Posted By MSH on August 15, 2009
I thought about titling this post ďWhere Angels Fear to Tread . . . Figures Mike Doesnít Know Any Better.Ē
Iíve given the idea Iíll sketch out below considerable thought over the last year.† A year ago I asked newsletter subscribers if they would be willing to pay for Greek and Hebrew courses from me.† There wasnít a huge response, but what did come in was positive.† I more or less dispensed with the idea as other issues were more pressing.† That means Iíve either been inspired in recent weeks to revisit the idea, or that I took a stupid pill.† You be the judge.
Iíve decided that Iím going to take a step of faith and try the ďlearning Hebrew / Greek with MikeĒ idea. Iíve been prompted by a couple of things. Last year I taught some courses at a local university. None of those courses were ancient languages, but I decided to give students in my ancient Egypt class extra credit if theyíd stay 10-15 minutes to learn ancient Egyptian after I dismissed everyone else. I had close to a dozen stick it out the entire quarter, and our progress surpassed my expectations.† A few weeks later I discovered online groups (yes, I seem to find everything late) when an Egyptology blog I subscribe to scheduled some Yahoo groups for teaching and learning Egyptian.† The idea intrigued me. Next, my employer decided that we need to develop ancient language courseware of some type. Now that Iíve finished my second reverse interlinear, Iím devoting a lot of time at work to thinking through the video lessons Iíll be doing for that.† Those wonít be at all like what Iíll describe below (I donít have the equipment, plus our philosophy for what weíre doing there is pretty non-traditional), but they did at least motivate me.† Lastly, I believe that during my lifetime what we think of as professional biblical and theological education may well have to be done off the radar in light of the current and emerging socio-political climate. All these forces have converged to make me think that I need to take a whack at this.† If it works, Iíll do more, including non-language courses. Anyone interested in taking Hebrew or Greek with Heiser, read on.
In a nutshell, Iíve plotted out an independent study course for each language that will take an entire year.† Students will have two weeks to master each unit (usually a chapter from a grammar, but sometimes more).† I will go through each unit and the answers to all exercises in the grammar through the magic of screen capture software (with audio of course). It will (I hope) be the equivalent of having a professor there with you explaining the chapters, exercises, and answers.† For questions and interaction with others, Iíve set up a Google Group for each course.† Iíll lurk in the groups and incorporate posted questions into my explanatory videos.† The course is ideal for beginners and for those who need a refresher.
Sound cool?† I think so. But there are some ďcatchesĒ:
1. Itís still going to be work. Youíre only going to get out of it what you put into it.† Iím right there with you, but I canít (and wouldnít) do the work for you.
2. Thereís a cost.† Iím not doing it for free, since itís a real time commitment on my part. To do this I have to axe other things I do for free (and yes, Iím still planning to finish the Myth book by the end of September) and donít do for free on the side.† Iíd just rather do this in lieu of the latter, if there is enough interest. The cost is going to be about 10% of what youíd pay at any college, university, or seminary for a year-long course.
3. Thereís a schedule. The courses are slated to begin on October 4 and have to be prepaid.† I am setting a limit at 15 people, and a minimum of 5 people.† If I donít get five people to sign up, I wonít do the course (and youíll get a refund).† If you arenít in the 5-15 who sign up by October 4, you wonít get in.† Youíll have to wait for the next module (if there is one).† Once the courses start, they will move along in two week increments. Within those two weeks, you work according to your own schedule and convenience.
But wait, thereís more!† (Sorry, I just wanted to say that).
Well, I guess there really is more. Here are the course syllabi (Hebrew; Greek) that people who sign up will get upon payment.† Here is the link on my main website to sign up for the course. Iím administering this through E-Junkie; those who have bought a paper or subscribed to my newsletter know the system. Iíll remove the product link after October 4. Note that if you sign up for both thereís a big discount.
Iíll be sending this announcement out to my email lists, but I wanted to give blog readers the news first. So, the clock is ticking. You have seven weeks, so tell your friends (and maybe some enemies). Weíll see if I can get five people to take the plunge with me.