BH501 – Introduction to Biblical Hebrew 1A

Instructor: Robin Van Riper

Location: Online

Dates: October 7 – December 9, 2018 (Fall Quarter, 2018 – 2019)

Knowledge of biblical Hebrew is an essential foundation for in-depth personal and vocational Tanakh study. MJTI offers a three-course Biblical Hebrew Series (BH501-503) that is designed to provide knowledge of Hebrew verbs, nouns, prepositions, and other parts of speech, withan emphasis on how they function in clauses, verses, and passages of the Tanakhand an eye toward the study of biblical Hebrew narrative texts. In the opening course (BH501)verses and phrases of the Tanakh will be used to introduce fundamental points of grammar and the most common vocabulary. A highlighted feature of this course segment is learning to recognize the triliteral root of Hebrew words and learning to use a Hebrew lexicon. The course also focuses on simple tools for the proper reading and recitation of biblical Hebrew texts.

This course is offered to equip students in the Rabbinic Studies and Jewish Studies programs to take required and elective Tanakh and Rabbinic Writings courses.

The nuanced and in-depth meanings of biblical and rabbinic texts is expressed in their original languages (Hebrew, with a small amount of Aramaic). The Biblical Hebrew Series lays a foundation for students to grapple with these meanings and acquire first-hand knowledge of these writings rather than rely fully on translations which often fail, or are not able, to convey these nuances and depths. Students who complete the series will be positioned to establish a lifelong pattern of Hebrew text study for personal illumination and, where appropriate, to prepare more nuanced and in-depth public talks.

Students must enter the first class session with a basic ability to recognize and pronounce the Hebrew consonants of the aleph-bet and to read simple Hebrew words with vowels. Should you not already have these skills, they are easily acquired with the aide of the self-learning book Simon and Anderson, Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew, and Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew: Audio Companion (download). Purchase them at EKS Publishing.

Students must have a computer, Internet access, and have the means to submit their work electronically in pdf format to the instructor.

The course is offered by live, online video conference meeting weekly. Each session is two hours in duration.

Study assigned materials prior to each session; participate actively in the live sessions; complete and submit weekly homework, a mid-term exam and final exam by their due date.

REQUIRED TEXTS(The publication dates indicate the required edition of each text)

  • Brown, Francis, D.D., D. Litt., S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994.
  • Green, Jennifer S., G. Brooke Lester and Joseph F. Scrivner. Handbook to A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Revised Edition., Nashville: Abingdom Press, 2005.
  • Seow, C. L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Revised Edition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.
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