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In the Beginning


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Table of Contents

List of TablesList of Figures Acknowledgments I Getting Started1 Introduction 2 Rules of the GameII Antiquity3 Writing 4 Magic Letters and the Name of God5 The Masoretes 6 Pronunciation III Moving On7 The Dead Sea Scrolls 8 Dialects in the Bible 9 Post-Biblical Hebrew IV Now10 Modern Hebrew11 Keep Your Voice from Weeping V AppendicesA More about the Rules of the Game B Further Reading Bibliography Index About the Author

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A highly entertaining history of the Hebrew language and its contributions to all languages. Very well written and charming.

About the Author

Joel Hoffman lectures and teaches classes on biblical and rabbinic Hebrew and translation at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is the head translator for Jewish Lights' multi-volume prayerbook and commentary series, My People's Prayerbook. He lives in the NYC area.


"Hoffman has a flair for explaining how languages work." --Times Literary Supplement "Hoffman does a good job of pointing out the different traditions of biblical Hebrew that existed in antiquity." --The Jerusalem Post "A fascinating account of the evolution of Hebrew as a language. Those interested in language are in for a delightful surprise." --Record-Review of Scarsdale, NY"Those with a passion for Hebrew, linguistics and religious history will probably find much to captivate them." --Na'amat Woman "[I]t is written in an energetic style with a commitment to exploring the evolution of Hebrew from ancient times to the present in ways that a broad audience can comprehend. It will be fortunate, indeed, if future efforts can achieve the commendable promise embodied in this volume's title with the clarity and enthusiasm that fill its pages." --Religious Studies Review "Strikes the right balance between thoroughness and accessibility." --Jewish Book World

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