In the Beginning: A Short HIstory of the Hebrew Language

Wednesday, December 1, 2004
New Book by Dr. Joel Hoffman, Lecturer on Hebrew, HUC-JIR/New York

Dr. Joel Hoffman, Lecturer on Hebrew at HUC-JIR/New York, has just published "In the Beginning: A Short HIstory of the Hebrew Language", issued by NYU Press.

Dr. Hoffman follows and decodes the marvelous adventure that is the history of Hebrew, illuminating how the written Hebrew record has survived, explaining the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient translations, and analyzing clues about how the words of the Bible were actually pronounced. Easy-to-read and enlightening, In the Beginning places 3,000 years of fascinating developments into historical context and describes their continuing impact on the modern world.

Reviews include:

Rabbi Larry Kushner: "A history that reads like an airport novel...On virtually every page, we are delightedc by at least one surprising fact, amazing theory, or delicious metaphor."

Dr. Marc Brettler: "A wonderful contribution...[t]his book really brings the study of Hebrew into the 21st century. Those interested in language and students of Hebrew at all levels will benefit from its insights"


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu