BH511 – Grammar of Biblical Hebrew Level 1-1

Instructor: Robin Van Riper
Dates: October 27, December 29, 2019
Location: Orbund (

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.

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. MJTI offers two introductory sessions to teach these preliminary skills prior to the beginning of the BH511 course.

Students must have a computer, internet access, and either Microsoft Word (PC or Mac) with Hebrew capability or Davka Writer.

The course is offered by live, online video conference meeting weekly. Each session is two hours in duration and will meet on Sundays at 3 pm EST.

• 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.

• A.P. Brown and B.W. Smith, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.
• Hackett, Jo Ann. A Basic Introduction to Biblical Hebrew with CD. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010.


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