Overall, the course was very easy to follow and was logical. He had a good pattern for new vocabulary, practice and reading. In addition, his interval review throughout it was very good. I would recommend it. However, I have one big issue with it, as he promotes human tradition over reading the text as God had it is recorded. Does he know better than God? My big issue is with his justification of why he does not read the tetragram (Ha shem/shem meforash) in any form. See the vocabulary in unit 9 where he spends almost 4 minutes explaining (justifying?) it. Throughout the rest of the course, he always reads it as adonai. In justifying this, he says he is following the tradition of the Jews. I wonder if he also follows the traditional Jewish view of Jesus? It is ridiculous to hear a scholar say the best way not to misuse (or abuse) it not to use it. Should we also not use the title “God” since many misuse that also? Is it better not to use the Bible because we might misunderstand it? The divine name appears 6,828 times and thus God clearly wanted us to know and use it. Had God wanted us to read and say adonai he would have written that under inspiration and not YHWH as he did. Many of the Biblical names have either El or Y/Jah in them too. If we are consistent should we not remove all the theophoric names such as “Jesus?” If we are to follow the tradition of the Jews where do we stop? Many Jews today don’t even write out “God” so are we to stop writing or saying that too? However you roll the dice, his presentation was not entirely accurate. Why? At least 4 reasons. 1) The Jews did not stop using it but curbed the use. At least once a year the high priest would use it on Yom Kippur -the day of atonement. (cf. Mishnah Yoma 6:2) Also the priests did when they recited the Priestly Blessings (Sot. 7:6) The scholarly consensuses is that Masoretes were Karaites not Rabbanites Jews. Why is that important? Because they did not take the same stand as the Rabbanites but varied with some continuing to speak it. Thus it is pure conjecture that the Karaites would have not been using the name (audible) when they wrote the MT. It is possible that some even rebuke the Jews who substituted a different word. So, one size does not fit all. 2) The Jews never removed the tetragram as modern English Bibles often do. He says the Jewish tradition is a reason why modern Bibles removal the tetragram. However, the Jews did not remove YHWH but did not pronounce it. If we wish to follow their tradition then we should keep a form of the divine name (Jehovah/Yehovah/Yahweh or YHWH) and when reading orally substitute a different word. The point? The Jews did not remove the name from Scripture so it has no justification in removing it today. 3) In addition, the vowels in YHWH are not the same as adonai as clearly shown by the sheva in the beginning and not a qamets or hataf patah as “lord” has. If the Masoretes wanted to substitute the vowel points from “lord” why did they use a sheva instead? ( As one writer highlighted this all “undermines any notion of the Tetragrammaton’s vowels being a ketiv-kere, for every other Masoretic ketiv-kere substitutes the kere-vowels unchanged, even when the result is an impossible fit to the ketiv-consonants” besides there is absolutely no indication of any ketiv-qere for the Tetragram but only conjecture.) Also, sometimes the divine name in the MS text does not have the holam either- so there is not 100% consistency on the spelling of the 6,828 occurrences. He fails to mention this, but again goes with the traditional understanding. On the other hand, this is one of many points that Karaite Nehemia Gordon highlights that is wrong with this “traditional” understanding. 4) It is also an anachronistic argument to say that how the NT quotes the OT is evidence for substituting “lord.” Why? Because The LXX did not have kyrios in the first century AD or BC but a form of the divine name. Later nomina scara were used and not the a plene kyrios. It was not until around the 2nd century that nomina sacra were used in LXX/OG. - See Tov SCRIBAL PRACTICES AND APPROACHES p.288. Online: http://www.emanueltov.info/docs/books/scribal-practices1.publ.books.pdf?v=1.0 Why all this on one issue? Because over and over YHWH comes up and he continues to misread it. Ps. I am glad he highlights that he doubts that “Yahweh” is the correct pronunciation. (Hebrew scholars for years have know that Yahweh is probably not correct) The scholarly evidence is for a 3 syllable pronunciation not two. I often hear ones who use Yahweh say that “Jehovah” is not correct but such ones need to learn that Yahweh is also not considered accurate either. “The avoidance of pronouncing the name YHWH is generally ascribed to a sense of reverence. More precisely, it was caused by a misunderstanding of the Third Commandment (Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11)” - ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 7 p. 675.
- Dear Kenneth, Thank you for taking the time to response. I apologize if I came across as judgmental against a person that was not my intent. (Matt 7:1) My judgment is really aimed at the content given and the human tradition presented. Mark's qualities and his salvation were never an issue. The issue is - why isn't a proper name used instead of a totally different substituted word? This is not done with any other name and there is no valid scholarly reason to avoid using it. In addition, all Biblical names could be considered "mispronunciations" because they are not how they were original said in Hebrew when one reads it in English. For example, "Jesus" (Joshua is better but still not the same) is not even close to how Mary called her Son. However, that doesn't stop Bible translations and people from readily saying "Jesus" or "Jeremiah" etc. in English. PS I agree the videos were great.
- I'm glad to see some info about the actual course here as I generally wonder when there are only "star" reviews about the content itself. My thought on the original question as to why the Adonai... perhaps the instructor was being sensitive to those of different backgrounds to which another pronunciation may have been a stumbling block.
- just to be clear, was this course money well spent? I am considering doing one of the language courses.