BH511 Grammar of Biblical Hebrew Level 1-1 (MJS, MRS, GBH Certificate)
Instructor: Robin Van Riper
Dates: October 18–December 20
Knowledge of biblical Hebrew is an essential foundation for in-depth personal and vocational Tanakh study. BH511 is the first of three segments of a comprehensive one-year graduate level introduction to the grammar of biblical Hebrew. In this first segment, students will learn often overlooked rules for the proper reading of biblical Hebrew; skills for transliteration and cursive writing; learn the how, when and why nouns change their form. The surprising characteristics of the participle and its manifold uses are introduced and explored. Most significantly in this segment, students will be trained to search out and identify the triliteral root of Hebrew words. Looking for a word’s three letter root is a key skill for learning to think about word families and the semantic relationship between words. To this end, students will learn the ins and outs of using the BDB Lexicon.
RELATIONSHIP TO THE CURRICULUM
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.
A working knowledge of biblical Hebrew is an essential foundation for in-depth Tanakh study. Subtle shades of meaning lie within biblical and rabbinic texts that are best expressed and conveyed in their original language. The nitty-gritty details of biblical Hebrew grammar provide building blocks for the student to grapple with nuanced and in-depth meanings that are simply not revealed in translation. Every “jot and tittle” is the fodder of classic biblical and rabbinic interpretation and opens floodgates for the student to enjoy Scripture and to establish a lifelong pattern of Hebrew text study for personal illumination and, where appropriate, to prepare more nuanced and in-depth public talks.
While there is no prerequisite to take this class, students are required to have the ability to recognize and pronounce the Hebrew aleph-bet (alphabet) and simple Hebrew words before the first day of class.
Students must have a computer, internet access, and the means to submit their work electronically to the instructor in PDF format. If scanning assignments with a phone, documents must be light, bright and illuminated without shadows.
The course is offered by live, online video conference meeting weekly. Each session is two hours in duration and will meet on Sundays 1:00pm ET.
Study assigned materials prior to each session; participate actively in the live sessions; complete and submit weekly homework, and complete and submit 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: Abingdon Press, 2005.
- Seow, C.L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Revised Edition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.
- Kittel, Bonnie Pedrotti, Victoria Hoffer, and Rebecca Abts Wright. Biblical Hebrew, Text and Workbook, 2nd Ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
- Hoffer, Victoria. Biblical Hebrew, Supplement for Enhanced Comprehension. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
- Hackett, Jo Ann. A Basic Introduction to Biblical Hebrew with CD. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010.