Biblical Hebrew Computing

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Three years ago, we visited a proposal for "Classical Chinese computing" (12/19/19).  The post began thus:

Several colleagues called this article to my attention:

"Programming Language for the ancient Chinese"

Here's the introduction:

文言, or wenyan, is an esoteric programming language that closely follows the grammar and tone of classical Chinese literature. Moreover, the alphabet of wenyan contains only traditional Chinese characters and 「」 quotes, so it is guaranteed to be readable by ancient Chinese people. You too can try it out on the online editor, download a compiler, or view the source code.

The home page then goes through "Syntax", "Compilation", and "Get (Source Code; Online Editor; Reference".

Now we have a similar proposal for Biblical Hebrew.


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"My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them" 1

Genesis is an interpreted, procedural, and Turing-complete Paleo-Hebrew programming language. Diacritical signs are forgone for simplification, though maybe Nikud can be used in prospect as a means for more reserved keywords.



Why not use Modern Hebrew?

If you are able to program in this language, I have failed.


Why are you running an interpreted language over an interpreted language?

"Wherefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" 4


Why not make an object-oriented language?

This suggestion makes me consternated. Genesis will never be object-oriented because the Bible explicitly forbids object worship:

"These prized objects are really worthless. The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame. []Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, 'Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?'" 5


[VHM:  The relevant text for n. 2 and n. 3 is omitted here.]

  1. Psalm 139:13-16

  2. Isaiah 55:6-7

  3. Exodus 3:14

  4. Romans 5:12-13

  5. Isaiah 44:9-20

I think that one would have to be advanced in computer programming and Biblical Hebrew to be able to understand and use this language.


Selected reading


  • [h.t. Hiroshi Kumamoto]


  1. Yuval said,

    August 8, 2022 @ 5:32 am

    Not completely unrelated.

  2. Ross Presser said,

    August 8, 2022 @ 8:09 am

    I looked and looked at your posting and couldn't find the actual link to the language. I found it myself on github:

    [VHM: embedded now on "Genesis"]

  3. Ross Presser said,

    August 8, 2022 @ 8:23 am

    Like other efforts to write "unusable" programming languages — INTERCAL, Befunge, Dis/Malbolge — it won't be too long before some bored genius writes a brainf*ck-to-Genesis cross compiler, or something similar. Then the disturbed individuals who are interested can translate their obsolete programs into a language that was born obsolete.

  4. Philip Taylor said,

    August 8, 2022 @ 12:51 pm

    « the Bible explicitly forbids object worship: "These prized objects are really worthless …" ». I found it impossible to believe that the Bible contained the phrase "These prized objects are really worthless", so followed the bibliographic reference 5. Isaiah 44:9-20 and found that it was indeed so. So then I looked at Isaiah 44:9-20 in the KJV and found language that was unmistakeably Biblical: "They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed … And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree ?". I don't think that I shall ever understand what motivated people to come up with the New Living Translation and other similar abominations.

  5. David Marjanović said,

    August 8, 2022 @ 2:32 pm

    The desire to have scripture in plain, ordinary language is much older. The Gospel of Mark is a stunning example. And the Qur'ān explicitly claims to be "in clear Arabic".

    If you want a special register that you have come to see as Biblical through circular logic, why translate in the first place? Quicquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

  6. Daniel said,

    August 8, 2022 @ 3:05 pm

    There's nothing ancient here but the script. The keywords are in modern Hebrew. For example פונקציה is a very modern loanwords from Russian Функция. But the idea is adorable.

  7. Gregory Kusnick said,

    August 8, 2022 @ 3:10 pm

    …and other similar abominations

    It seems likely Thomas More would have considered the KJV an abomination.

  8. Ross Presser said,

    August 9, 2022 @ 8:01 am

    It seems likely Thomas More would have considered the KJV an abomination.

    Yup, he would have:

    More did what he could to stop the distribution of Tyndale's Bible. He also wrote a book, Confutation of Tyndale's Answer, explaining why Tyndale was such a threat to the Catholic Church. More began the book with a striking opening sentence: "Our Lord send us now some years as plenteous of good corn we have had some years of late plenteous of evil books. For they have grown so fast and sprung up so thick, full of pestilent errors and pernicious heresies, that they have infected and killed I fear me more simple souls than the famine of the dear years have destroyed bodies."

  9. PeterL said,

    August 12, 2022 @ 6:30 pm

    If you prefer to do your programming in Latin (taking advantage of inflexions to avoid the rigidities that most programming languages insist on):
    "Lingua::Romana::Perligata — Perl for the XXI-imum Century"
    with the implementation and more examples here:

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