BH512 – Grammar of Biblical Hebrew Level 1-2

Instructor: Robin Van Riper
Dates: January 8–March 12, 2023; Winter Semester 2022–23

BH512 is the second of three segments of MJTI’s comprehensive one-year graduate level introduction to the grammar of biblical Hebrew. Building upon the skills taught in BH511 the student is introduced to finite verbs in three of the seven major verb groups. Students learn to parse verbs for their form and function. Distinct from English verbs that indicate tense (i.e. past, present, future), biblical Hebrew verbs are best understood to indicate aspect. Aspect refers to the perspective being presented by the  speaker/writer. Is the perspective that of an outsider looking in at a situation that has already occurred (“perfect”), or is he living through an event as it develops (“imperfect”). Students also become acquainted with the basic syntax (the arrangement of words and phrases that create well-formed sentences) of the verbal clause. Students begin to learn to apply their grammatical knowledge to the translation and interpretation of segments of narrative and poetic texts of the Tanakh..

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 Hebrew grammar provides the building blocks and exegetical tools for investigating, understanding, and interpreting the Hebrew Scripture. A working knowledge of biblical Hebrew is an essential foundation for in-depth personal and vocational Tanakh study. Subtle shades of meaning lie within biblical texts that are best expressed and conveyed in their original language. Being well-versed in these texts transforms the learner and enables them to impart these insights to a world desperately in need of them. This course aids in achieving these goals.

BH511 Grammar of Biblical Hebrew Level 1-1 or permission of instructor.

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, meeting twice weekly on Sundays and Wednesdays. The Sunday session is two hours and thirty minutes in duration from 4:00-6:30 PM EST, and the Wednesday session is one hour and thirty minutes from 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Preparatory reading of new chapter material in the textbook: Students are required to do a cursory reading of new chapter material prior to the session where it will be presented.
  • Homework Assignments
    o Written assignments are given at the end of each Sunday session. These assignments are designed for students to apply the material taught in the session. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the material during the Wednesday sessions. Assignments are due by 11:59 pm Eastern on Thursday each week.
    o Oral reading fluency of Hebrew words, phrases and biblical Hebrew verses: Students are expected to develop their reading skills by reading assigned Hebrew words, phrases and verses out loud at home in preparation for reading aloud in class.
  • Quizzes: There will be three or four quizzes given during the term.
  • Final Exam: A final exam covering the course material will be given at the end of the term. Students will receive the Exam after the Unit 8 class session. Students are to post their completed exams on Populi no later than 11:59 PM EST, Sunday, March 12, 2023.
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