christian Forums; It varies with each individual.

    Good luck to you in Learning Hebrew & Greek! :thumbsup:
    God bless!