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  1. Kevin
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Resource
    July 7, 2018
    Kevin
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Talk to anyone who studied Biblical languages during their education and I guarantee they will attest to the difficulty of retention post-schooling. Whether at Bible College or Seminary, past or present, it is nigh-impossible to maintain the fundamentals and vocabulary without daily engagement. This becomes more difficult as time grows in scarcity, feeling like you have to relearn the language all over again. What is even more difficult is when one is just getting their bearings with a new language entirely. This is where I'm at with Biblical Aramaic. In all the volumes of the Two Minutes a Day series from Hendrickson, Kline clearly emphasizes that this is not meant to replace a grammar, but supplement it. Because I am not taking Aramaic until the fall, I have been watching online lectures so I can get a feel for the language. Compared to the classroom, this method is far from ideal and I would not recommend it unless one were in a similar situation of semester preparation. Be that as it may, this has been an amazing supplement to the online lectures I've watched. In the midst of my gaining traction with Aramaic, this resource has been a reasonable, affordable, and beneficial lifeline that is a joy to reach for. Published by Hendrickson with editor/compiler Dr. Jonathan G. KlineKeep Up Your Biblical Aramaic in Two Minutes A Day is a daily tool specifically designed to aid individuals with their Aramaic vocabulary in just minutes a day!

    Ive been immersed in the languages for the majority of my undergrad and seminary career. Ive had four years of Greek, two years of Hebrew, and am now preparing for Aramaic in the fall. Between the paradigms, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary for Hebrew and Greek, maintaining the skills outside of the classroom is more than challenging. Adding a third language to the plate is very overwhelming at points, but I can honestly say that I am far less discouraged because of this volume on Aramaic. The series is not misleading in suggesting only two minutes a day. Even with a language I am unfamiliar with, I have noticed a huge difference with a mere two minutes a day. The proposed two minutes is an easy commitment for anyone of any familiarity with Biblical languages.

    This volume follows the same structure as the Greek and Hebrew volumes. The exception here is is identically structured in that they contain a word a day for each volume. The selections are organized by number of times used in Daniel and Ezra. Each entry contains two new vocabulary words, beginning with the most common words and proceeding to the rarest. Each day provides a verse from Daniel or Ezra, where both the Aramaic and English text are included. For the Aramaic, the verse is broken down into phrases/clauses below with the corresponding English phrases or clauses next to them. This is accompanied by the transliteration, meaning, number of occurrences, and Strongs number. Additionally, each day includes the definition of each word in the verse for the day if one wanted to devote more than two minutes a day. The pages are dated and numbered with the number of the week and day you are in the book, just in case someone doesn't want to wait until January to start their commitment. According to Kline, there are 716 unique vocabulary words in Biblical Aramaic (a third of which only appear once in the Bible). By the time the reader reaches the end of the book, they will be familiarized with all 716 of them, and will have read 80% of all the Aramaic portions of the Bible!

    This new series from Hendrickson gives language learners the upper hand in the challenge of retaining vocabulary previously acquired. In todays day and age, the solution to vocabulary retention is provided by some kind of app, but staring at a screen has been (for me at least) another reason to stay on my phone. Incorporating two minutes of reading in a daily routine is very doable, making one less reliable on their phone. This small hardcover book is compact like a journal, making it easy to carry with you whatever your storage preference and calls for such a measly amount of time that it can be incorporated into any level of busyness. While this book is certainly not for everyone, those who have any interest in engaging Aramaic vocabulary will find much to gain from this book and the first volume and will likely find it to be a frequently consulted aid; especially if they are already familiar with Biblical Hebrew. I would definitely recommend this, and any of the other volumes for those looking to rekindle or maintain vocabulary from any of the Biblical languages.

    Disclaimer: Thank you to Hendrickson for generously providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own and were not influenced by the gesture.

  2. Nathan
    Beaverton, OR
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent Refresher/Vocabulary
    January 31, 2018
    Nathan
    Beaverton, OR
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    [Note: This book was provided free of charge by Hendrickson Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

    While I do not consider myself to be a scholar of the ancient languages of the Bible, as someone who has an interest in biblical Aramaic [1], this book is definitely of interest to me. It should be noted that this book is not considered as a substitute for the study of the grammar and syntax of the Aramaic language, but is designed to provide the entire corpus of biblical writing in that language for the reader to study and read. Those who are able to devote a great deal of time to their study of this language can be expected to greatly improve their understanding of biblical Aramaic while those who have only a little bit of time to read the book over the course of a year still can gain some from keeping the subject matter in mind, as it is hard to keep up a language that one learns as an adult without periodic refreshing, which this book does very well.

    This book can be considered as a devotional that is supercharged to give understanding to the Aramaic text that occurs mostly in Daniel and Ezra in the Bible (as well as one verse in Jeremiah and part of a verse in Genesis). Each day of a normal 365-day year is given a verse that has two (or more) words to study/refresh present. The structure of the book is consistent throughout, with introductory material on top in the header, the verse of interest itself immediately below this, two words (usually) given in the square form along with its transliteration, the meaning in English, and the frequency the word appears in the Bible. The biblical text then appears from the Hebrew Bible appears below followed by a discussion of the verse on a phrase by phrase basis with the word(s) of the day highlighted within the text. Those words which appear more commonly come first and then the book ends with those verses that contain words only used once. Throughout the book shows a consistently high standard of biblical scholarship and the author is intent on encouraging readers to look at the cited verses in context in order to better understand them, even though they are in isolation within the book itself.

    Although this book is clearly aimed at a scholarly audience which is at least familiar with Aramaic and which knows the conventions of biblical writing in the Hebrew scriptures (including the use of prefixes and suffixes, reading from right to left within lines, the fact that some letters have a different form if they are the last letter of a word, and so on), for those who are able to read and understand this book there is a great deal of insight that one can gain into the biblical Aramaic of the Hebrew scriptures, including the fact that some words' meanings are not exactly known, which has led the author to note these translations with a question mark afterward. Most surprisingly in this case is the language about the clothing in Daniel 3:21 or several terms in Daniel 6:19, and the fact that the author is willing to admit ignorance of the precise meaning even if the sense of it is clear enough is itself something that is worth appreciating and respecting. A book that shows conspicuous signs of knowledge but also an awareness of the limits of that knowledge is certainly something to view with a great deal of respect.

    [1] See, for example:

    https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/10/15/book-review-nkjv-word-study-bible/

    https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/04/06/book-review-jewish-new-testament/

    https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/07/26/book-review-the-new-testament-background/

    https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/02/21/a-modest-proposal-for-the-creation-of-a-bible-reading-program-study-bible/

    https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/02/12/book-review-early-manuscripts-modern-translations-of-the-new-testament/
  3. John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Outstanding!!
    November 27, 2017
    John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The most important practice for maintaining and increasing ones understanding of the biblical languages is daily engagement with the language itself. Thats right. Its as easy as daily use of the language. Still, for most students of the biblical languages (past or present), there are two common hurdles to overcometime and direction. It is for this reason, that I can think of no resource more essential to students of the biblical languages than The Two Minutes A Day Biblical Language Series compiled and edited by Jonathan G. Kline.

    The Two Minutes A Day Biblical Language Series has been specially designed to help readers build upon a previous study of the biblical languages by facilitating daily engagement in an easy, manageable, and spiritually enriching way (p. vii). The series is comprised of five handsomely produced, durable imitation leather volumes: Keep Up Your Biblical Hebrew in Two Minutes a Day: Volume 1 & 2 (forthcoming), Keep Up Your Biblical Aramaic in Two Minutes a Day, and Keep Up Your Biblical Greek in Two Minutes a Day: Volume 1 & 2 (forthcoming).

    The organizational structure of each volume in the series is identical. Each volume contains 365 sections for review in a single-page devotional style format. To encourage the readers to spend regular time with the biblical languages, each page includes a day number (from 1 to 365), a date (from January 1 to December 31), and a week number (from Week 1 to Week 52). The format of the content for each entry includes an English translation of the passage (NRSV, ESV, NASB, NIV, CSB, and MLB) with vocabulary words bolded for contextual recognition, new vocabulary words with both transliterations and definitions, a biblical language presentation of the passage, and a side-by-side breakdown of the passage with both biblical language and translation.

    Keep Up Your Biblical Hebrew in Two Minutes a Day: Volume 1 was created with consideration of the main frequency list of vocabulary found in The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew by Miles V. Van Pelt and Gary D. Pratico. Kline has taken the 365 most frequently occurring words in the Hebrew Bible and curated a list of passages for readers to engage each day. Thus, not only are readers engaging biblical Hebrew, but theyre effectively learning vocabulary that will afford them greater efficiency when using Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: A Readers Edition. For ease of reading, Kline has removed the Masoretic accents and Ketiv forms, including only the Qere forms. Lastly, it should be mentioned that the Hebrew text referenced in this volume is taken from the Michigan-Claremont-Westminster Electronic Hebrew Bible, which is a public domain text that is based on the BHS and compared with the Leningrad Codex.

    Keep Up Your Biblical Aramaic in Two Minutes a Day offers readers, in order of descending frequency, every word in biblical Aramaic. The volume is shaped in conjunction with the lexical forms, glosses, and frequencies of the incredibly useful Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook by Donald R. Vance, George Athas, Yael Avrahami, and Jonathan G. Kline. Students of biblical Aramaic would do well to purchase this volume if they havent already. The Aramaic text used is likewise from the Michigan-Claremont-Westminster Electronic Hebrew Bible, and, for ease of reading, Kline has likewise removed the Masoretic accents and Ketiv forms. The approach that Kline took concerning the descending nature of the volume is especially helpful considering the number of hapax Legomenon present in the Aramaic passages of the Hebrew Bible (more than one-third of words in biblical Aramaic).

    Keep Up Your Biblical Greek in Two Minutes a Day: Volume 1 was created with consideration of the main frequency list of vocabulary found in Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament by Warren C. Trenchard. Kline has taken the 365 most frequently occurring words in the Greek New Testamentall words that occur 42 times or more, plus about half of this that occurs 41 timesand curated a list of passages for readers to engage each day. Mastery of these 365 words will not only allow readers to engage biblical Greek with more proficiency but afford them knowledge of nearly every lexical form assumed by The Greek New Testament: A Readers Edition. The glosses are abridged entries of Hendricksons Compact Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Mark House, with occasional contextual modifications from Kline. The Greek text quoted in this volume is The Greek New Testament prepared by B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, which is a critical edition of the Greek New Testament published in 1881.

    There is much to be praised about this series and the two forthcoming volumes. Ive already voiced the necessity of these volumes for readers looking to remain in contact with a study of the biblical languages. There is absolutely nothing like them on the market and Kline is to be commended in the highest regard for his work here. The format is both easy-to-use and inviting. Thus, not only has Kline created a space for readers to enter their needed engagement with the biblical languages, but he has made it both exciting and immediately rewarding. Additionally, these volumes are the quality construction that many have come to expect from Hendrickson Publishers. The cover is a supple imitation leather over board, which provides both the functionality and durability that will withstand daily use for years to come. The paper is also thick and opaque, and the text is easy to read. Lastly, the inclusion of two ribbon bookmarkers per volume compliments the overall approach of the series and offers added usefulness that readers are certain to appreciate.

    The Two Minutes A Day Biblical Language Series compiled and edited by Jonathan G. Kline is certain to become a new classroom standard for both teachers and students looking for quick and easy ways to remain engaged with the biblical languages. If you are a past or present student of Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek, then the volumes in this series should be a no-brainer purchase. They wont replace grammars nor the necessity of such for learning the biblical languages, but they will most certainly transform how you engage them. I couldnt recommend this series more strongly!

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