Hebrew Audio Bible - Another Appeal

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 27 2019 8:28 PM

Phil Gons (Faithlife):

Still working on it. Multiple conversations about it in the last month. Unfortunately no progress to report. We're exploring both licensing an existing audio Bible and producing our own.

Still working on it? Have any decisions been made?

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 1 2019 7:56 PM

Reuben Helmuth:
What I would really like to see is to have Faithlife commission Omer Frenkel to complete the rest of the OT. His recording of the Torah is the only that I would consider a 5-star or gold-standard. It's truly a pleasure both in terms of pronunciation and vocal timbre! I simply can not find a website anymore that provides a sample so I'm attaching a 1-minute clip.

This clip made my skin crawl. I realize it's "taught" that way, but the BGDKPT pronunciations are nonsense. I would really like to find a study that does a deep dive in the history of this "innovation". Waaw is a waaw is a waaw...vav is baloney. I would bet a pinky toe that Daawidh NEVER pronounced his name with a "v" sound. There is no "th" sound in Hebrew.

BILLIB
GALLIG
DANNID
KEDDIK
POMMIP
TUMMET

The initial and ultimate letters of these "words" are the same but the sound quality of each is clearly different. The ultimate letters' pronunciation is significantly diminished and lacks the emphatic punch that the initial pronunciation has. This sound difference is not accounted for in English in terms of a letter symbol, but the audible variations above are considered different enough in some languages to result in the use of entirely different graphemes for the ultimate letters. In Hebrew, the Masoretes indicated these pronunciation variations as being "the same yet different" by the use or absence of the dagesh (center dot) with the SAME symbol. In the six BGDKPT examples above, the ultimate (ending) sound you hear when you say those words IS THAT ALL THE ABSENCE OF THE DAGESH IS INTENDED TO CONVEY. They ARE NOT symbolic license to alter the pronunciation to the point that is becomes an entirely different letter (phoneme)...particularly, B doesn't become V, P doesn't become F, and T doesn't become TH.

The most obvious "infection" from an outside source is seen in the P becoming (PH/F) through the processes of Second Temple Hellenization. It is also possible that this was when a TH sound (from the Greek theta) entered into Hebrew & Aramaic. Greek even originally had a W-sound in its language, digamma, which appeared in the same position in the alphabet (sixth) as the Hebrew waaw. Attempts to discount the waaw as secondary to the vav are fundamentally erroneous.

The reason I have spoken against production of a Hebrew pronunciation guide is because pronunciations that are demonstrably false have been given legitimacy by people who honestly ought to know better. I already posted screen shots of grammars in Logos that flatly indicate that both the ×š and ×— have the same pronunciation, which is emphatically false. When it comes to pronunciation of Biblical Hebrew, the inmates often seem to be running the asylum. Buth may have a well-regarded reputation, as may the guy in the above clip, but they DO NOT speak Biblical Hebrew. Let me say that I don't claim to know with 100% certainty and precision what BH sounded like in David's day...but I and a few others know for certain what it didn't sound like in many cases, and many of those false pronunciations seem to inevitably end up in Logos resources. Just leave it alone. It's far better for people to fend for themselves (and do the kind of research that will establish much of what I've said here) than to swallow whole numerous anachronisms without a second of thought...because "published FL authority" says so.

Oh, and if someone wants to call into question what I've stated here...prove it.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 1 2019 8:53 PM

David Paul:
I realize it's "taught" that way, but the BGDKPT pronunciations are nonsense.

Can you give me some references for Semitic historical linguistics and Proto-Semitic grammar and dictionary?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 1 2019 9:49 PM

Well, that's part of the problem. Most of the info on this is piecemeal. I have found resources online that will make a comment on this or that point regarding pronunciation, but I don't have at hand any resource that systematically covers all aspects of this topic. Many of the ones that do discuss this employ the IPA symbols and use their terminology, but that is (imo) akin to a brick wall. When you check out the IPA website, you get a NON-SECURE fiasco of droning that bears little association with anything I'm familiar with as an English speaker. One of the more dependable sites (and its current iteration is much better than it has been in the past) is Wikipedia. I am unfamiliar with a Proto-Semitic grammar or dictionary, although Jeff Benner's Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible is "something like" what that might look like. His choice of terminology doesn't necessarily correspond to what's used by typical Semiticists, which can make it somewhat eccentric. I find it rather unwieldy, but I do find much of what he presents elsewhere (other publications and online) to be very useful. 

I wasn't being cute or aggressive. If someone can contradict (or support) what I said above, I'd like to see the proof.

Edit: Just to be clear...I fully acknowledge that the BGDKPT letters with dagesh and non-dagesh pronunciations as used today are a legitimate part of Modern Hebrew. I even am willing to accede that these innovations, at least in some cases, may have been already in play by the time Yeishuua` was using the language. The change in spellings of certain words, and especially in names, in post-exilic books of the Bible is, at the very least, evidence which points to alterations and innovations that probably involved changes in pronunciation. [For example: the introduction of the elongated vowel--manifested by the innovative inclusion of the yohdh--changed David's name from Daawidh (rhymes with "did"...circa 1 Sam.) to Daawiydh (rhymes with "deed"...circa Chron.]. My beef is with teachings that are gross anachronisms and outright falsehoods. Some of these known falsehoods ARE CURRENTLY FOUND in Hebrew grammars sold by FL...some of these books openly confess that anachronisms in pronunciation are deliberately employed.

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 1:26 AM

David Paul:
Some of these known falsehoods ARE CURRENTLY FOUND in Hebrew grammars sold by FL

I too find this disturbing. 

David Paul:
This clip made my skin crawl.

If I'd be a leftist I'd call you a bigot!😜Your sentiment, IMO, is akin to being repulsed by an excellent reading with a London accent when the author was Scottish. Or perhaps, you're repulsed by an English reading that doesn't sound the <gh> in daughter?!

I'm a linguist and find your description of the IPA as "non-secure" (especially as it relates to consonants which are the point of current contention) so far off that I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. These are as secure as anatomy so that's close enough for me since I'm not a philosopher.

David Paul:
bears little association with anything I'm familiar with as an English speaker.

You've just indicted yourself. :-) 

This thread is NOT asking for an historical pronunciation guide. We're asking for an audio reading of the Hebrew Bible. I for one want it to sound natural, fluent and in-step with current mother tongue speakers. Perhaps you're of the (erroneous) opinion that Hebrew was once a "dead" language. In this case, you really shouldn't let the mummy's skin crawl.😜

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Lucian Benigno | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 1:52 AM

Reuben Helmuth:

We're asking for an audio reading of the Hebrew Bible. I for one want it to sound natural, fluent and in-step with current mother tongue speakers.

Yes

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 3:02 AM

Francis:

Good to hear, Phil. Thanks for the response.

Yes   Cool

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 5:33 AM

This project should not pose a big technical challenge or human resource challenge, especially if FL works with Buth and/or BSI.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 12:21 PM

Reuben Helmuth:
I'm a linguist and find your description of the IPA as "non-secure" (especially as it relates to consonants which are the point of current contention) so far off that I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. These are as secure as anatomy so that's close enough for me since I'm not a philosopher.

Your knee is jerking in the wrong direction.

Reuben Helmuth:

David Paul:
bears little association with anything I'm familiar with as an English speaker.

You've just indicted yourself. :-) 

Don't see how...I'm merely saying that I clicked in vain for sounds I know are used in English and couldn't find them. Not sure what's indictable there.

Reuben Helmuth:
This thread is NOT asking for an historical pronunciation guide. We're asking for an audio reading of the Hebrew Bible. I for one want it to sound natural, fluent and in-step with current mother tongue speakers.

You just indicted yourself...BECAUSE THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS "CURRENT MOTHER TONGUE SPEAKERS" of Biblical Hebrew. Odd...

Reuben Helmuth:
I'm a linguist

...and yet you don't appear to realize that.

You want a Modern Hebrew reading of the Bible. That's fine...just be sure to market the resource as exactly that and NOT as a reading of BIBLICAL HEBREW...because that would be a lie. 

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 2:15 PM

David Paul:
You want a Modern Hebrew reading of the Bible.

Me too, please, because that it seems to be what's spoken in the synagogue. FL should market a resource that a modern speaker could listen to and understand. We shouldn't make it less understandable to anyone who is accustomed to the way that certain words sound today.

I do realize that sounds have changed (and two Rabbis from the Hebrew classes I've attended point that out but do not teach or use the Biblical pronunciations). I'm not acquainted with anyone in those Jewish communities who reads the text the same way it was apparently spoken a couple thousand years ago.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 7:17 PM

David Paul:
When you check out the IPA website, you get a NON-SECURE fiasco of droning that bears little association with anything I'm familiar with as an English speaker.

I'm sorry you were unable to provide some references of substance. For years, your comments have intrigued me. However, your comments re: the IPA website makes me suspect we would not find useful resources in common.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 10:43 PM

Many of the things I said above are stated in the Wikipedia article I linked to above. I have encountered bits and pieces over the years, and its possible that I wrote down citations at that time, but I can't put my finger on them right now. If I do cross paths with any of that info, I will post references here, but I can't say that it's on my intentional "to do" list. I'm juggling too many balls to do that deep dive right now.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 2 2019 10:48 PM

David Paul:
I will post references here, but I can't say that it's on my intentional "to do" list. I'm juggling too many balls to do that deep dive right now.

Quite understandable ...thanks for trying.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 3 2019 12:30 AM

PetahChristian:
Me too, please

Again, as long as it is a feature that is CLEARLY stated, I have no problem with such a resource. However...

PetahChristian:
because that it seems to be what's spoken in the synagogue. FL should market a resource that a modern speaker could listen to and understand. We shouldn't make it less understandable to anyone who is accustomed to the way that certain words sound today.

...you don't seem to be aware that you are speaking about a figment of your imagination. There are at least half-a-dozen distinct dialects of Hebrew spoken today. These employ pronunciations that often vary significantly. Even the day on which Jews attend synagogue is pronounced drastically differently by different persuasions. Sabbath can be pronounced Shabbat or Shabbos. The place where they meet (the "house" or bayitth), can be call Beth or Bet or Beit or Beis (and I think there are one or two variations I'm forgetting). And I'm talking here just about pronunciations, not spellings, because as you can see by my examples, that can vary significantly as well.

And this is all, in large part, why I believe that tying both spelling and pronunciation to the Bible is so important. Because, believe it or not, Jews don't...not really. The way they use the language has undergone the same (at times deliberate) manipulation that they have employed in the process of making the Talmuudh and not the Tohraah the arbiter of their religious practice. Yeah, it's anecdotal, but I've seen a Jewish Hebrew-speaking Israeli tell Jeff Benner, an essentially self-taught non-Jewish Hebraist, that Benner was providing a depth of understanding of his native tongue that he had never contemplated. My point is that "Jews" aren't automatically or necessarily the best source for understanding Hebrew. One may find that a diligent non-native speaker actually knows and speaks the language (whatever the language) "better" than a typically careless native does. To sum up, there is no "broad-spectrum normal" application of Hebrew today. In the end, Sephardis can understand Ashkenazis and Yemenites and vice versa, but they will think the others' speech sounds strange.

Maybe an example will help illustrate why I am so emphatic in my desire for accurate pronunciation. I will start by prefacing with that fact that I am (a non-Jewish) Messianic. I used to attend a Sabbath Tohraah study for a few years, and we trafficked in Hebrew constantly. Hebrew is YHWH's primary vehicle for prophetic communication. I would say that at least half of what can be known of Biblical prophecy is locked in the Hebrew language and can only be accessed by understanding Hebrew at least well enough to study the language with accuracy. There are tons of Messianic and Hebrew Roots folks who don't have that kind of proficiency and they spew forth "Hebrew teachings" that are pure nonsense.

Among people in that movement, I have known at least two families that chose to name a daughter with the Hebrew name for Eve, which (by my method of transliteration) is Hhawwaah, or in Hebrew is חַוָּה. Read right-to-left, the first letter is hheiytth, essentially a gutteral H sound. Notice what happens here. Because these people have essentially the same attitude toward the language as you--they just want to be easily "understood"--they don't end up doing the "deep dive" into the language they should. Using what could be termed "modern Hebrew" pronunciation, they ended up calling their daughters Havvah or even simply Havah (isn't simpler so much better!!). And herein lies the problem. These people are NOT bothering to pronounce the heiytth as the gutteral, asperated H (that sounds so harsh!). So instead of pronouncing this...

חַוָּה = Eve

...they end up pronouncing a completely different (but much more pleasant sounding!) word...

הַוָּה = wicked desire & engulfing ruin

Imagine calling your daughter "wicked desire"... Surprise

...that's what careless pronunciation can get you. Tongue Tied

Fortunately, I pointed out this phenomenon to some friends and one of the girls said she had been planning to name her future daughter Havah. Engulfing ruin avoided! Yes So, to sum up, regardless of how you feel about it, my concerns are not simply "academic". The matters upon which I am focused are SHAPED by "on the ground" concerns, not ivory tower frou frou-ism.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 3 2019 4:10 AM

David Paul:

...you don't seem to be aware 

The first synagogue I attended, the Rabbi taught Ashkenazic pronunciations. The synagogue I currently attend, the Rabbi teaches Sephardic pronunciations. One of my friends in Hebrew class speaks Yiddish. There is a lot of diversity in the community, which happens to only have one synagogue.

Please don't assume I'm unaware when I say that I'd prefer a Modern Hebrew (vs. a Biblical Hebrew) audio pronunciation. It's not necessary for me to explain anything to FL. FL has many intelligent people there who already understand what you shared.

David Paul:

these people have essentially the same attitude toward the language as you

David, you don't know my attitude regarding the Holy Tongue.

When a forum member happens to ask for a Hebrew audio bible, I don't think that they are careless or ignorant or less educated.

We should respect one another, and give thanks to God that people are interested in reading, speaking, and hearing Hebrew.

(As an aside, I've love to get any siddur in Logos. I don't ask for a specific one because FL doesn't yet offer a single one. It's not that I care less. I'd just like to see one in Logos, then another, and so on.)

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Rob Lambert | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 3 2019 7:58 AM

Guys, I don't care at all..... ANYTHING is better than nothing for me.  I don't speak God's language and I want to.  

So, do something because you will never satisfy everybody.

Rob

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 3 2019 9:56 AM

David Paul:
THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS "CURRENT MOTHER TONGUE SPEAKERS" of Biblical Hebrew

Which is precisely why I carefully and deliberately avoided juxtaposing "mother tongue" and "Biblical Hebrew".

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 3 2019 11:19 AM

Rob Lambert:

Guys, I don't care at all..... ANYTHING is better than nothing for me. 

Something almost always trumps nothing.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 3 2019 1:18 PM

EastTN:

Rob Lambert:

Guys, I don't care at all..... ANYTHING is better than nothing for me. 

Something almost always trumps nothing.

And 'something' will be there for a decade at least for Logos ... better get it right-ish. I agree with David. Though I suspect 'Biblical' is whatever the hasmonians dreamed up. The writing letters must have been a real embarrasment.  Kind of like writing hebrew with greek letters.


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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 3 2019 1:43 PM

Denise:

And 'something' will be there for a decade at least for Logos

Granted

Denise:

... better get it right-ish.

Given how far away we are from the time the Hebrew Bible was written (not to mention the fact that the way the language was spoken would likely have shifted over time, and there would also likely have been multiple regional accents), when it comes to reproducing how it was actually spoken then, "-ish" is probably the best we can hope for. I get the desire to have something that's as close as possible, but there's also value in having something audible that students can use to help familiarize themselves with the vocabulary, grammar and syntax of the language - even if the pronunciation is as artificial as that of imagined languages such as Klingon (though I doubt that whatever Logos did would be quite that bad).

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