Hebrew: A Holy Language

Although the Bible itself says very little about it, Jewish and Christian traditions commonly regard Hebrew as the language of creation, the language of primitive humanity and, ultimately, the language of God. Is there any evidence to support such views? Scholars today understand Hebrew to be a North-West Semitic language closely related to Moabite and Phoenician. It entered the record of history late in the day. Nevertheless, the notion of Hebrew as a holy language cannot be completely rejected.

In this lecture, Jan Joosten, Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford, will argue that, although Hebrew did not start out as a holy tongue, over time it really did become one. Join us to learn the story of this fascinating development from one of the world's leading authorities on the Hebrew language and the Bible. Professor Juoosten's talk will be followed by a discussion with Gary Rendsburg, Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History at Rutgers University.