Bandstra Hebrew Handbook Giveaway!

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I had the chance to review a prepublication edition of Barry Bandstra‘s  Genesis 1-11: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2008; Buy from or  As a result of the nice blurb I wrote for the publishers, I received a free copy of the book when it was published. As it turns out I ended up with two free copies, and while I like to read, I find reading one at a time works a bit better.

To make a long story short, what all this means is that I have an extra copy of Bandstra’s new book — it’s actually still in the original shrink wrap!  And then I thought since I have been so inconsistent in blogging for the last number of months, I wanted to reward my faithful readers who kept me on their blogrolls and continued checking for new posts (and even emailed me to see if everything was alright!).

Since I can’t give everyone a new book, I need some method of picking a winner. I could do something random like I have done before, but I figured I should somehow benefit from this massive giveaway. So here’s the deal. I will give the book to the individual who leaves the most humorous anecdote, joke, or faux pas about teaching or learning biblical Hebrew. Perhaps it was something another student did in class or a humorous way that your professor tried to teach a particular aspect of Hebrew grammar — it can even be a humorous resource for teaching Hebrew (a comic, short video, whatever!). I’m pretty much open to anything related the Hebrew that will make me smile and/or chuckle — I just want to give away a book. After one week, I (and perhaps my TA) will decide on a winner. And then presto! I will send you Bandstra’s book for absolutely no charge!

So let the free book giveaway begin!

(For those waiting with bated breath for my next “Yahweh – A Moral Monster?” post, I have it pretty much written and may upload it later today. Right now I have to go shopping with my teenage daughter… so pray for me! 🙂 )

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15 Responses to Bandstra Hebrew Handbook Giveaway!

  1. Calvin says:

    I doubt this will be the funniest/most interesting comment you receive, but it’s a chance to tell this story. So there ya go.

    When I took Hebrew I in my undergrad program, we used Bonnie Kittel’s text and workbook. Great fun. When you are dealing with a middle guttural in the Piel, she calls the compensatory lengthening of the initial vowel “the case of the traveling dagesh.” One of my classmates drew a comic of sorts for this (I wish now that I had a copy of it), which my professor subsequently showed to the entire class. The comic consisted of a large dot, with arms and legs, wearing a fedora and with suitcase in hand traveling towards a large city. Alas! a picture is worth a thousand words, but there you have it–the case of the traveling dagesh!

  2. Mappiq: the Hebrew equivalent of the female period (generally speaking, of course).

  3. A note from my Psalms Blog – Jan 6 2007
    Don’t ask why – but Psalm 107 the last 10 or so verses got onto my list – random order for translation. Here, of the LORD, it is written that He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. Well, of course one would not translate without experience, so our house got flooded the day after I translated these words. The floods have subsided. And they are meant to have been productive in this case, though later in these verses, the poet also speaks of calamity. Perhaps a little taste of both.

    I glanced through another 200 posts – not a single funny one – maybe something better will turn up. In any case, you are still on my blogroll.

  4. Well I am not sure if this would considered funny or sad, but a couple of weeks ago I designed the Hebrew equivalent of the “Letter People”. The first “Hebrew Letter people” that I created are the “Outlaw Gutturals”. I wasn’t quite sure how to post the picture, but below is the url to see it on my blog.

  5. Jonathan Bartlett says:

    To distinguish between יש and אין I came up with “Yesh there is!” and “No there ain'”.

  6. Scott says:

    I might be getting this wrong off of the top of my head but didn’t you say in class that the Hebrew textbook (or something such) you use to use highlighted whatever it was talking about in red, so that when it began its discussion of the mappiq the “feminie period” was red.

  7. Linda Hamill says:

    I studied Hebrew about 3 years ago. I was in the process of becoming a candidate for Ministry at the time and while not required to study, I had the means to begin the studies as a private student and chose to do so. I thought I would take some of the subjects that may be more challenging while I was unburdened by formation and Hebrew was on the schedule.

    I confidently enrolled in Hebrew; confident because I have studied other languages, specifically Korean and Chinese Mandarin. After those any other language would be a breeze, so I thought.

    I rocked up to the first lecture books in hand and was introduced to a lecturer who had lived and taught university in Israel. Great, I thought this is going to be be a good opportunity. Then we started.

    The lecturer read the alphabet letter by letter. We read the alphabet as a group, letter by letter. We each (five of us) read the alphabet individually once. Immediately, the lecturer said, “Good! Take the yellow pages and let’s read.” On the yellow pages was printed Genesis 1-5. He called on the first person to read verse one. I was next, verse two. I wanted to cry. I thought couldn’t we just learn the alphabet first? We spent the next hour reading Genesis. The lecturer briefly translating and parsing as we went. After about an hour and half of a scheduled three hour lecture, we were dismissed with vocabulary homework and translation exercise. A quiz of course was scheduled for the next week.

    I left the lecture with my confidence shaken to say the least. I did end up doing okay in the subject. And am grateful that I now have the skills to just jump into a text and work it out even if it is time consuming and I haven’t used the language for a while. At some stage, I hope to study more Hebrew, maybe a beginners class that spends a day on learning the alphabet.

    A bit about me. I am Linda Hamill, a candidate for Ministry of the Word in the Uniting Church of Australia and am nearing completion of my studies. Google reader recommended your blog to me and I have been subscribed for less than I year I think. Old Testament is my passion in my studies. I don’t not believe my story very striking and expect that you will get several more humorous but I think it a good opportunity to get to know some of your readers, including me.

    Prayers and thanks,

  8. Søren Holst says:

    A friend of mine who is now a pastor told me this one, and I always pass it on to Hebrew students to show them they are not alone in finding Hebrew difficult.

    My friend as struggling through one of her first “regular” text assignments after having learnt the basics of grammar. For a long while she was bogged down in a word that somehow seemed to be a 3rd person singular verb in the “imperfect” tense with a third plural pronominal suffix, but strangely and irregularly vocalised. To top matters off, she couldn’t find the root (seemingly resh-shin-lamed) in the dictionary either.

    In desperation she turned to her fiancé for comfort, if not for actual grammatical guidance (he was a carpenter and an extremely nice guy, who — alas — died very suddenly of heart failure a few years ago), and for want of something better to say, he asked her “Well, what does it SAY?”

    And she slowly and painstakingly read out “Ye-roo-sha-la-yim” …

  9. Ken says:

    Wouldn’t your TA or another poor student at Taylor be a better choice than a largely anonymous blog reader?

  10. Scott says:

    I agree with Ken. I’ll graciously save you the postage money and in humility accept this book from you!

  11. Tim says:

    In a Hebrew class more than thirty years ago we were working our way through Genesis 24, translating as we went. When we came to verse 63, the instructor discussed the possibility that the meaning was that Isaac went out to the field in the evening to relieve himself. Somewhat shocked by this possibility, the girl whose turn it was to translate next translated verse 64, “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes and saw Isaac and fell off her camel.”

  12. This may fall slightly outside of your limitations for this giveaway. If that is the case, so be it. However, this video is too good to pass up. Dr. Larry Ollison demonstrates why one should not teach, referencing Hebrew, when one has a rudimentary understanding of the language.

    I give you Dr. Larry Ollison’s “Aleph and Tav”.

  13. Michael says:

    Here is a faux pas:

    When a professor uses the translation equivalent “booty” for sh-l-l in an undergraduate classroom, then wonders why everyone is snickering 😉

  14. Okay, I’ll toss in two.

    On Reformation Day, a few of us seminerdians decided to come as texts from the 1st year curriculum. I was in an Augustinian habit leading my friend, Will, around in handcuffs. (Martin Luther’s Bondage of the Will – we exercised restraint by not using any s&m paraphernalia, tempting as that ball gag would have been.)

    A more high-brow friend had a t-shirt with incredibly small writing on it, along with a large magnifying glass around his neck, and bags of Stork Chocolate Riesen chew. Upon closer inspection, you could see that he’d taken the painstaking task of reproducing all the text critical notes from a rather contentious passage from BHS, along with Masoretic emendations. When you got close, he would repeat our Hebrew prof’s common mantra: There’s always a good reason (Riesen was handed out at this point) to consult the critical apparatus.

    Anecdote 2: I’m not sure this qualifies because a) it didn’t happen to me; and b) I learned of it while I was studying Greek textual criticism. But it’s too good to hold in.

    My Greek TC professor, John Polhill, studied with Grady Nutt at SBTS back in the 1950s. You may remember the Rev’d Grady Nutt from his three year stint as a humorist on HEE-HAW. (He tragically went to be with the Lord in 1982 as a result of a plane crash.) Dr. Polhill was reminiscing about his time as a student. We were talking about how bored scribes could inadvertantly change the text – and noting some scribbles and doodles in various manuscripts. He remembered something Grady Nutt had done to him while they were studying Hebrew.

    Young Polhill was fighting off sleep in a particularly pedantic lecture when Grady leaned over and started making a semi-triangular conglomeration of HEs on John’s paper. John wrote “what is that?” to which Grady quickly penned: HE (hay) stack!!!

    They both got to snickering so that they almost were thrown out of the classroom!

  15. Chavera says:

    OK, then. Here is my story:

    While I was doing research related to my PhD (I mention this to try to convince I am not that dumb, before you read the rest of the story), one of the required PhD-related exams was advanced-level foreign language. I chose German for that.

    While I was getting myself ready for the exam, I was also struggling to teach myself Hebrew from Weingreen’s “Biblical Hebrew Grammar”. Finally, the exam deadline came and there I was waiting for the exam searching questions when suddenly the examineer asked me “Ma nishma?” (because as it turned out later he’d known that I worked on my Hebrew. Unfortunately for me, he knew the language while I did not… yet :))

    To my horror, out of the hundreds of words I had been learning only one had made its way through my stress-stricken mind: “Toda”. As I was saying it I was not sure whether this was a proper answer or not. I stopped being sure of anything 🙂 so I was fervently praying that the man stop this nice conversation, which he did, switching back over to German.

    It was then that I decided that I had better start learning hard rather than hardly learning. And it was then that I decided to take up learning modern Hebrew as well.

    Fortunately, this exam did not kill my desire to learn Hebrew (or German, which I managed to pass with flying colours). Nor did it kill my love for Professor’s Weingreen’s book. Actually, I would never have believed German might have any impact on my Hebrew. But it did!

    Another anecdote is as follows: Once, while visiting Second Life, I met an Israeli who wanted to talk to me in Hebrew. My microphone was fortunately out of order so I could avoid speaking to this person in Hebrew … so I wrote him in Hebrew 🙂 that I did not know the language and I had better communicate in English.

    It was pure pleasure listening to colloquial Hebrew (for the first time in my life) and hearing this poor Israelite wonder aloud how it was possible that I did not know any Hebrew but communicated with him in Hebrew. The absurdity of this situation was another milestone in my Hebrew learning experience. A motivating one, for sure!

    “B’hatzlacha li”, chaver! Oh, have mercy on the one so desperately wanting to learn the language… Make me the chosen one! Oh, show your good will.

    And now “Toda” – at last – comes in handy 😛

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