Hebrew: the EASY language?

Just posted this today at the HBU School of Christian Thought blog. Reblogging for those who don’t catch the SCT site regularly.

School of Christian Thought

Hebrew

One of our MA in Biblical Languages students did an undergrad degree in French at the University of Oklahoma.  While on a brief visit to his old alma mater recently, he snapped this picture of one of the bulletin boards in the language department. Especially intriguing is the green flyer. So . . . Hebrew is a fun, EASY language! Who knew?

Of course, my students who are in the middle of learning first-year Hebrew don’t think it’s easy (although I have heard from a number of them that they do think it’s fun).  How easy is Hebrew compared to, say, Greek? Hebrew is simpler than Greek in a number of ways, and often simpler is easier. So here are a few tidbits for the interested reader. In my Koine Greek class, we learn 24 forms of the definite article (the). In Hebrew, we learn one basic form…

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Wait, I Thought N.T. Wright Said That First?

Nice illustration from Derek Rishmawy about how good modern insights on the text have often already found their way into the life of the Church. Calvin is still insightful, after 500 years.

Reformedish

New Creation WrightOne of my favorite things about reading the Reformers, or the Fathers for that matter, is finding that the best insights I’ve loved in modern scholars aren’t really that new at all. Take the concept of ‘new creation.’ For many of us, N.T. Wright is probably the modern scholar who brought our attention to the theology of new creation. At least for me he did. In his many works on Paul, the Resurrection, and Christian Origins, again and again, he calls us to hear the proclamation that in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection all things, the cosmos as a whole, have been renewed. God wasn’t simply concerned with saving souls off to an ethereal heaven, but rather faithfully rescuing the world from the decay into which it had fallen. Resurrection isn’t just for people, but the universe as a whole. This is bracing and beautifully good news.

As great as learning…

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Sermon on John 19:28-37 “Jesus, A Thirsty Savior for Thirsty Sinners”

Back several months ago I preached a sermon at Magnolia Creek Baptist Church for my friend and colleague, Pastor Brett Dutton.  I’ve just now figured out how to save the audio file so that I can re-post it here (yes, sometimes I’m technologically challenged).  If you’re so inclined, feel free to have a listen and/or pass it along to those you think it will encourage.  Please be aware that the introductory voice on the mp3 bumper says that “Brett Dutton” will be preaching, but it really is me! 🙂

Click here to listen to “Jesus, A Thirsty Savior for Thirsty Sinners”

Summer Biblical Hebrew and Greek at Southwestern Seminary in Houston

ANNOUNCEMENT:  I’m teaching Turbo Hebrew and Turbo Greek at Southwestern Seminary-Houston starting Monday, May 13 (Hebrew starts May 13; Greek May 14).  We will cover a full year of Biblical Hebrew or Biblical Greek in 10 wks.  The Hebrew course meets Mondays/Thursdays from 8am to noon each time; the Greek course meets Tuesdays/Fridays from 8am to noon. In order for the course to make we need enough people committed by the end of the day tomorrow–Tuesday, May 7.  Please email me (psmarshall AT gmail DOT com) if you need details and I’ll get you set up.

Also, you could contact the following about enrolling ASAP:

Hudson Hanks (hhanks@swbts.edu)
Director of Business & Student Services
713.634.0011 ext. 222

Please spread the word if you know anyone who is interested!

Re-Blog: Psalm 121: God Our Helper and Keeper

Just posted this link to my recent message on Psalm 121 to our HBU School of Christian Thought blog. Hope it gives encouragement to someone out there!

School of Christian Thought

Earlier this month I delivered a message at Bethel Bible Fellowship on Psalm 121. In it, I explored the universality of the human condition as one of neediness:

“Let’s not fool ourselves: we are indeed needy people, when we find ourselves there at that point of deep need, we will seek help from somewhere.  The question that confronts us today is, ‘Where do you seek your ultimate source of help in this broken, sinful world?’  When the chips are down, where do you lean the hardest? Fundamentally–there are only two answers to the question, ‘Where do you seek help, ultimately?’: Either in [a] Human Resources (myself, family, merely human wisdom, technology and civilization, education, self-help books, etc.), OR in [b] Divine Resources (God: God’s wisdom, God’s power, God’s perspective, God’s instructions, God’s promises, God’s plans).”

In the message, I expound the Psalmist’s motivations for us to look to God as…

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Hebrew & Greek Humor for the Holidays

One of our MABL (Master of Arts in Biblical Languages) students is showing a set of skills I had heretofore not seen in full blossom–he’s very nearly a stand-up comedian! Today he passed along some language jokes that would make any elementary Greek and Hebrew professor very proud, and thankfully, he has permitted me to post them here. Enjoy! And if you don’t smile, then please take it as definitive proof that you *need* to come study Greek and Hebrew here at HBU!  Merry Christmas!

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(1) Q: What kind of poker do Hebrew cowboys play?

A: Texas Cholem.

(2) Q: Where did extremely sick adjective go?

A: The adjectival intensive care unit.  (He himself went, by the way.)

(3) Q: What Hebrew vowel is so rare it only occurs in texts once every 75 years?

A: Halley’s Qamets.

(4) Q: What kind of airplane do Greek pronouns fly in?

A: The Pronominal Concorde, of course.

(5) Q: Which Hebrew vowel has also starred in several extremely violent action movies?

A: Steven Segol.

(6) Q: What’s the best app for studying Greek grammar?

A: Angry Verbs.

(7) Q: Why do so many young Hebrew farmers move to the city after their first crop?

A: How can you keep them on the farm once they’ve seen פְּרִי?

(8) Q: How do you know you’ve been studying Greek too hard?

A: At Christmas you see “‘Tis the season” and start trying to parse the “τις”.

(9) Q: How are many aspiring comedy careers like tsere, qamets, and chireq?

A: They’re not historically long.

Language Log » François Mitterrand crash blossom

From Language Log:  Here’s an example of why it’s important to understand the basics of syntax, structural ambiguity, and proper punctuation.  The first line of the New York Times piece has seemingly added to Mitterrand’s sins! Interesting commentary at the Language Log link’s combox.  –psm

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“François Mitterrand crash blossom”

Under the heading “the benefits of paired em dashes, part 57″, Mark Swofford sent in the following screen shot from yesterday’s New York Times:

The main part of the caption under the most prominent photo in the screen shot reads:

“Mazarine Pingeot, the daughter of François Mitterrand, the former French president, and his longtime mistress, has published a diary.”

As Mark says, “It took me several readings before that stopped sounding incestuous.”

December 2, 2012 @ 11:09 pm · Filed by Victor Mair under Crash blossoms, Punctuation

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via Language Log » François Mitterrand crash blossom.

HBU Hosts Dr. Emanuel Tov Lecture on Dead Sea Scrolls

The Houston Baptist University School of Christian Thought/Dept of Theology is pleased to invite any and all to a FREE public lecture tonight (Monday, 7pm) featuring Dr. Emanuel Tov.  Dr. Tov is recognized as the world’s leading expert on the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible (his textbook on this topic is considered the gold standard among those in the field) and on the Dead Sea Scrolls.  He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the project called “Discoveries in the Judean Desert,” which was responsible for publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls materials for the scholarly world. As Director of the MA in Biblical Languages, let me say that I am nothing short of thrilled that our students living in Houston have the opportunity to meet with and hear such first-rate scholars in fields like these. We are indeed very honored to be  hosting Dr. Tov at HBU this evening. See details of the meeting below:

LECTURER: Emanuel Tov, J. L. Magnes Professor Emeritus of Bible Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

LECTURE TOPIC“The Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls”

DATE: October 22, 2012

TIME: 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Belin Chapel on the campus of Houston Baptist University (in the Morris Cultural Arts center)

 

Here’s a piece that I just posted on our School of Christian Thought website at Houston Baptist University. I explore briefly what linguistics is, and why it is beneficial to study linguistics.

School of Christian Thought

Here at HBU we have a Biblical Languages program, which includes both an undergraduate degree in biblical languages (just Greek and Hebrew) and an MA in biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic).  One of the requirements that we insist on for both programs is a course in General Linguistics.  As the Director of the MABL program, sometimes I am asked questions like What is linguistics? and Why is it important to study linguistics?  In this post I will attempt to provide some brief answers to those questions.

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Promoting the study of Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, and Hellenistic Greek

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