Original Languages

Part of my seminary training will require me to study the original languages (at lease Greek and Hebrew.) I’m excited about the endeavor, but a little nervous.

As I was reading through my hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation) textbook, I came across an interesting passage that gave an idea of how the text of the original Bibles may have looked. Here is an excerpt that I enjoyed:

“Ancient writing on scrolls and codices (manuscripts in book form) did not look much like print in modern books. In the oldest manuscripts words were written in capital letters with no use of lower case and no spacing between wordS. Nor was there punctuation, hyphenation, paragraphing, section headings, or any other devices of modern writing. In addition, in the case of Hebrew and Aramaic, generally only consonants were written out… To imagine what this might look like for an English reader, we might conceive of the NIV of Gen 1:1-2 as appearing:

NTHBGNNNGGDCRTDTHHVNSNDTHRTHNDTHRTH-
WSFRMLSSNDMPTYDRKNSSWSVRTHSRFCFTHDPNDTH-
SPRTFGDWSHVRNGVRTHWTRS.

…Naturally one wonders how anybody could read such writing. But those who read these languages had learned the method from childhood, and in the case of Hebrew had learned what vowels should be added to the consonants mentally or orally. Nevertheless, modern readers do well to remember that the original Scripture texts looked quite different from our own.”

Klein, Blomberg, Hubbard, Jr, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, p.120 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004)

How did you do? Are you ready to start studying Hebrew with me?