A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew
|edited by Jonathan G. Kline|
| Retail: $29.95|
Size: 5 1/8 x 7 3/8 inches
Item Number: 072430
Categories: Language and Reference; Biblical Studies and Interpretation
Many of the sayings in the biblical book of Proverbs are difficult to read in Hebrew, even for those who know this language well. A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew is designed to help readers of all levels of Hebrew competence meditate on and understand the concise and sometimes enigmatic sayings found in the book of Proverbs.
Each verse is presented on one page, which is marked with a day number (from 1 to 365) and a date (January 1 to December 31) so the book can be used as a daily reader or devotional. On each day’s page, the verse for the day is divided into two halves, based on the fact that each of the proverbs in the book constitutes a poetic couplet consisting of two parts. After each poetic line, all the words it contains are laid out and glosses are provided. All verbs (including participles) are fully parsed. Finally, at the bottom of the page, an English translation of the verse from two pages earlier is provided. This allows readers who are struggling with the meaning of a given day’s proverb, or those who wish to see one possible way it can be rendered, to flip the page and see a translation for it at the bottom of the next two-page spread. In this way, readers can choose to avail themselves of an “answer key” for any of the proverbs when they wish to, but they can also ignore this information (since it is located on the next two-page spread, there is no risk of accidentally seeing it while trying to puzzle through a proverb’s meaning).
A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew helps readers who have studied Hebrew access the original text of a fascinating and well-loved portion of the Hebrew Bible. It offers readers a simultaneously academic and spiritual experience, walking them slowly and on a regular basis through difficult and enigmatic sayings that invite contemplative reading and sustained reflection.
“What a marvelously conceived and well-executed project! Follow master teacher Jonathan Kline as he introduces the reader to the too often neglected book of Proverbs, demonstrates the value of its pithy sayings and aphorisms, and teaches Hebrew grammar and vocabulary all in a single stroke. The organization of the book allows all this to unfold in the most pedagogically beneficial way: Kline begins with the verses constructed from the most basic and common words, and only toward book’s end does one encounter those proverbs that include rare lexical items. Students and scholars at all stages of learning will profit from this invaluable companion to the book of Proverbs.”
“Acquiring wisdom requires tedious grappling with proverbs, sayings, and riddles (Proverbs 1:6), many of them terse and obscure—some virtually impenetrable. Having navigated the path ahead of us, Kline is our able tutor on a difficult but rewarding journey. Every bit as clever as the sayings themselves, this book is part Hebrew grammar, part devotional, part poetry, and part introduction to wisdom literature. This little book achieves a style of translation that the eminent Hebrew translator Robert Alter believes is sadly lacking in our modern English Bibles.”
“Thank you, Jonathan Kline, for this helpful and carefully presented guide to reading proverbs in Hebrew one day at a time. I enthusiastically recommend this book to all who want to keep up and improve their Hebrew skills. Not only will the reader’s language ability grow, but so will their knowledge of the book of Proverbs. If you want to grow in wisdom, read Proverbs; and if you want to grow in your understanding of Proverbs, read A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew.”
“This book has so many good qualities to commend it: it is informed, it will encourage flagging Hebrew readers, it is brief enough to be doable for most of us, and even more: it helps us to tap daily into the glories of the wisdom culture that comes to expression in these proverbs. Ours is a world swamped by everything new, while Proverbs takes us into a world where the old is ever renewable. Daily ponderings of wisdom make for a wise person.”
“Jonathan Kline breathes new life into the book of Proverbs through this practical, smart guide. Both a devotional and a language tool, A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew gently leads its users through difficult syntax and at times perplexing content, giving us more than enough each day to pronounce in Hebrew, to read, and to think about throughout the day. Students, seminarians, and pastors who have taken even a year or two of Hebrew will be able to track with the language of Proverbs through Kline’s expert guidance. I highly recommend this book both as a language-learning tool and as a year-long devotional journey through the wisdom of Proverbs.”
“A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew encourages readers to digest select biblical proverbs slowly in order to contemplate their often subtle and multilayered meanings. It does so by presenting 365 proverbs on a one-a-day basis. Kline places each Hebrew proverb on a single page, along with a definition of each of its lexemes. Verbs also appear with grammatical information (e.g., conjugation, person, etc.) to facilitate rapid acquisition of the primary elements of the proverb. For words with multiple meanings, readers are given options. Having all the necessary pieces, readers are then invited to ponder the proverb’s meaning(s). Kline provides an English translation for each proverb two pages later to discourage readers from using it immediately as a crutch. This handy workbook forces readers to realize that Hebrew texts cannot be read like Twitter accounts, but must be mined carefully for their intellectual depths. It is ideal for beginning students or informed lay readers who want to improve their knowledge of Hebrew and their appreciation for the sophisticated wisdom of the Israelites.”
|Jonathan G. Kline (PhD, Harvard University) is the author of Allusive Soundplay in the Hebrew Bible and co-author of Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook. He currently serves as the academic editor at Hendrickson Publishers.|