11 Sep 2009
First Text of the Old Testament - History of Hebrew
The Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament by Christians and the Tenach by Jews, is an Ancient Near Eastern text, which was written millennia ago within a time and culture that is vastly different from our own. The authors perspectives on life and the world around them is steeped with their own traditions, lifestyles, manners and thoughts. When reading and studying this text we can not interject our own cultural perspectives into the text, to do so would bring about interpretations and conclusions that are far removed from the authors intended meaning.
Let's take the concepts of the past and the future to demonstrate how important it is to recognize that Biblical concepts are sometimes the opposite of our own. We perceive of the past as behind us and the future as before us. The Hebrew word for the past is temul and the word for the future is mahher. Temul means "in front" while mahher means "behind" And therefore in Hebraic thought the past is in front of you and the future is behind you.
Why did the Ancient Hebrews perceive of time in this way? Because the past is known, it is laid out in front of you to see. while the future is not known and is therefore hidden behind you.
We will be examining the Hebrew alphabet, language, philosophy and culture to uncover the evidence that supports a perspective of these ancient Near Eastern texts that is very different from the way they are normally perceived and we will dig into the deeper meanings of these texts from an ancient perspective.
Narration: Jeff A. Benner
Music: Callen Clark, Jason Emory
Video Footage: Francesco Dazzi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/checco/), Rabbi Ayla Grafstein
Photos: Daniel Tibi, Hamed Samir, Philipp Roelli