BH503 – Introduction to Biblical Hebrew 1c

Instructor: Robin Van Riper

Dates: March 10- May 19, 2019  Pesach Break April 20-27

Location: Orbund (

Note: This is an expanded course description and not the syllabus. Students who want to begin reading before the syllabus is posted (usually one month prior to the start of class) should contact the course instructor directly to confirm what required readings will be on the syllabus. For the instructor’s contact information, email the MJTI registrar at

BH503 is the third and final segment of MJTI’s comprehensive one-year graduate level introduction to the grammar of biblical Hebrew. As students continue to build upon the skills taught in the earlier course segments (BH501 and BH502), they encounter narrative and infinitive verb forms and the remaining major verb stems. In this course segment students continue to apply their growing body of grammatical knowledge to the translation and interpretation of larger swathes of narrative and poetic texts of the Tanakh. By the end of this course, students will have acquired a broad-based ability to study and engage Hebrew texts of every book of the Tanakh on an introductory level and will be ready for intermediate course work.

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.


BH502 or permission of instructor

Students must have a computer, Internet access, and have the means to submit their work electronically in PDF format to the instructor. 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 @ 7pm Eastern Time.

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.
• 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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