The Original Languages

Why Selected: This is the website of an organization set up to promote the comprehension of Biblical Greek. As such it is an authoritative and comprehensive spring-board into the understanding of the Biblical language.

What Learned: Further digging revealed, rather disappointingly, that the main value of the website consisted of one page divided into ten sections each of which consisted of half a dozen links to other websites which contain some Greek learning tools. The majority of this particular site is actually given over to the promotion of their year long or week long Greek tuition programs. They also have a links section which details other online Greek resources suitable for further study.

Would Recommend: In fairness this site has no major flaws. It contains a good number of links and all of the ones I followed led to live sites which provided value. I was just rather disappointed that a website that claimed to have such weighty intentions turned out to be marketing for a course and a set of links to web-sites which had taken the time to generate some genuine content. My advice would be to follow one of the links!

Why Selected: This website is maintained by a professor whose job is to introduce students to the Hebrew language. It seeks to offer an extensive overview of the Hebrew resources available as well as having some 'home grown' ones of its own.

What Learned: This website is large and very complete in the field of Old Testament resources. I got somewhat distracted looking at the survey of commentaries. Each commentary mentioned (and there appear to be tens if not hundreds) comes with a full paragraph of descriptive text and a 'key' as to the intended audience. The survey of resources for all levels of Biblical Hebrew was equally impressive. There is also a blogspot which I used to investigate the theology of the sites author.

Would Recommend: The author is at the evangelical end of reformed theology. In other words: not quite a fire-breathing evangelical but quite reliable on Biblical matters. He is a professor of Hebrew and I strongly suspect that his recommendations are well thought out and useful. I certainly intend to use this site myself and suggest it to others.

Why Selected: This website is essentially a piece of Bible software which is available (for free) online and which appears to be an excellent resource for those wishing to dig further into the Greek language.

What Learned: This tool can really be broken into three or four components which are selectable from a menu in the top-left of the screen. 'Read' essentially provides an interlinear Bible view where you can pick the translations (both Greek and English) which you wish to see. In addition to the 'paper' capabilities however you can hover over any of the Greek words and get 'short' and 'long' definitions both of which outclass Strong's and Thayer (at least in terms of length!). The 'Word Study' capability then allows you to dig into any word giving length definitions; lists of every place in the Bible where they occur and then lists of all the related Greek words. The final section is a 'translation' section that essentially invites you to translate from the Greek to English providing hints and tutorials as appropriate.

Would Recommend: This is an advanced and sophisticated tool which is great for people keen to learn the language and who are technologically sophisticated. Unfortunately that very sophistication has resulted in a user interface which is threatening and slow even over a cable link. Probably not ideal for someone dipping their toes into Biblical languages - but a good strong second step for people wishing to go 'all the way'.

Why Selected: One of the things I have learned from this course is that to get the most out of many of the tools available you need at least a reasonable understanding of some of the core grammatical structures in the underlying language. This website offers to explain those and even pull you into understanding Hebrew if that is your desire.

What Learned: This is a large site with many different articles for those interested in Hebrew. However I particularly investigated the section on Hebrew Grammar and then the names for God. They are both quite prepared to go 'down to the real Hebrew' but are written such that a keen enquirer with 'no knowledge' can follow. The section upon verb stems including the voice and mode was particularly enlightening.

Would Recommend: I would give an unequivocal yes to that question. The site is specifically written for believers by those who understand and love the Hebrew language. The section on the names of God shows a deep understanding and love for Hebrew tradition yet grounded in a firm love for the Messiah.

Why Selected: This course is really an introduction for those beginning to dig into the original languages. One thing that anyone new to a subject can use is a reliable precis of all of the tools and helps available. An import feature of any precis is that it is succinct enough to be read quickly to provide the required overview and yet detailed enough to provide the required hooks to deeper understanding. The one page above appears to contain more hooks into the study of Bible languages than I knew existed.

What Learned: Summarizing a well written precis is doomed to failure; almost by definition. Instead I will simply detail the areas in which information exists. There are sections devoted to Hebrew, Septuagint Greek and New Testament Greek. There are also sections on English resources although those are not germane to this course. Each section contains a list of around a dozen different resources complete with one or two line evaluative descriptions and also hyperlinks to online or Amazon resources. This particular page is aimed at seminary students; removed the /semresources.htm from the URL produces a page aimed more at 'lay' people.

Would Recommend: A page like this epitomizes a struggle I have between my academic and 'faith oriented' personalities. There is no doubt that this page documents and draws the individual into some of the very best that modern scholarship has to offer. Many of the resources referenced are inter-denominational and even inter-faith and the authors represent a veritable who's  - who of all the brightest people in the field. Notwithstanding my spiritual side questions the ability of the unsaved to accurately comprehend the meaning of the Word of God: even at an academic level. I think that for a seminary student I would recommend this site - they need to develop discernment eventually and this is probably a useful place to start. For the lay person I would probably search for something a little more proscriptive.


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