- Torah and Jewish Thought
- General Questions
Hi. I only speak and read in English. I found yeshiva.org from searching online looking for Bible-related sources to help me learn Bible text, and I would like to ask what is the best way to learn Bible terminology. I come from a religious background, but when growing up questioned most or entirely everything I was ever taught, and do not affiliate myself with any religious denomination.. In wanting to know the answers to the big questions in life ("Why am I here?", "What happens after I die?", etc), I’ve decided to use as the starting point for my search to lifes answers the Bible, since for one thing it was what I grew up on and it’s what much of my beliefs, views, and attitudes, etc are centered around (it is also the foundation for some of the world’s major religions). I think in order to know the content of the Bible, the first thing to learn and understand the Bible’s terminology (truth, faith, righteousness, etc). How can one know the contents of a text without first knowing its terminology? I would appreciate your input offered to me, a total layman when it comes to scriptural text as far as academic education goes (like attending seminaries or synagogues) but who is seeking to "know the truth", on the best way of how to learn scriptural terminology. A fellow truth seeker,
You are definitely correct that the answer to the big questions and the meaning in life are in the Bible, and also that “the first thing (is) to learn and understand the Bible’s terminology”, but for this, you must really learn Hebrew! No translation can include the multi-faceted wording of the Book of Books, and what translators inevitably do is choose one of the many commentaries, and the innocent reader doesn’t even realize that he’s just seeing one possible explanation, selected by that particular translator. All of the greatest scholars come out very strongly against learning from translations, and agree that it’s better to invest a couple of months on intensively studying Hebrew. Thus, you can learn properly, and appropriately question and raise your intellectual opinions and issues with knowledgeable teachers for the rest of your life. In general, you didn’t write where you live, so all I can do is suggest the closest orthodox (that’s the original, unadulterated Judaism continuing the unbroken ancient traditions and explanations of the Bible) rabbi who can teach you Hebrew, and also the concepts behind the terms. This is what’s called the Oral Tradition, and has been an essential and really the only way to study Torah seriously and properly since the Torah was given 3,300 years ago.