Lu akshud! My exam aftermath.

So, I have finished my exams. Here’s my post-exam commentary.

Exam 1, Tuesday- Akkadian. Three different texts, three hours. Not fast enough. Can’t read the signs well enough. I’m guessing I’ll be retaking it in march.

Exam 2, Wednesday- Arabic. Three hours, translate 40 line poem of Mutanabbi, with lexicon. I made it through 15 lines. We’re not expected to finish everything, and I feel pretty good about this one.

Exam 3, Friday- Hebrew (no lexicons), 5 hours. Seen texts:
1)Isa. 40 (Qumran version, photocopied), translate, compare variants with Masoretic text (which I didn’t have in front of me.)

2) Damascus Document column 1 (4Q226 2 i). Vocalize, translate, answer questions.

Unseen texts- 1) Numbers 22, 2)War Scroll column 8 (1Q33 viii) Translate, answer questions, parse.

I’d reviewed Isa. 40, but not in the Qumran/Dead Sea Scroll script, and it was tough to make out. I didn’t get very far. I also made some brain dead errors in Num. 22, but I felt ok about it. I think I passed.

Exam 4, Monday morning- History, 4 hours- Identify 12 different text portions, write briefly on their significance. (There were texts from the bible, Sennacherib’s 3rd campaign, inscriptions, Lachish letters, the Mesha Stele, the Merneptah stele, etc.) Answer three lengthy essay questions of five.

I wrote about 5 single spaced typed pages, 12 point font. I feel pretty good about this one.

Exam 5, Monday afternoon- Aramaic, no lexicons, 5 hours-

Seen texts: 1) Targum Onkelos, Gen. 3 (vocalize in Babylonian, not Tiberian, and translate, parse, answer questions) Compare word by word with the Hebrew (not in front of me) starting in v. 6.
2)Daniel 3- Translate, parse, answer questions.
3) The Nerab 1 inscription- Transliterate, vocalize, translate.

Unseen Texts-
1) Targum Neofiti, Genesis 43. I hadn’t realized until this point just how different Neofiti is in terms of vocabulary. Vocalize in Tiberian, translate.
2) Ezra 6. Translate
3) An Egyptian Aramaic letter. Transliterate, vocalize and translate.

Overall, not bad. I think I passed.

Exam 6, Tuesday. Comparative Semitic. 6-7 hours?! Discuss with examples Robert Hetzron’s classification of Central Semitic and the different positions taken before and after him in the literature on the place of Arabic and Ugaritic. + Some technical linguistic stuff.

I wasn’t expecting as much linguistic technicality as I was asked for, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to retake it.

So,my final thoughts? I think I definitely passed two, positive maybe’s on two, a negative maybe on one, and a fairly definite not-passed on one.
I won’t actually get my results back for at least a month, but I now I can enjoy my vacation and do some reading.

I’ve organized a Rough Stone Rolling book group in our ward, and I need to get cracking on it. Merry Christmas :)

18 thoughts on “Lu akshud! My exam aftermath.

  1. And I’m one of the new (vicarious) invitees to that group. Only in chapter three b/c I’m finishing up Huston Smith’s “The World’s Religions”, but don’t worry, I’ll catch up. Congrats on being done.

  2. Actually, if you wouldn’t mind, could you explain your sixth exam in a bit more detail? It’s been a while since I looked at Semitic, and I’d be interested if there’s a new theory about how those languages should be grouped.

  3. The new classification, proposed by Robert Hetzron and gaining widespread acceptance, is that Arabic should no longer be classified as South Semitic (with Ethiopic, Modern S. Arabian and Old South Arabian), but is included in what Hetzron calls Central Semitic, subdivided into Arabic and NW Semitic (Canaanite (Hebrew, Moabite, Phoenician etc.), Aramaic, and Ugaritic (though some argue that Ugaritic is Canaanite.)) That’s it in a nutshell.

    Alice Faber, “Genetic Subgroupings of the Semitic Languages,” The Semitic Languages (London: Routledge, 2004 ?) is a good thorough summary of the old classification vs. the new. Hetzron really shook things up, and then died suddenly.

  4. Ben: Thanks, and I’ll second Julie’s motion. If I can try your patience just a bit more–how well has Afroasiatic done as a language superfamily containing Semitic? The last I looked, it seemed on its way to wide acceptance, although possibly minus a branch or two. It’s been some time, though, and I don’t know how seriously it’s currently taken by serious Semiticists.

  5. Ben, sounds like you need a peep-stone, man. It’s what I use. 75% of the time it’s right every time.

  6. I haven’t done anything in that broader field, but Afroasiatic is still included in all the recent literature I’ve read.

  7. You’ve provided a nice vicarious thrill for those of us who wish we knew such things, but did not spend your many hundreds of hours preparing for two dozen hours of examination.

  8. Very impressive, Ben. It’s great to have them over with in time for the holidays. I hate it when schools schedule exams for two weeks into January, so the students’ holidays are toast.

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