Frequently Asked Questions
Can I really learn Hebrew?
Yes, of course you can! This grammar is designed to help you understand how Hebrew works so that the need for rote memorization is greatly reduced. If you trust the process and are not afraid of hard work, you will succeed. Another benefit of the program is that you read lots of texts so that the process is actually fun (despite the hard work) and reinforces what you have read in the grammar.
What if I struggle with learning languages?
The greatest difficulty for students to overcome is their fear of languages in general. You are not the only person who believes they struggle with languages, but year after year, these students learn to read Hebrew. In fact, some of those who absolutely fall in love with Hebrew would tell you that they are not language people at all. We promise all our students that if they trust the process and work hard, they will be able to read Hebrew.
How much work does it take to learn Hebrew?
A lot, but we know you have other responsibilities and that this may not be your primary focus. It is our goal to make your time worthwhile and to help you not only read the text, but to fall in love with it. We are aware that language acquisition is a process and that it happens at different paces for different people. Thus, we recommend weekly time limits to protect you.
Who is the target audience for Learning Biblical Hebrew (LBH)?
Anyone who wants to teach or to learn biblical Hebrew. This website specifically addresses those taking or teaching college- and graduate-level courses in biblical Hebrew as well as those learning Hebrew on their own. However, LBH is also being used in high school classrooms. We have students who go on to pursue PhDs, and students who struggle with learning disabilities (and some who fit into both categories).
What is the scope of the Learning Biblical Hebrew (LBH) grammar?
LBH covers all the basic elements of Hebrew grammar, including weak verbs. The grammatical features presented in each chapter are explained according to the broader context of the behavior and patterns of the Hebrew language, though the student is only responsible for learning the core concepts of each chapter. For the most part, the final comments in each chapter summarize what you should know.
How many credit hours are needed for me to use Learning Biblical Hebrew (LBH) in the classroom?
LBH has been taught from two all the way to five credit-hour courses at both college and graduate levels. It is currently being taught by one of our students in a high school setting at a reduced pace. We have taught in a one-day/week, two-days/week, five-days/week, and online formats. (We currently teach in a four-hour setting spread over two days.) See Adjusting for Credit Hours and Semester Formats for how we modify the material for maximum results in these settings.
How is weekly class time organized?
The weekly distribution of content is the same regardless of the number of hours allotted for class time: maximum one hour of grammar presentation with all remaining hours spent reading and translating. We also have found that we move through the chapters (both in the grammar and translations) at the same pace regardless of how many credit hours are allotted, even if we cannot go as deep in the discussions or get as far in the translations (see Weekly Layout).
What do I include in the grammar portion of quizzes and exams? (Or from a student perspective: What should I know from each chapter before I move to the next?)
Students are only asked to learn key concepts throughout the grammar. Discussions about the why of Hebrew word formation are introduced only to provide beginning students with a frame of reference and sense of continuity in the language. Most of the concepts are repeated throughout the grammar, which allows students to assimilate them over time. For the most part, the final comments in each chapter summarize what you should know.
What can I do with the Hebrew I have learned from the grammar?
Read the Bible! By the end of the grammar, you will have translated a slightly modified version of the entire Joseph story (adapted to your progressing skill level) and the entire Hebrew text of both Ruth and Jonah. The text of Esther is provided for you as well for further practice. With exposure to real biblical texts, you will begin to get a feel for how the language functions and to read with understanding (instead of just “decoding” Hebrew into English). Your grammar introduction and familiarity with these texts will prepare you to forge ahead on your own, and with the help of commentaries and Hebrew language resources, we hope you become a lifelong student of Hebrew.
Where can I go for help if I am struggling to understand a concept in Learning Biblical Hebrew (LBH)?
Although our time is limited and our first responsibility is to students enrolled in our courses, we genuinely want to help in any way we can. If you have a question about a concept addressed in LBH, feel free to email us. (While we invite questions from both instructors and students, please be sure you have thoroughly tried to understand the concepts through resources already provided.) We cannot promise that we will be able to answer every email, but we will try to check them weekly. Please note that current and former students will likely help us sort and answer emails. Keep that in mind in your interactions and help us to protect them. To create an environment of respect, please keep the following ground rules in mind:
- Be aware that this email is an experiment, and we may not get to all questions.
- Be polite and patient with your questions and comments.
- Refrain from using the email as a forum to challenge philosophy, theology, or other elements of the grammar with which you might disagree.
- Feel free to point out typos! Our editor is collecting those for later changes.