In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language

By Joel M. Hoffman | Go to book overview

Chapter 11

Keep Your Voice from Weeping

In 2001, a new, modern, central bus station was opened in Jerusalem, bearing on its walls a quotation from Psalm 122: sha'alu shlom Yerusha- layim — “Ask for peace in Jerusalem.” In a tribute to the history of the place, “Jerusalem” there is written in keeping with the idiosyncratic Biblical spelling

(YRShLM), rather than according to the more modern spelling norms that insert another yud: (YRShLYM).

With all we have seen in the previous pages, we can trace how those words came to be inscribed in the bus station in 21st-century Jerusalem.

Roughly 3,000 years ago, a group of people made what seemed like a minor modification to a writing process that had already been in development for over a thousand years. They took three symbols that represented consonants, and used them to represent vowels as well. With the added convenience those vowel letters offered, the masses started reading and writing. In the centuries that followed, the poem we now call “Psalm 122” was written in Phoenician letters, using a few of those vowel letters as needed.

We know about the poem from the Dead Sea Scroll 11QPsa, dating from about 2,000 years ago but discovered only last century; from the Masoretic tradition of the Bible, as recorded in the Leningrad Codex over 1,000 years ago; and from various translations of the Bible, most importantly a translation into Greek some 2,300 years ago. While our Science Theory tells us that the Masoretic understanding of the sounds of the letters is probably imperfect, we have good reason to believe that the consonants they recorded, and hence the words, are mostly authentic.

Just over 100 years ago, a man named Eliezer Ben-Yehuda decided that the Jews should speak the language they once did, and so embarked on an experiment in reviving a language. His experiment, like the one with vowel letters nearly 3,000 years earlier, was successful, paving the way for a rebirth of Hebrew as a modern language.

-211-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables xi
  • List of Figures xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part I - Getting Started 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Rules of the Game 7
  • Part II - Antiquity 13
  • Chapter 3 - Writing 15
  • Chapter 4 - Magic Letters and the Name of God 39
  • Chapter 5 - The Masoretes 49
  • Chapter 6 - Pronunciation 81
  • Part III - Moving On 119
  • Chapter 7 - The Dead Sea Scrolls 121
  • Chapter 8 - Dialects in the Bible 149
  • Chapter 9 - Post-Biblical Hebrew 165
  • Part IV - Now 185
  • Chapter 10 - Modern Hebrew 187
  • Chapter 11 - Keep Your Voice from Weeping 211
  • Part V - Appendices 215
  • Appendix A - More About the Rules of the Game 217
  • Appendix B - Further Reading 229
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 251
  • About the Author 263
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 263

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.