Many of the academic programs at Dallas International involve learning a language. Students pursuing a BA in Scripture and Culture, MA in Applied Linguistics, or MA in Translation Advising are able to take either biblical Greek or Hebrew as their language of choice. There are many benefits for studying either language, so how can you know which is right for you? Here are 7 reasons you might choose Hebrew at DIU:
Learn to slowly savor the text. Learning to read the Old Testament in its original language requires you to read familiar passages slowly. Slowing down what is familiar and reading it in an unfamiliar way helps you learn to savor the beauty of the message and to ponder it anew.
See layers to the text that cannot be communicated in English. Elements that create literary beauty are commonly lost in translations. By learning to read the Old Testament in Hebrew, you will give yourself the opportunity to see more of the intricate storytelling and poetic features that inhabits each verse.
Gain a deeper understanding of the ancient Semitic worldview. When you learn a language, you gain greater access to understand the worldview of the people. Though books can describe the worldview, reading the language can help you immerse in ancient Semitic thinking and expression through their words and images.
Have a new avenue to answer tough biblical questions. While learning Biblical Hebrew will not reveal any secret or hidden theology, it will give you a new avenue to ask and answer questions about the Bible. Many hotly debated questions such as who hardened Pharaoh’s heart and whether God told the Israelites to commit genocide against the Canaanites and who are the Nephilim and many other difficult questions, require a person to wrestle with the Hebrew of the verses.
Appreciate the variety of translations. The variety of choices made by Old Testament translations represent the various attempts to faithfully communicate the original Hebrew. Differences between translations may appear minor or major. Learning biblical Hebrew gives you the opportunity to understand and appreciate the differences and the struggles represented in the translations.
Read and write the “right” way. Modern Westerners may think that languages are typically written from left to right, but many ancient and modern languages are written right to left. By learning not only a new alphabet, but also a new direction of writing, you will encounter language and texts in a new way.