If the Internet had a religion, would it be monotheistic, paganistic or atheistic?
Honestly, I don’t have a clue, but I do know that beyond popular debates about which religion is more superior for whatever reasons, or whether science and religion can coexist at all, etc. there is another aspect of religion which is often overlooked.
I always say that if you want to understand a culture you have to look at its religion (or the remains thereof). In many ways culture and religion are inseparable. Also, cultures produce and are defined by artifacts, or works of art.
One of these artworks, often misunderstood or abused as a base for pamphlets and crusades big and small is the Bible, that ancient book without which Christianity, Islam and Judaism are impossible to imagine. This is not the place to go into a deep analysis of how these religions and their beliefs, myths and legends are related or overlapping, but it’s a fact that the Hebrew Bible (also know as Tanakh) and the stories it tells (from Adam & Eve to Cain & Able, Noah & the flood, Joseph & his brothers, Moses & the exodus, etc.) is very much alive and still captures the imagination (or criticism) of humanity up to this day.
One of the reasons why religions are getting more and more unpopular (at least in the Western World) is the fact that people have been taking these stories (and the laws and commandments derived from them) too literally and caused havoc both locally and globally.
Personally, I think the Bible is simply one of the greatest works of literature ever produced, and I don’t consider myself religious, at all. To me, it is a great compilation of myths, inspirations, lamentations, dreams and fears which can be a gateway into human psychology, history, archaeology and many other disciplines.
Troubleshooting Ludicrous Interpretations By Following The Roots
As a literary work of art, the Bible is fundamentally open to interpretation. Historically, there are some interesting misinterpretations that reveal themselves only when looking at the Hebrew root text.
To give you an example, there’s that infamous prejudice that “Jews have horns”. Michelangelo, when sculpting his Moses, even added two little stubs to his forehead. But why? It turns out that this is based on a grave misunderstanding of the Hebrew word קֶרֶן which the Latins translated as “corns” but also is “a term equivalent to “radiant”‘ (source)
This is just one example of many where Biblical Hebrew (and its mistranslation) explains commonly held myths and cultural concepts. And one doesn’t always need to be a professor to see these things. Often just a few words read in the original give a completely different picture than the translation. (Biblical Hebrew is a very ambiguous language which lends itself to poetry, but in less ambiguous languages like English many facets get lost in translation)
Learning Basic Biblical Hebrew With 10 Popular Phrases From Exodus
We’ve already released various publications for ( Biblical ) Hebrew learners here at Learn Out Live! Our latest one takes 10 phrases from the Bible (chapter Exodus) and encourages beginners to make their first steps in unlocking this ancient text, word by word. Here’s the blurb:
Reading the Bible in Hebrew can be a daunting prospect for beginners. But if we take it step by step, it’s easier than most people think. The first step is to learn the Hebrew letters, the second to learn single words and then short phrases. This publication is a compilation of ten popular Hebrew phrases from the Book of Exodus.
Each phrase is presented in bold, easily readable letters within an aesthetically pleasing layout, complete with meta-information regarding the location of the phrase in both the Hebrew and English Bible.
By flipping the pages readers can delve deeper into each phrase, learning the correct pronunciation, translation and context of each phrase. In addition to that, there are notes about various Hebrew peculiarities and links to (free) websites containing audio, vocabulary and further information.
In keeping this volume as digestible and open as possible, we hope that it will act as a springboard into the rich and endless world of Biblical Hebrew.
Click on one of the links below to start learning Biblical Hebrew now
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img: Some rights reserved by Lawrie Cate