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One-Day Olive Tree Sale: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (16 Volumes) for $99

October 1, 2014

Bonhoeffer in Olive Tree

 

Today (Wednesday), Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English Edition (DBWE, 16 volumes) are $99 in Olive Tree Bible software. I have not seen DBWE in Olive Tree, but have reviewed the app here.

Their iOS and desktop apps are free, so if you like Bonhoeffer and have the cash, this is probably the best price for his complete works in English that one will ever find. (It does not include the just released Volume 17.)

Accordance 11: Coming (Very) Soon

September 30, 2014

Accordance 11 Collections

 

Accordance 11 is coming soon. Very soon–by the end of October.

In an email announcement today, Accordance noted:

Exciting news! We are preparing our next major upgrade for release towards the end of October. During the next several weeks we’ll be telling you more about Accordance 11 and the many advances it will bring to your studies.

 

This week we are announcing the exciting new modules that are being added to each Version 11 Collection. Each of these Collections includes Accordance 10 and 11, so you can use Accordance 10 now, and get 11 immediately upon release.

New to the store already in Accordance 11 is the chance to “Custom Upgrade,” which provides users with a discounted collection rate if they already own modules contained in that collection.

See the announcement here.

They haven’t said much yet about what Accordance 11 contains, but today’s newsletter does note “23 new and useful categories for your books for better organization and easier access” in Tools, as shown here:

 

23 Tools Categories

 

I use Accordance every day (or almost every day). Accordance 10 is already an excellent program. Can’t wait to see what 11 brings. Subscribe to this blog or check back to hear more as it unfolds.

A First-Year Textbook that Gets You Reading Hebrew A.S.A.P.

September 30, 2014

First Hebrew Primer“But when do we get to start reading Hebrew?”

The question was a near-refrain in my first semester of Hebrew class at seminary. After months of memorizing verbal paradigm charts and individual vocabulary words, I wondered he same thing.

I don’t mind a memorization-based or paradigm-based model for second language acquisition. I did fairly well in first learning Hebrew from the Pratico and Van Pelt Basics of Biblical Hebrew (see here and here).

But as I noted in my Pratico/Van Pelt reviews:

Some people disagree that paradigm memorization outside the context of a text or conversation is ideal pedagogy for language learning. … Even dead or ancient languages should be taught as “living languages,” proponents say. So some Hebrew textbooks encourage instead a text-based inductive approach.

 

Getting to Read Hebrew A.S.A.P.

 

The First Hebrew Primer (Third Edition, EKS Publishing) takes more of a reading-based inductive approach:

The goal of the Primer is to teach students to read and understand Biblical Hebrew as quickly as possible; therefore, the lessons emphasize recognition and translation – not memorization.

It succeeds well in this aim. Indeed, as soon as chapter 10 (out of 30), the student will be excited to begin her or his guided reading of Ruth:

Congratulations! You have learned enough Hebrew to begin reading the Bible—revised for your reading level. We have chosen Ruth because it is short, simple, and beautiful. In the beginning, the Hebrew text will be simplified, but as we progress, the text will approach the original. Before we finish the Book of Ruth, you will be reading the actual biblical text.

As soon as the Primer teaches the alphabet, it offers a host of a exercises for out-loud reading practice. The “Tall Tales” (folk tales) readings give students yet another chance to put into a reading context what they have learned. All the expected charts for nouns and verbs, vocabulary lists (with occurrence of 200x or more in the Hebrew Bible), and exercise sets are present throughout the book. But I especially appreciated its emphasis on reading early.

 

Updates to the Third Edition

 

What’s different in the Third Edition? Primarily, there is more grammatical detail offered.

This revised third edition introduces several new terms and clarifies grammatical points, but will look the same to long-time Primer readers. The key change we have made is the inclusion of new explanatory endnotes. Many readers have expressed a desire to deepen their knowledge of Biblical Hebrew, but have unanimously endorsed the clear, uncomplicated tone of the Primer. We have responded by adding these optional supplementary notes. Students may read the notes to enrich their understanding of Hebrew grammar or concentrate solely on the main text. Either way, the Primer provides a sound foundation for more advanced studies in the Hebrew Bible.

One gets the feeling that in the absence of those clarifying notes, some of the grammatical concepts are oversimplified. So the additional nuances expressed in the endnotes are imperative for laying a good foundation for later Hebrew learning. EKS Publishing uses its own name for some grammatical terms (“Word Pair” instead of “construct chain” and “regular infinitive” instead of “infinitive construct”).

I can see this being something a student would need to re-learn if she or her goes further in learning Hebrew grammar; I’m not sure the level of simplification here is always helpful or necessary. (And the lack of an index makes it difficult to trace discussion throughout the book of a given concept.) All the same, page 368 provides a “Guide to Grammatical Terms” with a table of “Our Name” and the “Traditional Name” for key concepts.

 

The Primer for Kids?

 

Hebrew Learning

 

Though the book is for “adult beginners,” my six-year-old son, whose Hebrew-learning adventures I have chronicled here, took an interest in The First Hebrew Primer once he saw it on the shelf. Chapter 3 (“The Sheva, Odd Vowels, and the Dagesh”) was particularly helpful, as the sheva had been giving him trouble. The Primer explains how to pronounce the sheva depending on where in a word it is:

  • Sheva at the beginning of a word: “always pronounced with a short, slurred sound”
  • Sheva at the end of a word: “always a silent vowel, and it is not pronounced at all”
  • Sheva in the middle of a word: “When a sheva appears alone in the middle of a word, it usually falls at the end of a syllable and is not pronounced.” (An endnote at this point offers additional illuminating detail.)

My son did astutely ask, “How do I correct myself if I get something wrong?” So I’ve gone through the Primer with him, rather than letting him use the Primer much on his own (even though he can read just fine). There is a companion audio CD available, which has to be purchased separately; self-guided learners will need it to be able to take full advantage of the oral exercises in the Primer.

 

Concluding Evaluation

 

The Hebrew font in The First Hebrew Primer is clear and easy to read. The exercises strike a nice balance between appropriateness for each lesson and being challenging. For example, in chapter 7 (“The Perfect Tense”), there is this:

EKS First Hebrew Primer

If you prefer an interactive, digital edition, Accordance Bible Software has a Primer package available for purchase here. The Accordance edition includes the primer, the answer key (otherwise a separate purchase), and more than an hour’s worth of accompanying audio. In other words, Accordance puts everything needed in one integrated and easy-to-use place.

Would I use The First Hebrew Primer as a textbook for a first-year Hebrew student? Definitely–despite the occasional lack of nuance in the grammatical explanations, its emphasis on oral practice, its engaging exercises, its inclusions of basic paradigms, and especially its introduction of reading early on make it a solid option for a first-year Hebrew text. As an added bonus, there are plenty of English to Hebrew exercises (and even an English-Hebrew Glossary), which will go a long way to help the student solidify Hebrew comprehension.

 

Thanks to EKS Publishing for the review copy of the Primer and answer key, offered for the purposes of this review, but with no expectation as to my review’s content. The publisher’s book page is here (answer key here). It’s also on Amazon (affiliate link) here (answer key here).

What I’m Reading to Keep My Greek and Hebrew Fresh

September 29, 2014

To keep my Greek and Hebrew active, right now I’m alternating between two books (and enjoying them both):

 

Prepositions and Theology

 

Murray J. Harris’s Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament (Zondervan, 2012).

Without accepting a so-called “theology of prepositions,” Harris’s guide is readable and illuminating. I found his exegetical guide to Colossians and Philemon quite helpful. Here is a sample of Prepositions and Theology.

 

Jonah Handbook on Hebrew Text

 

W. Dennis Tucker Jr.’s Jonah: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text (Baylor University Press, 2006).

I like this series already. I’m halfway through Jonah and finding Tucker’s handbook a welcome companion.

I’ll post a review of each when I finish.

Do You Want to Contribute to a Septuagint Dictionary?

September 28, 2014

Scholar’s Publisher is seeking contributors:

The aim of the DSEGJS [Dictionary of the Septuagint and Early Greek Jewish Scriptures] is to provide a comprehensive reference guide to the Greek Jewish Scriptures (GJS) in their Greco-Roman context as well as their subsequent influence on the early church and post Second Temple Judaism. The field as well as the general interest in matters related to the GJS has grown significantly in the past 30 years, but the discipline is lacking an informative reference tool for students and specialists, as well as scholars and students in related fields. The scope of the dictionary is to provide factual information about books, persons, places, and events, as well as define words and explain theories as they relate to the GJS. In most cases, the next step is to read an article or volume that is devoted to the topic itself, though in some cases the nature of this new endeavour means the DSEGJS is the primary source of information.

Find out more here.

From the Study… Books for Sale

September 27, 2014

Last weekend I built a sandbox; this weekend I’m cleaning up the study. I have a few books I’m trying to unload. Contact me here if you’re interested.

 

Simplified Guide to BHS (Hebrew Bible)
(Scott, 1990 Second Edition, includes Ruger’s English Key to Latin Words, bound together), hard to find in print. One page has writing, but is helpful to understanding text. Previous owner’s name inside front cover; sticker residue on back (slight).
$20

 

Hand Concordance to Greek NTHandkonkordanz zum Griechischen Neuen Testament (English and German)
Super-handy small concordance to Greek New Testament… I just don’t have use for it recently. See reviews at Amazon link here. Good to Very Good condition (sticker on back, some regular wear, but clean inside and strong binding).
$22

 

Seow Hebrew GrammarC.L. Seow’s Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (1987)
Pencil notations throughout (one page pen), otherwise great condition. Old sticker on back.
$10

 

The increasingly hard-to-find NIV Triglot Old Testament
Yes, English, Greek and Hebrew. It’s a big and impressive-looking hardback. Really good condition. Name inside front cover. No markings that I’m aware of. No dust cover (but you were just going to take that off as soon as you got it anyway, right?).
$22

 

Behold, the Triglot

Behold, the Triglot

 

Spurgeon Treasury of DavidSpurgeon’s 3-Volume Treasury of David
Commentary on the Psalms, hardcover (green dust jackets). Hardly used, in great shape. One volume has a small coffee splash on page edges. Not a set of books I’d normally want to part with, but I have it electronically now.
$29

 

Bonhoeffer Fiction from Tegel PrisonDietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 7 (Fiction from Tegel Prison)
Hardcover. Brand new, still in shrink wrap.
$14

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 9 (The Young Bonhoeffer, 1918-1927)
Hardcover. Still in original shrink wrap. Just a tiny bit of bumping to spine edges, one corner ever-so-slightly dinged.
$20

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 10 (Barcelona, Berlin, New York: 1928-1931)
Hardcover. Dust jacket, page edges, and corners show some wear/bumping, but not much. Insides unmarked, never used.
$25

 

Interested? Contact me here to inquire.

 

I Built Them a Sandbox

September 26, 2014

I built my kids a sandbox. 5 feet by 6 feet!

Here it is, before we filled it with sand.

 

IMG_1825.JPG

 

The finished product:

 

IMG_1840.JPG

 

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