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Biblical Languages

  • Biblical Languages minor, Hebrew minor, Greek minor  

    “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

  • The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the foundational documents for the Christian faith. While originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, they have been translated into a large number of the world’s languages.

    A minor in Hebrew, Greek, or both biblical languages affords an opportunity to study those foundational documents in ways not possible in English translation alone.

    All translation involves interpretation. This is why we have numerous and diverse English translations and paraphrases of the Bible available today.

    Study of Scripture in its original languages helps us understand why one translation says “this” and another translation says “that.” Does this word or phrase in a particular translation truly reflect what is found in Hebrew and Greek texts as we have them? What are the possibilities of translation concerning a particular word or phrase?

    The phrase “as we have them” reflects the acknowledged fact that the original documents of Scripture, or autographs, are not in our possession. Rather, all the translations of Scripture we have today derive from copies of those original manuscripts.

    No two of these copies are exactly the same. This helps explain why, as we read our English Bibles, we often see superscripts in the text pointing to differing readings in various ancient manuscripts.

    At Olivet, you can:

    • Consider the grammar and syntax of the biblical languages as these affect the meaning and interpretation of texts.
    • Investigate the structure and literary features of Scripture in the biblical languages as these affect interpretation and theological meaning.
    • Take into account the variety of manuscripts underlying biblical texts as they affect translation and interpretation.
    • Employ a variety of study tools such as lexicons (Hebrew and Greek dictionaries), concordances, tools for word studies, and commentaries explicitly based on the biblical languages.
    • And so much more!
    Biblical Languages minor requires eight hours of elementary Greek and eight hours of elementary Hebrew plus three hours of upper-level Greek or Hebrew.

    Hebrew minor requires eight hours of elementary Hebrew and six additional hours of upper-level Hebrew.

    Greek minor requires eight hours of elementary Greek and six additional hours of upper-level Greek.

    Biblical Languages is within the School of Theology and Christian Ministry.