Biblical Hebrew


Series Overview

The series consists of 5 volumes. Details are as follows:


Volume 1
   
Beginner


I. General
1 - 21  General Grammar
22    Verbs in General
II. Strong Verbs
23 Qal
24 Niph'al
25 Pi'el
26 Pu'al
27 Hiph'il
28 Hoph'al
29 Hithpa'el
III. Appendixes
IV. Paradigm Charts



Basic grammar concepts applicable to any situation are dealt with first. In addition, Chapters 1 - 21 extensively cover Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns, and Prepositions, Numbers and a selection of Particles.
Information is presented on a need-to-know basis. For example, the Pronominal Suffixes are introduced, but not when added to verbs, as students have no insight into the unique features of the different verb classes and their specific
conjugations in the early stages of their studies.

The next essential step is to introduce the student to the Hebrew verb. This is done in Chapters 22 - 29 of Volume 1. Only Strong Verbs are introduced, and all the conjugations are dealt with in detail. 
Once students have completed their studies up to this point, they possess a substantial amount of information, enabling them to recognize and literally translate enormous amounts of text. This then seems to be a logical point at which students will be well advised to pause and, rather than moving on, focus on consolidating their knowledge and skills by reviewing, memorizing, and 
practicing, since this is the most advantageous course to follow. The latter can then be done by referring to:

a)  the examples from the Old Testament provided         in the main text,
b)  the lists of complete verb parsing that is found 
     in Appendix 9, and
c)  the selected texts with references to the 
     relevant paragraph(s) in the main text,                       essentially explaining each word in a text. This 
     is found in Appendix 10.




Volume 2
   
Elementary

V. Weak Verbs
30 Iא 
31
32
33
34 IIא
35 IIע
36 IIר / IIח
37 IIה
38 IIIא
39 IIIע
40 IIIח
41 IIIה
VI. Irregular Verbs
42
43
44
45 Bi-consonantal
46 Geminate
VII. Appendixes
VIII. Paradigm Charts






After working through Volume 1, students are now completely familiar with the origins of verbs, the seven binyanim, and the different paradigms within each binyanim. Only strong verbs have been dealt with thus far, and the next logical step would be to move on to more intricate verb roots.

A superficial glance at all the different roots found in biblical Hebrew would indeed reveal a dauntingly wide variety of verb classes. However, after close inspection, we are able to present students with a relatively simple way to look at all the remaining classes.


Weak Verbs
The verbs in this division contain one, and only one, guttural in their roots. Included are roots with a resh in the second root position. The weak verbs are classified into twelve classes according to the four gutturals combined with the three root positions where they could possibly be situated.


Irregular Verbs
a) Verbs with a yod in the first root position.
b) Those verbs that seem to have a yod in the               first root position, but originally actually had a           waw in the first root position.
c) Those verbs with a nun in the first root                      position.
d) The so-called "bi-consonantal" or "hollow"                verbs, with either a waw or a yod in the 
        second root position.
e) The geminate verbs that have identical                      consonants in both the second and third root            positions.



Volume 3

Intermediate



        IX. Doubly Weak Verbs
        Introduction
47 IIIה
48 Iע  IIIה
49 Iה  IIIה
50 Iח  IIIה
51 Iי  IIG
52 Iי  IIIG
53 Iי  IIIה
54 Iנ  IIG
55 Iנ  IIIG
56 Iנ  IIIה
57 IG Gem
58 IIG IIIה
59 Unique Verbs

        X. General
60 Stative Verbs
61 Verbs with Suffixes
62 Hebrew Sentences
63 Minor Paradigms
64 General
XI. Appendixes
XII. Paradigm Charts






Pedagogically the next logical step in mastering biblical Hebrew is to gain insights into the verbs that simultaneously possess not only one but two features found in the weak verbs. These verbs are then according to the above definition called "doubly weak verbs."


1 The first four classes consist of those verbs that       have a strong guttural in the first root position,         and in addition also have a hey in the third root         position.

2 The next three classes consist of those verbs 
   that have a yod in the first root position, and in         addition also have a guttural in the second or 
   third root position.

3 The next three classes consist of those verbs 
   that have a nun in the first root position, and in         addition also have a guttural in the second or 
   third root position.

4 The next class consists of those verbs that have 
   a guttural in the first root position, which is               followed by two identical (geminate) consonants.

5 The next class consists of those verbs that have 
   a guttural in the second root position, and also a       hey in the third root position.

6 Nine verbs that are unique in that they do not fit       into any one of the above groups, have therefore     been placed in a separate group which we call         "unique verbs".

7 Lastly, stative verbs are dealt with here in detail.





Volume 4

Textual Criticism



XIII. Manuscripts
65 Introduction
66 The Septuagint
67 The Targums
68 The Qumran Scrolls
69 The Vulgate
70 The Masoretic Texts
71 Other translations

XIV. Textual Criticism
72 Causes of Textual Corruption
73 Textual Criticism Methods
74 BHK, BHS, BHQ
75 Apparatus of BHS
76 General Abbreviations
77 Version Abbreviations
78 Masora Abbreviations

XV. Application
79 Examples from BHS







After working through and mastering the content of Volumes 1 - 3 of this series, students have now 
reached a point where they have acquired a complete command of the grammatical concepts 
for a basic understanding of biblical Hebrew. This enables them to produce accurate literal 
translations of the Masoretic Text. This in itself will enable them to more fully understand and 
appreciate what the text has to offer.


However, before being finalized into what we today know as the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), the books 
that were eventually taken up in the Hebrew canon, underwent numerous developmental stages 
that stretched over several centuries. In addition, during this developmental process a vast number 
of versions, in several languages, were created.


Arguably the most profound complication during this development process was the fact that no 
mechanical copying technology existed and all copying was done manually. This inevitably led to 
mistakes occurring, corrupting the original source material. This phenomenon affected each and 
every translation that was made in the past, and will surely affect those translations that will be 
attempted in future.



Volume 5
   
Lifting the Veil




XVI. Translations
80 Ruth
81 Jonah
82 Selected Passages
83 Birds in the Tanakh

XVII. Names of God
84 Introduction
85 El
86 YHWH
87 Other Names










“Translating Hebrew into another language is like kissing your bride through her veil."








This quote, most often attributed to Hayim Nahman Bialik (1873 – 1934), one of the greatest Hebrew poets of the 20th century, has been the genesis for including Volume 5 into this series. The statement by Bialik is in answer to the often asked question as to what difference does it make to read the original Hebrew Bible as apposed to reading any number of translations. 


The objective of Volume 5 is to provide the reader with a selection of some of the more simple but nevertheless vivid examples where a basic understanding of biblical Hebrew grammar will enable one to realize that most modern translations have in many instances fallen short in conveying the true meaning of the source text.