Hebrew’s 22 Words

Hebrew’s 22 Words May 2, 2014

How the article made it onto CNN, I have no idea. But they shared some silliness as though it were serious, mentioning a group that claims that each Hebrew letter is not really a letter but a word. That would mean, as one commenter pointed out, that Hebrew has a grand total of 22 words. Bryan Bibb offers a useful critique which points out how this absurd nonsense connects with more widespread views and desires related to the translation of the Bible. The aim seems to be to allow anyone to “translate” Hebrew with no need for linguistics, scholars, or anything else to do with that highfalutin book lernin’.


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  • Evidently, “iReport CNN” is a page that let’s anyone post “news.” It’s unfortunate because it creates the illusion of credibility. I’ve seen other stories about this project “as reported on CNN.”

    • That clarifies things. Thanks.

    • Everything you see on iReport starts with someone in the CNN audience. The stories here are not edited fact-checked or screened before they post. CNN’s producers will check out some of the most compelling, important and urgent iReports and, once they’re cleared for CNN, make them a part of CNN’s news coverage. (Look for the red “CNN iReport” stamp to see which stories have been vetted for CNN.)


      • Danny Yencich

        iReports has got to be the strangest idea any credible news source has *ever* come up with.

        “Hey, team, I’ve got this great idea! Let’s let ANYONE post ANYTHING they want as if it was actual news, and we’ll put OUR name on it!”

  • Um, highfalutin*

  • ScottBailey
    • Thanks. I miss Scotteriology…

      • ScottBailey

        Thanks James. I miss it too, but I really needed a break. I shall return one day…

  • markhh

    So, if you use the first two glyphs to form your main word and the choice makes no sense in context, try using the next two and so on until you find the root concept.

    Keep trying! Pretty soon you’ll find the exact meaning you were looking for.

  • While you superficial skeptics doubt, I was drawn in by the pleasantly buxom women in the photo. Sometimes you have to overlook what doesn’t make sense in religious thinking so as to enjoy what is of deeper value.

  • jonrgrover

    OK, I’ll bite. What are the 22 words?

    • Does it matter?

      • jonrgrover

        It matters to those of us who are conceptual explorers. Most people do not seem to care about studying concepts, information and meaning. A few of us do. It matters to us. Also, it sounds fun.

        • The idea of a language with only 22 words is so nonsensical that I would think it better for a conceptual explorer to spend their time exploring other concepts! But seriously, I don’t think the person who concocted the system actually does it consistently.

          • jonrgrover

            I don’t think you understand what they are doing. The idea they are working with is called an Abecedarius. What they were trying to do is discover the most basic Abecedarius for the Hebrew alphabet / religion. Historically, the alphabet actually originated from an Abecedarius. As the alphabet was invented (proto-Sinaitic), each letter stood for a particular thing, for example S-snake, M-mountain etc.

            I understand if you hate religion and God. So such things as religious
            back-fill Abecedarius’ wouldn’t matter to you. None-the-less I find Abecedariuses fascinating.

          • No, they were not just exploring the origins of the letters, and an abecedarius denotes works like some of the Psalms in which each line begins with the next letter of the alphabet.

            I hope that you will not mistake my pointing our your errors for hatred of religion!