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HBRW WTHT VWLS GN (Hebrew Without Vowels Again)

7th May 2007

In line with this previous post about how to get across to students that Biblical Hebrew was originally written without vowel indicators, I found this great example over at Davar Akher:

Th lphbt s hrd t mstr;
Rdng bck t frnt’s dsstr.
Nlss h’s rd th clssfds,
whr trth, bbrvtd, hds,
th wld-b rdr f th Bbl,
prsntd wth th txt, s lbl
t trn nd rn wth shrks nd hwls-
th hbrw Scrptrs hv n vwls!

- Jessica Shaver

I will have to use this poem next year.


4 Responses to “HBRW WTHT VWLS GN (Hebrew Without Vowels Again)”

  1. bob macdonald Says:

    The idea is useful but the example immediately suffers from the absense of a letter – consonant – in English that represents a glottal stop. alphabet requires an aleph or an ayin to give a legitmate start to the syllable.

  2. Chris Weimer Says:

    I agree with Bob MacDonald. However, I think I have the poem still…

    The alphabet is hard to master;
    Reading back to front’s a disaster.
    UNless he’s read the clssifieds,
    where truth, abbreviated, hides,
    the would-be reader of the Bible,
    presented with the text, is liable
    to turn and run with shrieks and howels-
    the hebrew Scriptures have no vowels!

    Line 2, since there’s nothing to indicate that a vowel is needed, I went ahead and supplied “a” before “disaster” because otherwise it would sound awkward…

  3. Bob Macdonald Says:

    Here’s an example I invented in response to a comment on the SBL article by Griffin on Killing a Dead Language (good arguments):

    ‘i lrn )nglsh frm ‘ bk
    - works using mater lectiones to point the glottal stops.

  4. Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot » Blog Archive » MR HBRW WTHT VWLS (More Hebrew without Vowels) Says:

    [...] of the Presbyterian Theological Centre in Sydney, Australia sent me this poetic response to Jessica Shaver’s poem: TH MTRS [...]