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A deeper understanding of the message of the Bible requires a deeper understanding of the original Hebrew from which the Bible was translated. There is confusion, which is caused by difficulty in accurately translating Biblical Hebrew. There is additional truth revealed when a deeper study includes examing the Biblical Hebrew. This task is not easy but the results are worth the effort.

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15
There are many excellent study tools available to increase your understanding of the Biblical Hebrew. Many free software tools are also commonly available. One of my favorite tools is "e-Sword", which is available online for a free download at http://www.e-sword.net. This program contains Strong's Concise Hebrew Dictionary and a cross-reference between the words of the KJV and the Hebrew. There are many other valuable study tools in e-Sword.

The online website http://www.blueletterbible.org contains even more detailed tools for bridging the gap between English and Hebrew. Along with Strong's Concise Hebrew Dictionary and a cross-reference between the words of the KJV and the Hebrew, you can see the complete text of the Hebrew Bible verses.

This book is another tool, which can be used with these tools to improve the understanding and research of the Biblical Hebrew. This book frees the student of the Bible from traditional confusion and errors of the Masoretic Hebrew Bible and removes a major study hurdle by expressing the Biblical Hebrew language in the Latin script.

Take careful note of the terminology I am using. In this book I use the unqualified term Hebrew to refer to Biblical Hebrew of the first century AD. This is not the same thing as the Masoretic Hebrew of the seventh century AD. I will discuss these differences later in detail.

I also use the word Tanach, which is the word used by Judaism, to refer to the Masoretic Hebrew Bible. The Masoretic Hebrew Bible is close but not identical to the original Hebrew Bible. You might call it a type of "translation" or interpretation. When I use the unqualified word Bible I am specifically referring to what might be called the "Christian" or English Bible. This convention is critical to understand when talking about differences between the two.

There will be those who will take great offense at what I have done. I am deeply saddened by this. I have chosen to follow the evidence rather than the traditions of men. I am reminded of the wrath of the church which came upon reformers such as Luther and Wycliffe when they translated the Bible into the common language of the people. It is more important to increase the knowledge and understanding of truth than to continue the traditions of men.

Hebrew Script

The biggest study limitation I have found is the difficulty to readily recognize the letters of the Hebrew script and overcome the confusion and errors of vowel pointing. It is difficult enough to grow in understanding of a new language. It creates a special hurdle for the language to be expressed in a completely unfamiliar script. The difficulty is increased because the Hebrew language is read right to left instead of left to right as English and other Latin languages do. I have not yet found any study tool, which effectively bridges this major gap of understanding between English and Hebrew.

This example illustrates the problem. This is the first couple of verses of the Bible in English and Masoretic Hebrew similar to what is found on another website.

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0101.htm

א בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ.   1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
ב וְהָאָרֶץ, הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, וְחֹשֶׁךְ, עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם; וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם. 2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.

I challenge you to be able to quickly recognize the repeated words and word forms in the Hebrew script. Unless you have spent many hours with great diligence learning Hebrew script, I don't believe you can.

I have seen many valuable presentations, which are unnecessarily difficult and awkward because they are hampered by using the Hebrew script. There is nothing holy, inspired, or special about a script used to represent the letters of a language.

There are many individuals who use the familiar Latin script of the English language to represent Hebrew words. This helps a lot but an unexpected problem appears. Different people use completely different Latin words and spellings to represent the same Hebrew word. Furthermore, the pronunciation is often skewed and disagrees.

Biblical Hebrew Transliteration

It is important to distinguish between the process of translation and the process of transliteration. Translation substitutes complete words and phrases of one language for words and phrases which are intended to mean the same thing in another language. Transliteration is quite different because it substitutes individual letters of one language with corresponding letters which sound about the same in another language. The primary intent of transliteration is to indicate pronunciation and word forms not meaning.

Languages which share the same Latin base with English do not usually need transliteration. Spanish is a good example of this. Pronunciation of Latin letters in Spanish is very close to English. It is possible to write a phonetic transliteration of Spanish which indicates those letters which are pronounced differently.

Just to really make things confusing, there is an alternate use of the word transliteration. You need to be aware of this, if researching this subject with an Internet search. The word transliteration is also used to refer to typing on an English computer keyboard to get Hebrew letters. This really should be called keyboard transliteration to distinguish the totally separate meaning. There is also an application to text in a computer file but that is a very deep subject of no concern to us.

There are two distinctly different ways to perform Hebrew transliteration. In the typical method letters are substituted without any consideration for retaining any consistency of the relationship between letters of the two languages. Vowels are particularly difficult, especially in the Masoretic Hebrew, where the existence of vowels in Hebrew has been denied and hidden. Vowels (called vowel points) have been fabricated and applied in the Masoretic Hebrew.

I have found the concept of a method which uses a direct one to one transliteration of the exact letters of the Hebrew script into appropriate corresponding Latin letters to be the most authoritative and effective method to increase my own understanding. Learning to recognize Hebrew words in a Latin script is much faster and simpler than recognizing them in Hebrew script. Being able to quickly recognize words and similarities in words is enhanced when using a transliterated Latin script.

In most cases a single uppercase Latin letter is substituted for a single Hebrew letter. The typical English pronunciation of the Latin letter, except for the use of Spanish vowel pronunciation, approximately matches the assumed Hebrew pronunciation. This assumed pronunciation is based on careful research described in greater detail in the book Sacred Name IAUA. When there is no appropriate Latin letter, two Latin letters are used. The second letter is a lowercase letter 'h' or 's'. The typical English pronunciation of the two Latin letters approximately matches the assumed Hebrew pronunciation.

Please understand, every language has regional and chronological variations in pronunciation. I have no doubt the same was true of Biblical Hebrew. Masoretic Hebrew also has numerous variations. The pronunciation I am proposing for Hebrew is a reasonable approximation, which I believe is better than anything used today, based on the evidence from my research. I am no expert but I believe simple unbiased research easily disproves anything proposed today. You may certainly believe otherwise.

This example illustrates the proposed solution to the difficulty of recognizing Hebrew script. This is the same first couple of verses of the Bible found in the previous section in English in parallel with the IAUA transliteration of Hebrew.

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. E BREShITh BRE ELAIM ETh AShMIM UETh AERTs
2 The earth was without form and empty. Darkness covered the face of the deep. The Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. B UAERTs AIThA ThAU UBAU UChShK OL FNI ThAUM URUCh ELAIM MRChFTh OL FNI AMIM

Now, I hope it is easier to see, for example, the repeated ELAIM which means GOD. There are other similarities in the repeated words and word forms. The exact text is still there, just using familiar Latin letters.

There is nothing holy, inspired, or special about a script used to represent a language. The truth is that the script of the Tanach has changed several times. The earliest parts of the Tanach were written in a completely different script than were later parts. The Masoretic Hebrew script is different than was ever originally used to write the Tanach.

Interlinear Literal Translation

I am working on an alternate presentation method with additional detailed information. This format expands the IAUA transliteration with an interlinear literal translation. This is the same first couple of verses of the Bible found in the previous section.

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
E  BREShITh  BRE  ELAIM  ETh  AShMIM  UETh  AERTs
  in·first  create  god  the  the·heavens  and·the  the·earth
2 The earth was without form and empty. Darkness covered the face
B  UAERTs  AIThA  ThAU  UBAU  UChShK  OL-  FNI 
  and·the·earth  was  formless  and·empty  and·darkness  on  face 
   of the deep. The Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
    ThAUM URUCh  ELAIM  MRChFTh  OL-  FNI  AMIM
    abyss  and·breath  god  hovered  on  face  waters

The parallel form makes it easier to read the English but the interlinear form has more connecting information suitable to study. The literal translation will use simple substitution of a single English word, where practical, which is a reasonable approximation of the meaning of the Hebrew word.

I am building a dictionary, which maps every unique Hebrew word to an appropriate English word and the Strong's reference number. I am factoring out the Hebrew prefix letters to a separate single word substitution. The verbs are the most difficult to substitute because Hebrew tenses are so different from English tenses. I will be learning a lot about Hebrew in this process. The process is greatly complicated trying to reverse the artificial tenses and nuances added to Biblical Hebrew by the Masorete vowel points.

The parallel form will be difficult to ever print in a book with standard paper and a readable font size. The interlinear form is completely impractical in a printed book. I am beginning to suspect more and more that this book will always remain an online reference book.

Masoretic Hebrew

One of the barriers to a better understanding of Hebrew is the major difference between Masoretic Hebrew and the Biblical Hebrew. This is complicated by the deliberate actions of Jewish teachers over the millenia to twist their language to hide the name of God. I discuss these issues in the book Sacred Name IAUA.

The biggest stumbling block is the addition of the vowel points in the Masoretic Text about 600 AD. These did not exist in the original texts and completely distort the understanding because they promote the idea the Hebrew script did not contain vowels. This is completely false. This leads to the second major problem.

The next problem I have found is the disagreement about how Hebrew is pronounced. This is primarily disagreement over the presence of vowels. It is difficult to discuss and remember words which you are unable to pronouce in a reliably consistent way. It is also inappropriate, in my view, based on my study, to use an obviously incorrect pronunciation.

Therefore, I have created a parallel transliteration of the Tanach for study purposes. I have removed the vowel points which did not exist in the Biblical Hebrew. I have created a transliteration which is highly pronounceable and likely to be close to the original.

IAUA Transliteration Table

It is important to note that the order and number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet is fixed by direct reference to the Bible in Psalms 119. The spelling of the names assigned to the letters varies according to the source you reference.

This is the transliteration table I use.

Biblical Hebrew 'IAUA Transliteration'
Script   Block   Number   Name   Latin   Sound
א א 1 Alef E ai
ב ב 2 Bet B b
ג ג 3 Gimel G g
ד ד 4 Dalet D d
ה ה 5 He A ah
ו ו 6 Vav U oo
ז ז 7 Zayin Z z
ח ח 8 Het Ch ch
ט ט 9 Tet T t
י י 10 Yod I ee

( כ ( ך

( כ ( ך 20 Kaf K k
ל ל 30 Lamed L l
( מ ( ם ( מ ( ם 40 Mem M m
( נ ( ן ( נ ( ן 50 Nun N n
ס ס 60 Samekh S s
ע ע 70 Ayin O oh
( פ ( ף ( פ ( ף 80 Pe F f
( צ ( ץ ( צ ( ץ 90 Tsadi Ts ts
ק ק 100 Qof Q kw
ר ר 200 Resh R r
ש ש 300 Shin Sh sh
ת ת 400 Tav Th th

Hebrew Vowels

I call this the "IAUA transliteration". The biggest difference between this transliteration and others is the vowels. Other transliterations pretend there are no vowels and only consonants. The name of God consists of four vowels including three of the five vowels.

This is my premise. The ancient Hebrew was much more regular than Masoretic Hebrew. I have seen a match of the pattern of vowel pronunciation in the Spanish language and others with Hebrew. I have used the Latin letters which match this Spanish pronunciation in my Hebrew transliteration. This choice roughly matches other professional sources which also acknowledge the existence of Hebrew vowels.

English vowels have a dozen different pronunciations. In Spanish the five vowels have only one pronunciation each. My study of the patterns of Hebrew pronunciation have led me to conclude Hebrew uses a similar pronunciation to Spanish. These are:

Hebrew Vowels and Pronunciation
Vowel Sound English
E 'ai' ā (long a)
A 'ah' ŏ (short o)
U 'oo' ū (long u)
I 'ee' ē (long e)
O 'oh' ō (long o)

There appears to be one case of a vowel being left out of the Hebrew writing, which needs to be added for pronunciation. When the E would normally appear between two consonants by pronunciation, it is left out when written. E usually appears only at the beginning of a word, the end of a word, or next to another vowel. Cases where you do find the vowel between two consonants appear to be because it is a compound word. An example is seen in the first two words of the Tanach "BREShITh BRE" or "BeREShITh BeRE" or bārāshēth bārā.

It appears there is always a vowel between two consonants even though it is not shown. Example: the Hebrew word translated to the English word Adam (Genesis 2:20) is actually the same Hebrew word translated as man (Genesis 1:26) and the transliteration is EDM, or written with the missing vowel it is EDeM, which is pronounced 'aidaim' or ādām.

You will notice that I write Hebrew using all upper case except for the helper letters which are added to distinguish unique Hebrew letters, indicate pronunciation, and on occasion indicate the missing vowel. The upper case letters indicate an exact letter by letter transliteration of the Hebrew letters.

I remind you, I am only a student of the Bible. I do not claim to be an expert. These observations are my understanding of what I see after rejecting the obvious errors which have been created by Jewish tradition. A careful pattern analysis of identical letters in various Hebrew words even in their Masoretic pronunciation uncovers the truth they are vowels and not consonants. The exact truth is probably not known by anyone living but we can do what we can to seek the truth God reveals by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrew Numbers

This is another important fact about Hebrew. There are no numerals. Numbers are represented by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This is first observed in the numbering of the verses. The appropriate numbers are shown in the transliteration table. Larger numbers are created through an additive process. Example: E = 1 and I = 10, therefore 11 = IE. The Hebrew script has the letters reversed. The rules for a number larger than 499 are not consistent.

Take note, there are some possibly confusing exceptions. For example, IA (10+5) and IU (10+6) are not acceptable as verse numbers according to Jewish tradition. This is because it is the name of God or sounds too close, so Hebrew tradition uses TU (9+6) and TZ (9+7) instead.

Tanach Differences

There are differences between the Tanach and the Bible in the order and the divisions of the different books. The Table of Contents shows both orderings. There are also some differences with verse and chapter numbering between the Tanach and the Bible. This book generally follows the verse and chapter numbering of the Tanach. Remember that chapter and verse numbers were not created until over a thousand years after the time of the Messiah.

In Jewish tradition, the ascriptions to many Psalms are regarded as independent verses, making 116 more verses, whereas the established Christian practice is to count and number each Psalm ascription together with the first verse following it.

Chapter differences are seen in Joel and Malachi. The Tanach splits a chapter in Joel but combines a chapter in Malachi. In all cases the text is the same but the numbering shows differences. These differences are indicated in detail in the table found at the following website.

http://bartimaeus.us/pub_dom/hebrew-chapter-verse-differences-list.txt

Book Development

The development of this book began with raw material from the website:

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0.htm

I wrote a series of computer programs which significantly modified the format of the material. The English text received major word substitutions to replace archaic words forms. An example would be replacing 'sinneth' with 'sins'. The name of God was also changed from 'the LORD' to 'IAUA' to match the Hebrew text. Names should not be translated. I have considered changing all the names to transliterations but that might be a little too radical and confusing instead of helpful.

I removed the vowel points from the Hebrew text which are not part of the original texts. I removed all punctuation from both the Hebrew and the Hebrew transliteration, which was also added by the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) or other tradition. There is no punctuation in the oldest manuscripts. The Hebrew text will not appear in the printed book.

I am still debating with myself about about the {P} paragraph, {N} newline, and {S} space indicators found in the JPS text. Some iterations have included them and some did not. I am debating the study value they may or may not add.

You can verify my statements about vowel points and punctuation with any Internet search. I also provide evidence by an examination of the picture of the Great Isaiah Scroll dated from about 125 BCE at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Collection.

http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah

A portion is shown on the back cover.

I made an interesting observation when examining the online website of the most ancient and respected version of the Hebrew manuscript. When they wrote notes in the margins, they did not use vowel points.

http://www.aleppocodex.org

Even Hebrew scholars have openly discussed the real value of the vowel points demonstrating that I am not the only one who disapproves.

http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?ArticleId=675
Killing a Dead Language: A Case against Emphasizing Vowel Pointing when Teaching Biblical Hebrew

I added another column of the transliteration of the Hebrew. This is the only column which will appear in the printed book with the English text. I do not know if the book will ever be printed because of the major task of preparing the final form of the English text. This will probably be an ongoing effort which will only appear on the website.

FTCABE Translation

I am continuing to make changes in the English text to use what I call "Formal Twentieth Century American Basic English" (FTCABE) words and phrasing. Even the KJV has had rephrasings since its original translation as the English language has changed. It is my goal to use simple modern American English grammar with medium length complete sentences. I have carefully compared wording in several versions of the Bible seeking text which is simple and easy to read but still completely accurate to the intent of the KJV with some adjustments to some parts such as references to the MUODIM. I have also consulted Strong's Concise Hebrew Dictionary and other sources for better wording and accuracy.

These are some examples of the simpler changes in wording. The words "upon" and "unto" are often outdated uses that are often changed to "on" and "to". The word "shall is often changed to "will". The goal is to use a formal writing style but avoiding outdated or dramatic exaggeration.

Whenever I use this type of wording in quoting from the Bible I will mark it with (FTCABE) in the same way you might see (KJV) or (NIV). You may cross reference the BlueLetterBible.org website, which shows the traditional wording and provides a word by word cross-reference to the Masoretic Hebrew.

The goal is to create an English text which is still authoritative but easy to read. This is not a paraphrase but it is not exactly a completely new translation either. The best description I can think of is a 'rephrasing'. I will also refer to this as the 'IAUA Transliteration' because it contains the name of God transliterated to IAUA. The primary purpose is to provide an easy to read English text with a Hebrew transliteration for cross reference purposes. This will assist in increasing the understanding of Hebrew in conjunction with other study tools. I hope you will be blessed by my efforts.

I love this quote and I echo its sentiment:

I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the "last days"; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth. Thus God dealt with Peter when He was about to send him to preach to the Gentiles. (Acts 10.) {EW 78.1} {ExV 64.3}

To those who may circulate this little work, I would say that it is designed for the sincere only and not for those who would ridicule the things of the Spirit of God. {EW 78.2} {ExV 64.4}

Next: Book Contents


Revised 2015-09-27