Audio Files to Narrate the OT in Hebrew

Written by jdarlack on March 30th, 2012
Today’s guest post is by Mike Tidsell. Mike lives in San Jose, California, and works as a network and security consultant. He studied Greek and Hebrew at San Jose Bible College and continued his study of Hebrew for four more years at San Jose State University. He has been using BibleWorks for about 5 years, and he wishes he had tools like this when he was in school! Thank you Mike, for making these files available to BW users! ~JMD

The audio for these files was recorded by Fr. Abraham Shmuelof. According to various online sources [here, here and here], Fr. Shmuelof was born in Jerusalem. “He would become a legendary figure in Jerusalem, journeying from being an Ultraorthodox Jew to Roman Catholicism, Trappist monk, Benedictine, returning to the Trappists and finally to serving in the Greek-Catholic Church in Galilee.” As a native Hebrew speaker, Fr. Shmuelof reads the text with a fluent modern Sephardic pronunciation (the pronunciation used in modern Israeli Hebrew), even demonstrating the slight vocal difference between the aleph and the ayin that is typically only heard in the pronunciation of a native born speaker. The text is read rather than chanted like it is often done in Jewish recordings of Scripture. There are, however, a few passages that he sings as tradition dictates (one example is the “holy, holy, holy” section of Isaiah 6).

I have found these recordings very helpful in learning how to pronounce modern Hebrew. Listening you can hear the differences between a sheva nah and a sheva nach, or between a qamats qatan and a qamats gadol, etc. I have often played these recordings while reading along in Scripture to help learn to how to pronounce the text more fluently, so when I realized that I could integrate the audio recordings into BibleWorks, I was motivated to write a program to convert these files into a structure that could be used  by BibleWorks. The files included here are formatted into a structure that easily integrates with BibleWorks.

Note: one bug I have discovered is that the chapter that is read is the one that is shown in the status bar above the text even when you right click on the text of a different chapter, so make sure the chapter displayed in the status bar is the chapter that you wanted to hear.

Installation Instructions:

There are two ways to incorporate these files into BibleWorks. One method is to pull each individual audio file from the internet when needed (this requires less disk space, but it requires that you have a good internet connection to listen to the file as needed. The other local installation option is to download the audio files to your computer.

Local Installation Option:

  1. Go to http://www.oldinthenew.org/bibleworks/hebrewaudiobible and download all of the files labeled “(zipped file)”. (You may want to use a downloading tool like the “DownThemAll!” Firefox extension.)
  2. Under the bibleworks folder (”C:\Program Files (x86)\BibleWorks 9″) create a folder called HebrewAudioBible and then extract all of the zipped folders into this directory, so that there is one folder in the directory for each book of the Old Testament, and that folder contains the MP3’s with chapter numbers for file names (e.g. “C:\Program Files (x86)\BibleWorks 9\HebrewAudioBible\Gen\1.mp3″). NOTE: It’s important to make sure that you don’t have double nested folders when you unzip the files - you DON’T want “…\Gen\Gen\1.mp3″
  3. Open the menu “Resources” in Bible works, choose “Edit external links” and then choose “Narrate WTT chapter (under the “Menu entries”). Change the path in the “parameters” section to read something like: "C:\Program Files (x86)\BibleWorks 9\HebrewAudioBible\<Book>\<Chapter>.mp3" Make sure the path reflects YOUR bibleworks installation directory.
  4. Choose the WTT version of the text and right click “Narrate WTT chapter”

Online Installation Option:

  1. Open the menu “Resources” in Bible works, choose “Edit external links” and then choose “Narrate WTT chapter (under the “Menu entries”). Change the path in the “parameters” to: "http://www.oldinthenew.org/bibleworks/hebrewaudiobible/<Book>/<Chapter>.mp3"
  2. Choose the WTT version of the text and right click “Narrate WTT chapter”
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