What’s the best way to learn a new language? By approaching it not as a series of facts to memorize but as something alive, with a personality you can get to know and tendencies you can begin to predict.
Designed for long-term retention, Learning Biblical Hebrew focuses on helping students understand how the language works and providing a solid grounding in Hebrew through extensive reading in the biblical text.
Written for first-year and second-year Hebrew students, this grammar is laid out to present comprehensive concepts to first-year students and then to aid in review and deeper understanding for second-year students. Though written for Hebrew competency, Learning Biblical Hebrew is well suited for students with different learning styles and objectives.
The Learning Biblical Hebrew Workbook provides essential practice with Hebrew for students using Learning Biblical Hebrew.
Get the grammar and the workbook together in this bundle.
Resources for professors and supplemental materials for students are available on the Learning Biblical Hebrew companion site.
Learning a new language can be challenging, and Hebrew is no exception. However, Learning Biblical Hebrew: Reading for Comprehension: An Introductory Grammar is a game-changer known for making the process of learning Hebrew exciting for students.
The first four chapters effectively explain the structure and characteristics of Hebrew syllables and words to inspire confidence in the learner. And unlike many Hebrew grammars that spend weeks on end parsing endless verbs and translating basic phrases, students are reading the biblical text by chapter 4. Learning Biblical Hebrew also clarifies obscure Hebrew language rules. For example, the authors explain in detail the "historical vowels" of Hebrew, which helps students master the vowel changes that occur in Hebrew words when modified by suffixes and prefixes. The authors also provide the "why" behind the principles, which helps Hebrew make more sense.
Students don't just memorize facts but learn the principles behind the Hebrew language so that after learning to read Hebrew, they are more likely to retain it for the long haul. This method makes Hebrew make sense.
Learning Biblical Hebrew also covers all the basic elements of Hebrew grammar, including weak verbs. The grammar follows the traditional format of presenting strong verbs before weak verbs. (Students intuitively translate weak verbs alongside strong verbs from the beginning of the companion workbook.) 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 to learn the core concepts of each chapter.
Most importantly, students will discover a love for Hebrew and the Hebrew Bible.
Before trying this Hebrew grammar, I'd taught Biblical Hebrew from eight different grammars—none of which had won out as the obvious choice for future classes. Kutz and Josberger’s grammar makes up for the main weaknesses of the other grammars like insufficient explanation of new concepts, limited translation exercises, and not getting into the biblical text itself quickly enough. This grammar was clearly written by instructors who had struggled with and sought to remedy these same deficiencies. My students found the approach and tools “user-friendly” and the rigorous methodology helpful for day-to-day accountability. The grammar’s clear explanations free the instructor up to concentrate on helping students apply the information.
—Kenneth Turner, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Toccoa Falls College
Learning Biblical Hebrew helps students sidestep pitfalls by providing clear explanations of perennially perplexing issues. Students are led to predict patterns (e.g. vowel changes or irregular verbs) with minimal memorization. Translation exercises in the workbook complement the grammar, quickly familiarizing students with Hebrew syntax and demonstrating the clear upshot of tackling larger sections of Hebrew narrative early on in the learning process. Having adopted this text in both graduate and undergraduate introductory Biblical Hebrew courses I can gladly attest – Learning Biblical Hebrew is appropriately entitled! I’m very excited to see it reach a wider audience.
—Richard Rohlfing Jr., Fuller Theological Seminary
“One group of consonants that take dagesh forte can lose that dagesh under special conditions. The mnemonic Skin ‘em Levi or -קנמ לוי‘s’ (where the ‘s’ = the sounds ס, צ, שׂ, שׁ) will help you remember the consonants included in this group. These Skin ‘em Levi letters frequently (though inconsistently) lose dagesh forte when they are followed by a shewa.” (Page 21)
“When attached to words beginning with ב, מ, פ, or to any consonants with a simple shewa, the conjunction will be vocalized as וּ (long ū). Remember the mnemonic—‘BuMP-Shewa.’” (Page 52)
“A vocal shewa begins a syllable and a silent shewa closes a syllable.” (Page 32)
“As a general rule,2 Hebrew syllables begin with a consonant and have only one vowel.” (Page 26)
“If a dot appears in a letter that is not a BeGaD KePhaT letter, it must be a dagesh forte.” (Page 21)
Karl V. Kutz (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison) is professor of biblical languages at Multnomah University in Portland, OR. For over two decades his teaching and mentoring of students in the language and literature of the Hebrew Bible has cultivated students' passion for the biblical text, shaped and transformed their lives, and led to the establishment of an outstanding program for the study of the Hebrew Bible.
Rebekah L. Josberger (Ph.D., Southern Seminary) is associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, OR. Since coming to Multnomah in 2009, she has focused on developing a solid Hebrew program that enables and encourages students to learn Hebrew well enough to use it for personal growth and ministry long after they leave seminary. She teaches Old Testament with a focus towards biblical theology and continues research related to Torah.
David C. Hacker