“Shared misery is a half-joy” might be an acceptable translation of the Italian proverb which serves as the title of this post. Menachem Mendel, whose blog deserves to be widely read, says that I overestimate the depth of knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic among Yeshiva students. He’s right of course (and I love the comments to his post.) Note also Iyov’s comment here. My attempt to provoke to jealousy my fellow-Christians is shown to be based on an exaggeration.
At least we are all in the same boat. I return to my earlier point: the earlier in life one begins learning a language, the better. If mastery of the languages in which Scripture and tradition are transmitted is important, which it must be for the serious student of said literature, then an educational context must be created which allows students to learn said languages before they even know that they will someday devote their life to the literature written in them.
Here are some fighting words from Chip Hardy, whose own blog is useful for those who wish to improve their biblical Hebrew:
A theological “education” which does not place a great emphasis upon reading the original languages and yet says it stands in the Protestant tradition is hypocritical.