BH511 – Grammar of Biblical Hebrew Level 1-1

Instructor: Robin Van Riper
Dates: October 23, December 25, 2022

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.

Biblical Hebrew is the language of the Hebrew Scriptures, and biblical Hebrew grammar is the basic exegetical tool for investigating, understanding and properly interpreting them. These Scriptures convey the commandments of the Torah and serve to unify the Jewish people. It is incumbent upon Messianic Jews and their communities of faith to be well versed in these texts, to be transformed by them., and to rightly impart them to a world desperately in need of them. To this end, a working knowledge of biblical Hebrew is an essential foundation for in-depth personal and vocational Tanakh study, and this course serves as a bedrock for achieving these goals.

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 live, via online video conference meetings weekly. Each session is two hours in duration on Sundays, 4:00-6:30 PM EST, and Wednesdays 7:00–8:30 PM EST.

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

•  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.
•  Seow, C.L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Revised Edition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.

• Green, Jennifer S., G. Brooke Lester and Joseph F. Scrivner. Handbook to A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Revised Edition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005.
• Jacobson, Joshua R. Chanting the Hebrew Bible: The Complete Guide to the Art of Cantillation. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2002.
•  Koren Publishers Ltd (Author). Koren Jerusalem Tanakh (Hebrew and English): Koren Publishers Jerusalem, 2015.
•  Waltke, Bruce K., O’Connor M. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax: Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990.



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