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Hebrew Language

Why Study Modern Hebrew?

Modern Hebrew is unique, a result of the most successful language revitalization project in history. People study Hebrew for a variety reasons: the desire to be able to read the Hebrew Bible in the original language, to acquire skills to read Hebrew literature and scholarship, or for heritage reasons, an ability to connect and understand Israeli culture, politics, and history. By taking the variety of Hebrew language courses available at the University of Michigan, students will be given the opportunity to study Hebrew at all levels, from beginning to advanced. Many culture courses on Jewish literature or Israeli and Jewish cinema offer optional Hebrew language sections. Knowledge of Hebrew allows students to achieve a deeper understanding of modern Israeli identities and obtain a rich Hebrew background.

Why Study Classical Hebrew?

"Why Study a "Dead Language" like Classical or Biblical Hebrew?"

First of all, Hebrew is not a dead language as there are millions of Hebrew speakers today in Israel and across the globe. Secondly, Classical or Biblical Hebrew is likewise alive and well. It is studied, read and translated by scholars, students and religious devotees from around the world. “Why is there so much interest worldwide?” Classical or Biblical Hebrew provides direct access to the language of the Tanakh or Old Testament, one of the world’s most influential literary and religious works ever created. Last, but by no means least, Classical or Biblical Hebrew also provides access to the ancient Middle Eastern worlds out of which Judaism, then Christianity, then Islam emerged, each along with their respective sacred texts.

The successful completion of the entire four semester language sequence in Classical or Biblical Hebrew (MELANG 101, 102, 201, 202) fulfills the College of LSA's Language Requirement for languages other than English. MELANG 101 is the first course in the required sequence.