Update on our projects

It has been over a year since we’ve posted on this blog. That does not mean, though, that we’ve been idle.

First, we both went through promotion reviews this last year and can now drop any qualifiers to our professorial status. For John, I had no doubt of the positive outcome.  For my part, I considered it a trial run and was more than pleasantly surprised by the success.

Second, we (with Phillip Samuel Marshall at Houston Baptist) have finished our Ecclesiastes commentary for Baylor (in the BHHB series). This follows the Ruth and Esther volumes for me (see left sidebar) and the precedes the Biblical Aramaic volume that John is finishing.

Third, we’ve seen some articles come out in print and others finished an submitted. More importantly (because ultimately, our research serves our teaching), we have drafted most of our Intermediate Biblical Hebrew textbook, to follow our Beginning Biblical Hebrew (again, see the sidebar), a large part of our Advanced Biblical Hebrew textbook, and we have both begun drafting respective primers on BH syntax and the BH verbal system. Finally, a reflection of our stance on the use of linguistics to study BH, we have also initiated a volume we’re calling Linguistics for Hebraists, which will include introductions to various linguistic theories (including case studies) aimed at the student of ancient Hebrew.

As some of these projects are completed, we hope to return to a few more blog posts in the next year (at least, more than the zero of last year!). For my part, I’ll be throwing out a few ideas very soon in posts following this one.

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7 Responses to “Update on our projects”

  1. matthaiti Says:

    I think you guys should give some commentary on some of entires in the Encyclopedia of Hebrew Languages and Linguistics. It’s a HUGE contribution without precedent and still new enough to stimulate interest. Normally Encyclopdias of this caliber are authoritative, but I think it would be helpful and contructive to offer a critique of some of the entries.

    • robertholmstedt Says:

      Uh .. sputter … sigh. Way too big to tackle. The linguistic theories of the contributors are all over the place and we contributors were encouraged to do more survey of scholarship than our own analysis (which I clearly chafed at, if you read my entries).

      It’s such a mixed bag as a work that, while reading someone else’s thorough review would be interesting, I can’t say I’m interested in spending the time to do it. But I understand your desire to see it reviewed like that.

      • matthaiti Says:

        Makes sense. Perhaps targeting a particular domain would narrow the scope? Personally, I would like to see more on information-structure and word order (I like that you guys included chapters on this in Beginning Biblical Hebrew). Not enough being said about this in the domain of Hebrew poetry (hence my forthcoming dissertation).

        Also, when studying at Tyndale house, I sensed among those writing PhD Dissertations in linguistics (and there are quite a few), there is a strong sense of animosity between the Functional Grammar folks and Transformational Generative Grammar folks. I find that most are opting for STRICTLY Functional Grammar in their Hebrew studies (which makes sense for the application that folks are looking for).

      • robertholmstedt Says:

        I haven’t witnessed such animosity in general linguistics as much as I’ve seen it adopted and strengthened in fields like Hebrew Studies, which is ironic and sad. As for “application” to ancient language, I completely disagree that FG provides Tim any better than Generative. FG is simply easier to learn, so I think in BH studies it often boils down a lack of access to generative linguistics and/or intellectual laziness.

  2. matthaiti Says:

    Again, makes sense. A fellow PhD Cand asked me, “Are you using FG or TGG? Please don’t say your a generativist, its completely useless. You have to go with FG.” She then handed me Simon Dik’s Theory of Functional Grammar and said, “Start here and don’t turn back.”

    I ended up using a bit of both.

    • robertholmstedt Says:

      I read Dik’s work long before I studied generative. For me it came down to reconciling my linguistic theory (and underlying philosophy of language) with my own philosophy/theology. All functionalism is too deeply materialistic for me to adopt it on principled grounds. Generative , with its mentalism, provides me a way to reconcile it with my theological anthropology.


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