Are definitions built from Hebrew Hieroglyphics not accepted on this site? Hieroglyphics are pictorial symbols are used to represent meaning or sounds. The Ancient Hebrew Learning Center has developed a proven method for understanding Hebrew words through their Hieroglyphic usage, and have even made a chart to help people new to the Hebrew language to see how the definition has come into being.

One example is the Hebrew word (על) Pronounced (‘al). Meaning was over, upon, over, on, above, is on, etc.

The Hieroglyphics represent an Eye, and a Shepherd Staff.

The eye looks over at the Shepherd Staff.
The eye looks upon the Shepherd Staff.
The eye is on the Shepherd Staff.
The eye looks above the Shepherd Staff.

So you can see that you can get a full meaning from understanding how these Hieroglyphics work. However, when I have used this method to answer questions for users of this "Hermeneutics Forum" I receive negative results. So now I ask, "Are definitions built from Hebrew Hieroglyphics not accepted on this site?"


I think you might be conflating issues here.

However, when I have used this method to answer questions for users of this "Hermeneutics Forum" I receive negative results.

I believe you are connecting the dots wrong. It is not necessary because you mention Hebrew hieroglyphics that you received negative feedback, it was because your answer itself was very poor. There may or may not actually be something interesting to be learned there, but you don't explain it at all.

In addition to explaining the techniques you are used, you also need to connect the dots between the text and your conclusions. Your failure to do this is why a lot of your answers are not well received here. They tend to ramble on making a bunch of theological assertions without explaining how you came up with them or how one would e know they are actually related beyond a few similar themes.

I know that is speaking bluntly, but you really need to take on board some of the feedback you've been given. In particular I suggest a careful re-read of What does "show your work" mean in the context of exegesis? as most of your issues seem to be along the lines of not showing your work in a way this site expects.

What makes us different from those sites is that here, our focus is primarily on the process of hermeneutical analysis, not the final output of that process.

As far as hieroglyphics go, I might suggest asking a couple questions about the technique and it's role in interpretation. I am not knowledgeable in Hebrew but I suspect you will hear from people that are that it is not quite the tool you think it to be for figuring out the meaning of a word. Hebrew like any language is not always the sum of it's parts. The technique may be quite useful in the study of etymology and even as a mnemonic device for remembering things, but I doubt it is a stand-alone way to evaluate what something means. Even if the etymological roots are connected to such pictorial representation, as far as a fully developed language goes it's probably much more meaningful to work backwards from known meanings of words rather than forwards assigning meaning to unknown words for which a variety of factors need to be taken into account.


Your going to face challenges in trying to use the methodology here. Both Caleb and Jas 3.1 address the "show your work" point (which you will have to do more of because of people's unfamiliarity with your system).

However, some are probably going to reject your system anyway and not upvote you very often (and I would likely be one) simply because certain foundational premises are so different than what is understood to be true of language itself.

For instance, on Mechanical Translation (a link from the navigation bar of the AHRC site):

The major advantage to the Mechanical Translation for the student of the Bible is that it consistently translates each Hebrew word in the exact same way each time it occurs in the text. This allows the reader to see the Hebrew text, without even knowing Hebrew, in its pure form void from any personal interpretation being interjected into the text.

However, such a translation is not an advantage, nor is it true. It is not true, because choosing to translate "each Hebrew word in the exact same way each time" is interjecting "personal interpretation" into the text, an interpretation that fails to understand that words can have more than one meaning to them within a language (I like to use the English word "bark" as an example, as it has three major usage divisions, with a whole lot of submeanings even within those three areas), and so when translating, isolating the correct word in the target language is important. It is not an advantage, because in most cases it obscures the actual meaning by assuming the word means only this one thing at all times.

The above is such a basic concept of language itself that even the system you are holding to cannot faithfully hold to it, for the chart you reference lists two to four meanings for the pictographic letters. So technically, each letter should have one meaning if it was going to be interpreted "the exact same way each time." Additionally, that chart, while it may (and I have not studied it to know) have some validity in reflecting some idea of the original pictographic meaning of hieroglyphs, fails to then understand or acknowledge that those glyphs turned into an alphabetic form of writing such that the original meaning of the pictograms is not what is relevant any more, but rather the sound structure of the alphabet in forming the word.

So while there are some worthwhile works listed in the site bibliography, the fact that the premise itself is so wrong in how language works and how language develops, it makes the whole premise suspect for really understanding the meaning.

Take your Eye and Shepherd's staff example. Just simply using those two ideas, you gave the meanings of על as it is already understood in meaning. But just using those two ideas of themselves (if the meaning was not already established) there is no reason to not also include:

  • The eye is against the Shepherd Staff
  • The eye is with the Shepherd Staff
  • The eye looks toward the Shepard Staff
  • The eye looks under the Shepherd Staff
  • The eye looks through the Shepherd Staff
  • etc.

In other words, if the meaning of the word על had to simply be derived from the two ideas of Eye and Shepherd Staff, without already knowing that על has the idea of "over," "upon," etc. (as established by traditional linguistic studies), one could not discern it's true meaning. So the whole idea is suspect there as well, as it largely depends on the meanings obtained by traditional linguistic studies to read back a meaning into the glyph ideas.

  • This is the answer to the question I was hoping the author here would go back and ask on main in response to my answer ;-)
    – Caleb
    Jul 9 '14 at 11:38

I think your method falls within the guidelines of this site, but to avoid confusion, you will want to explain what you are doing and why in each of your answers. In other words, state your hermeneutic at the outset, and show your work.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .