Biblical Hebrew B
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On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate an increasingly complex knowledge of Biblical Hebrew morphology, grammar, and syntax working in a fully online environment (GA5; GA10);
- Read and translate simple original Hebrew texts into English (GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9);
- Identify methods relevant to biblical studies and engage in more detailed study and interpretation of Biblical scriptures and traditions from a linguistic perspective (GA4; GA5; GA8)
- Topics will include:
- • Further studies in the vocabulary of the Hebrew Bible (frequency of 50 or above = 742 total forms, 313 new forms), and studies in morphology, syntax and idioms (roughly equivalent to Martin 1996, lessons 13-25);
- • Translation of select passages from the Hebrew Bible (for example Jonah), or passages of comparable length and difficulty;
- • Using the Hebrew Bible text critical apparatus.
You cannot enrol in this subject if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:
You must have successfully completed the following subject(s) before starting this subject:
No special requirements
This unit is designed to further develop the knowledge and skills acquired in THEL500 Biblical Hebrew A, and continue to open up a world of biblical texts and theological scholarship which is essential to the study of ancient history and theology. Hebrew is also the language of inscriptions and papyri of people and cultures within the Mediterranean world. Learning classical Hebrew therefore enables students to read foundational texts, access the works of central figures in the historic tradition in the original language, and engage in detailed research and interpretive study in theology and biblical studies.
This unit involves a study of Hebrew through reading and translating texts from the Hebrew Bible. Students are exposed to Hebrew’s increasingly more complicated features as they are guided through topics to develop deeper skills in grammar, syntax, and morphology. This builds to the main focus of the unit, which is developing understanding of these topics through translation activities.
Each week of semester there will be an opportunity to apply Hebrew knowledge, even after the first hour of study, to translating and investigating a genuine historical object from the ancient world which will demonstrate the value of learning (and continuing to learn) Hebrew. The purpose of this approach is to illuminate the way in which the Hebrew that is being learnt has real-world application to interpretive issues or resolving ambiguities in the biblical text. It is often the case that English translations of the Hebrew obscure the clarity of the Hebrew text or make explicit elements of translation that are not in the original. The historical objects will include, but are not limited to a) ancient coins, b) epigraphic inscriptions, c) papyri, d) ostraca, and even e) ancient signage. Exposure to these artefacts provides experience with real historical data which serves to reinforce the learning of the Biblical language. It will also enthuse the student amid the more difficult weeks of learning paradigms and vocabulary by encouraging application of learning to genuine historical material.
In order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher). The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. The unit’s main focus is on building students’ understanding of grammar and syntax, and their capacities in translation. It thus prepares students for more advanced topics in exegetical tasks and critical analysis. The first assessment task aims to embed and test knowledge of basic grammar and syntax. Quizzes are staged to enable students to chart progress and embed knowledge required for the translation-focused assessments. The second assessment is a Hebrew Translation forum which focuses on the application of developing knowledge to specific technical ability in translation at a level appropriate for beginning students (including the application of principles of grammar and syntax). It also builds expertise required for the final examination. The third assessment task is a Hebrew Composition Forum which places stronger weight on translation ability and seeks to develop confidence through the consistent opportunity to compose a short passage in ancient Hebrew using the vocabulary and grammatical concepts covered in that week. It simultaneously enables students to apply their knowledge of features of basic Hebrew grammar and syntax, as well as have an opportunity to translate other students’ compositions. The fourth assessment task is a final examination and consists of a range of translational and grammatical questions based on topics in THEL500 and THEL6XX including the alphabet, morphology and syntax of Biblical Hebrew, vocabulary words of a frequency of 50 or above and idioms in the Hebrew Bible. As the final piece of assessment in the unit, it is the most complex, enabling students to reflect on their work across the unit and demonstrate skills at the appropriate level in translation, linguistic analysis, critical thinking, and communication. Classes include similar informal tasks (both for individual students and small groups), preparing students for assessment tasks related to translation and grammar and syntax knowledge. The assessment strategy is concerned to provide appropriate scaffolding to enable students to build on their previous knowledge and apply it to new situations. Assessment tasks are therefore closely related to classroom activities, and are clearly related to learning outcomes and associated graduate attributes.
- Quizzes on Hebrew morphology, grammar, and syntax. This assessment enables students to chart and demonstrate knowledge of Hebrew morphology and basic grammar and syntax. (20%)
- Translation Forum (Hebrew to English). This assessment enables students to demonstrate basic ability in translation, and also apply knowledge of basic Hebrew grammar and syntax. (20%)
- Composition Forum (English to Hebrew). This assessment enables students to demonstrate basic ability in translation, and also apply knowledge of basic Hebrew grammar and syntax. (20%)
- The final examination consists of a range of translational and grammatical questions. (40%)