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Joey Midgett | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Apr 1 2018 5:49 AM

Does anyone have The Lexham Methods Series Linguistics & Biblical Exegesis? Is it a good book? 

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scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 6:30 AM

I ask for a sample to be provided.  Why not so provide with your own publication?

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 6:57 AM

Joey Midgett:

Does anyone have The Lexham Methods Series Linguistics & Biblical Exegesis? Is it a good book? 

I have it, not read it yet.  Here is a list of the TOC.  I'd be glad to copy a portion of any section you'd like to see a sample of.

Table of Contents

Series Preface

Wendy Widder
1 Introduction to Linguistics and the Bible
1.1 Understanding Language
1.2 Understanding Linguistics
1.3 Linguistic Analysis Explained
1.4 Studying the Biblical Languages
1.5 Overview
1.6 Resources for Further Study

Wendy Widder
2 Linguistic Fundamentals
2.1 Phonology
2.2 Morphology
2.3 Semantics
2.4 Syntax

Jeremy Thompson & Wendy Widder
3 Language in Use
3.1 Pragmatics
3.2 Sociolinguistics
3.3 Resources for Further Study

Daniel Wilson & Michael Aubrey
4 Language Universals, Typology, and Markedness
4.1 Language Universals and Typology
4.2 Markedness
4.3 Resources for Further Study

Jeremy Thompson & Wendy Widder
5 Major Approaches to Linguistics
5.1 Comparative Philology
5.2 Structural Linguistics
5.3 Functionalism
5.4 Generative Grammar
5.5 Discourse Analysis
5.6 Cognitive Linguistics

Wendy Widder
6 Linguistic Issues in Biblical Hebrew
6.1 Problems with the Data
6.2 Verbal System
6.3 Semantics and Lexicography
6.4 Word Order
6.5 The Chronology and Typology Debate
6.6 Resources for Further Study

Michael Aubrey
7 Linguistic Issues in Biblical Greek
7.1 Problems with the Data
7.2 Verbal System
7.3 Semantics and Lexicography
7.4 Word Order
7.5 Resources for Further Study

Michael Aubrey
8 The Value of Linguistically Informed Exegesis
8.1 Greater Precision and Explanatory Power
8.2 Discourse Features
8.3 Language Typology
8.4 Resources for Further Study


Wendy Widder et al., Linguistics & Biblical Exegesis (ed. Douglas Mangum and Josh Westbury; vol. 2; Lexham Methods Series; Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 6:58 AM

Joey Midgett:

Does anyone have The Lexham Methods Series Linguistics & Biblical Exegesis? Is it a good book? 

I decided to copy a portion of the introduction, perhaps will help you with the direction of the book and the writing style:

Linguists ask several questions of languages. First, they are interested in how a language encodes meaning. Meaning is a multifaceted concept that we will discuss more in chapter 2 (see “Semantics”). For now we can say that meaning encompasses more than words, though it very often does include words. Words have particular sounds and grammatical shapes, and they are arranged in certain orders and then fit into larger contexts. But meaning also involves the people engaged in communication. They have particular roles and motives, and they speak within the contexts of relationships and situations. Words, situations, gestures, intonation—all of these and more affect how we encode meaning when using language. When linguists study language systems, they want to understand how every part of the communication process contributes to meaning.
A second question that drives linguistic study involves the ambiguity that a language allows and the multiple, related meanings it permits a given word to have. For example, the English word “diamond” can refer to a geometric shape, and it can also refer to a baseball infield, which has the same shape. This phenomenon is known properly as “polysemy,” and it occurs cross-linguistically. For non-native speakers of a language, polysemous words cause endless difficulty, but native speakers have no trouble understanding and correctly using different senses of the same word (largely due to their greater familiarity with the socio-cultural context). Linguists are interested in how such related meanings develop and what the relationships between them are.
A third issue of interest to linguists is the significance of linguistic choices. In every language, there is more than one way to say what appears to be the same thing. For example, consider the following sentences:

Let’s have lunch at the café.
I want to have lunch with you at the café.
Do you want to go to the café for lunch?
You and I should have lunch at the café.
The café for lunch?

Each sentence expresses one person’s desire to have lunch with another person at the café, but each statement has a slightly different emphasis or nuance.
Some sentences can use almost all the same words but in a different order. Consider the following set of sentences:

I teach math to Jack once a week.
I teach Jack math once a week.
Once a week, I teach math to Jack.
I teach math once a week to Jack.
Once a week Jack is taught math by me.
Jack is taught math once a week by me.

This is not an exhaustive list of options, but it illustrates the versatility of language and the fact that every speaker makes linguistic choices. Linguists are interested in how these differences affect meaning and what motivates a speaker’s choice of one combination of words over another.
These are just three examples of questions that linguists want to answer when they study a language. Finding the answers helps them understand the structure of a language, and understanding the structure of language allows them to compare languages. When several languages can be compared and contrasted, linguists are able to formulate general principles of language.

1.3 Linguistic Analysis Explained

In this volume we are not solely concerned with linguistics, but with linguistic analysis of biblical texts; that is, analyzing a text according to linguistic principles in order to make decisions about the structure and meaning of the text’s language. The serious study of any text must begin with textual criticism, that is, determining the most authentic reading of a text based on an evaluation of the available textual variants. Linguistic analysis focuses on trying to understand the language of the text. If we misunderstand a language, we will also misunderstand a text. With respect to biblical study, this means analyzing the text in order to understand the Hebrew and Greek languages. Black summarizes the importance of linguistic analysis for biblical studies: “If the student of the [Bible] is to become something more than a well-trained technician, he must sooner or later develop a solid perspective on linguistic study and on the nature of language itself.”3

1.4 Studying the Biblical Languages

Biblical scholars have been studying language for nearly as long as there has been a text. Most of these studies fall more properly under philology, not linguistics—a distinction we address below and more extensively in chapter 5 (see “Comparative Philology”).

Wendy L. Widder, “Introduction to Linguistics and the Bible,” in Linguistics & Biblical Exegesis (ed. Douglas Mangum and Josh Westbury; vol. 2; Lexham Methods Series; Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 7:01 AM


I ask for a sample to be provided.  Why not so provide with your own publication?

Good question.  Especially with Lexham products, you'd think.  But I have noticed many other books recently--I've been mulling some over and there was no sample.  Had to go to other websites to get one...  

Perhaps make this suggestion under the "suggestions" subforum

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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Joey Midgett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 10:58 AM

Thank you.

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 11:49 AM

I'd love to see a sample from 6.5 (typology debate). Thanks!

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André Kamphuis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 11:54 AM

Reuben Helmuth:

I'd love to see a sample from 6.5 (typology debate). Thanks!

6.5 The Chronology and Typology Debate  

Another challenge to the linguistic analysis of the Old Testament is the nature of the Hebrew language that it reflects. Many scholars think that biblical Hebrew is a single language system that changed over the thousand-year period during which the OT was written. Variations evident in the language resulted from the development of the language over time. The approach of these scholars to biblical Hebrew is primarily diachronic. However, other scholars contend that the entire OT was written in a fairly short span of time during the post-exilic Persian period. Variations in the language, in their view, are largely a reflection of different social situations or the pragmatic purposes of the scribes who wrote the books. In other words, linguistic variations can be attributed to sociolinguistic factors such as dialect or register (see §3.2 Sociolinguistics). This perspective approaches the language synchronically. Such a fundamental difference in approaches to the language makes linguistic consensus impossible.

Establishing a chronology of the language in the OT is infamously difficult because we lack firm dates for the composition of the biblical books. Most of the OT books do not explicitly identify their authors or the time of their composition. Scholars who think the Bible was written over a long period of time have tried to determine a chronology of the books based on the data that is available. A starting place for this process is comparing the features of the Hebrew language found in books that were obviously written later with those used in books believed to be earlier. Books that record post-exilic events cannot date before the end of exile in 538 BC and the dedication of the second temple in 515 BC, whereas books recording earlier events are generally presumed to have been written earlier. The later books include Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Daniel. Since the Hebrew in these books shows variation from the Hebrew in other parts of the OT, some scholars refer to it as Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) or post-exilic Hebrew, in contrast to the Early Biblical Hebrew (EBH) in many other books, also called pre-exilic or sometimes Standard Biblical Hebrew (SBH).57 Other texts seem to form a link between these primary stages of the language (e.g., the Priestly source of the Pentateuch and the book of Ezekiel).58 By identifying distinct features of these two main stages—or “types”—of the Hebrew language and then classifying books according to which stage of the language they reflect, scholars have produced a rough chronology of the OT books.

Scholars distinguish between the two stages in several ways. Two of the most common ways are “Aramaisms” and “loan words”. The extent to which the Hebrew shows Aramaic influence suggests that the text in question is later, when Aramaic was the dominant language of the ancient Near East. Loan words are words borrowed from another language (such as “taco” in English, borrowed from Spanish), and when words from ancient Near Eastern languages such as from Greece or Persia appear in a Hebrew text, it may imply a later time when writers and speakers had greater contact with those other cultures. A third way of distinguishing between stages of biblical Hebrew is through historical linguistics, the process of reconstructing the stages of language development by tracing known patterns of language change and by comparing the stages of one language with similar stages in another language. The evidence from ancient Hebrew inscriptions and cognate languages allows scholars to hypothesize patterns of development and thus the chronology of biblical Hebrew.

The test case for the process of distinguishing between EBH and LBH is a comparison of Chronicles with Samuel and Kings. Chronicles appears to be post-exilic (see, e.g., 2 Chr 36:20–23), though it records pre-exilic events. “Thus the linguistic opposition between Samuel-Kings on the one hand, and Chronicles on the other … gives us a firm grasp of the differences between pre-exilic and post-exilic Hebrew.”

However, not all scholars are convinced that these methods of diachronic analysis are sound. They agree that the language of the Old Testament shows a great degree of variety, but they argue that chronology does not have to be the explanation for these “types.” They contend that typology, the idea that different types of Hebrew represent different stages in the historical development of the language, does not limit when a certain variation can be used: “it is possible for typologically older and younger sorts of language to coexist in the same chronological period.” In this synchronic assessment of biblical Hebrew, the Old Testament was composed during the Persian period and the variations in language can be accounted for by dialect differences between the northern and southern kingdoms, by different genres with different concerns and subject matter (register), and by scribes who wrote in both archaic and contemporary forms of Hebrew.

Few scholars fall neatly in one of these two positions. Rather, most recognize that a multi-faceted approach is necessary to explain the variations in biblical Hebrew.

(This is the entire paragraph)

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 1 2018 12:05 PM

Thanks André! This is super helpful in determining the value of the resource for me.

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