For those interested, I’ve posted my dissertation on Biblical Hebrew vocabulary learning HERE. I hope some of you find it helpful and that it provides at least some benefit for students learning Biblical Hebrew. I’ll be glad to dialogue about it over there or by email, etc.
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As with any other Hebrew Bible, you are obviously getting the text of the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. The text contains all consonants, vowels and cantillation marks. However, there is no text critical apparatus. So, while this text will be adequate for the purpose of general reading, you will need another version with a text critical apparatus for the purpose of scholarly work.
As per the ordering of the books, they follow the order found in most English Bibles. In my view, this is neither a strength nor weakness, but merely a matter of interest. With an electronic text like this one, the reader finds his or her place in the text by using the linked table of contents in the front. It is not like you are flipping through and trying to find the book that you want to read from. The only way that this would be a problem is if a person was trying to read the Hebrew Bible cover to cover from a Jewish perspective. In other words, placing the prophets last would affect the way one would view the overall message.
This Hebrew Bible also comes with a glossary. It is not linked within the text using the normal Kindle dictionary look up feature, but it seems like it would be easy enough to use. There is a description below of how to use the gloassary. Of course, if you had to do this often enough, it would become tiresome, but for those readers perhaps a hardcopy of the Reader’s Hebrew Bible would work better.
Against this background, the following is the publisher’s description from the Amazon.com website:
Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) Basic Description
Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) is a complete Hebrew Bible in an aesthetically pleasing Hebrew script. It contains all of the consonants, vowels, cantillation marks (accents), and other symbols. It follows the text of the Leningrad Codex as digitized by the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research. This is the same manuscript underlying Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) and Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ).
Navigating the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)
There are several options for navigation, all of which are covered in greater detail in the book’s preface.
First, there is a fully interactive Table of Contents. You can click on a book and then on the appropriate chapter within that book. You can then flip the page to get to the desired verse if need be.
Second, clicking the 5-way controller to the right will advance you to the next chapter. Clicking it to the left behaves similarly.
Third, you can navigate directly to a particular verse by clicking on Index in the menu. For example, to navigate to Genesis 12:3, type “ge 12 3″ in the Find box. The book abbreviations are listed in the book’s preface. This option is not available on first generation Kindles and might not be available on Kindle applications.
The Comprehensive Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic Glossary Basic Description
The Comprehensive Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic Glossary contains glosses for every lexeme (word) in Biblical Hebrew (over 8000) and Biblical Aramaic (over 700). It integrates lexicographic research from BDB (The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament), HALOT (The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner), DCH (The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, edited by David J. A. Clines), and other sources to present the best of contemporary scholarship, easily surpassing 19th century glosses such as those found in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Here are some of its characteristics:
- It integrates contemporary definitions with traditional interpretations.
- It lists definitions in order of descending frequency.
- It aligns proper names with the spelling of most current English Bible translations.
- It updates archaic meanings to modern norms of language.
- It provides glosses for precisely the verbal stems that appear in the Bible.
- It provides separate glosses for all homonyms.
Navigating the glossary
First, there is a fully interactive Table of Contents. Clicking on a link for a letter of the alphabet provides you with another hyperlinked list of two-letter combinations beginning the word.
Second, clicking the 5-way controller to the right will advance you to the hyperlinked list for the next letter of the alphabet. Clicking the 5-way controller to the left behaves similarly.
Third, you can navigate directly to a particular glossary entry by clicking on Index in the menu and typing in a prefix (“h ” for Hebrew, “a ” for Aramaic) followed by the consonants of the lexeme (word) in transliteration. The transliteration scheme is in the book’s preface. For example, to find the Hebrew word ben, “son,” type “h bn”. This option is not available on first generation Kindles and might not be available on Kindle applications.
Due to platform limitations with regard to Hebrew, the Hebrew/Aramaic text cannot be resized. It is similar in size to the larger of the two popular sizes for print editions of BHS. It is optimized for use on the Kindle device in portrait mode; lines might be shorter than ideal on the DX and some Kindle applications. The Hebrew text cannot be searched.
Miklal Software Solutions, Inc. provides software solutions for biblical studies, Semitics, and digital humanities.
This will be the first post in a series on the new Hebrew Bible for Kindle (or Nook) from Miklal Software Solutions. Normally, my reviews follow the pattern of author, contents and personal thoughts. Here I will discuss the developer, contents and then give my personal thoughts.
Miklal Software Solutions focuses on developing “solutions for Biblical studies, semitics, and digital humanities.” Aside from the Hebrew Bible for Kindle, they have developed computer-based flashcards for Biblical Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic and are working on a pilot program involving critical editions of classical rabbinic texts. They also provide a number of custom services, which would be worthwhile to look at if you have a personal project that you are mulling over.
I hope you will click through and see all that the this company has to offer. Below I have posted the company description given on their website:
Miklal Software Solutions, Inc. provides software products and custom services related to Semitics, Biblical studies, and digital humanities.
Miklal was founded by Drayton Benner, who also serves as its president. Benner studied mathematics and computer science as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and worked full-time doing research and development work in scientific software for a number of years before being drawn to biblical studies and semitics. Benner obtained a Master’s degree from Regent College (Vancouver, BC, Canada) in Old Testament and is an advanced PhD student in Northwest Semitic Philology in the University of Chicago’s Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations Department.
Among ancient languages, Benner has studied Hebrew (Biblical, Inscriptional, Qumran, Tannaitic), Aramaic (Old, Imperial, Biblical, Targumic), Ugaritic, Transjordanian dialects (Moabite, Edomite, Ammonite), Phoenician, Punic, Akkadian, Arabic (Koranic, Classical), and Greek (Classical, Koine). Among modern languages, Benner has studied French, Spanish, and German.
Alongside his graduate studies, Benner continued to do software development, both in scientific software development and also in Bible software, before founding Miklal. He has both published and presented at academic conferences on the intersection of computing and biblical studies.
I have entered into a discussion of Biblical Hebrew vocabulary learning that has been taking place on a couple of blogs. You can see my post here and the posts where the discussion kind of took off here and here.
Biblical Hebrew vocabulary learning has been the topic of my dissertation research, which I hope to defend successfully a little less than two weeks from now. There seem to be a couple of schools of thought developing around where Biblical Hebrew instruction needs to go. Anyway, hopefully beginning to talk about this a bit more in the biblioblogosphere could lead to some helpful developments.
By the way, Joel, I know that you are very interested in this topic and happy to see me posting about Hebrew here on your blog.