Best Review Text

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Barry Hofstetter
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Best Review Text

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:23 pm

So, I've subscribed to "The Daily Dose of Hebrew" and already benefitting from the videos. However, what would be a good text for rapid review of Hebrew grammar and syntax?

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby Kirk Lowery » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:12 pm

IMO, van der Merwe A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar. It's an excellent reference, not as detailed as GKC, Joűon-Muraoka, or Waltke & O'Connor. I think it should be on everyone's shelf.
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S_Walch
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby S_Walch » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:08 pm

I wouldn't necessarily refer to it as rapid, but I always found Thomas O'Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew an easy book to find quick references for Hebrew Grammar. It is catered towards self-study, so I certainly recommend it if you can get it somewhere :)
Ste Walch

kwrandolph
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby kwrandolph » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:25 pm

I’m afraid that I can recommend none of the above. In fact, I don’t know of any to recommend other than to sit down and read the Bible through cover to cover, and after you finish the first time, do it again, then again, then again, and so forth.

There’s a phrase “First year’s lies”. It’s meant as a joke to refer to having to unlearn things learned in the first year of study. However, when following my recommendation above, I learned that there were several things that I had to unlearn from what I studied in class. Things that I had to unlearn include the following:

1) Hebrew verbs don’t conjugate for time, neither tense nor aspect. That means that the conjugations are Qatal and Yiqtol, not perfect and imperfect nor past and future.

2) many words are not correctly defined in standard dictionaries. So a major resource I used heavily, and still use, is a good concordance of the Hebrew Bible, The one I use is Konkordance zum Hebräischen Alten Testament by Lisowski. I use it to do word studies, thousands of them, to find out how words are actually used in Tanakh. I now also use electronic searches on computer.

3) forget the Masoretic points. They represent a pronunciation that is not Biblical. They are wrong often enough as far as meaning is concerned that I found that I cannot trust them. And they clutter up the page.

These three main points are based on Tiberian Hebrew, a language learned as a second language by medieval Jewish scholars, not their primary language. Many Biblical terms had been forgotten, and so traditional dictionaries give Aramaic meanings for those words. Because Biblical pronunciations had been forgotten, and Biblical Hebrew writing had no vowels, the pronunciations of vowels are imported from the Tiberians’ primary languages (Aramaic, Arabic and Greek). Tiberian Hebrew has a grammar that is very different from Biblical Hebrew—for one Tiberian Hebrew has a tense based conjugation while Biblical Hebrew conjugates for neither tense nor aspect.

(Shameless plug) I have written a dictionary summarizing what I’ve learned, which I can send you upon request at kwrandolph@gmail.com . It’s a .pdf file that should be readable on any computer.

Another resource that I recommend is http://www.crosswire.org for Bible texts and other information.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph.

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:02 am

Kirk Lowery wrote:IMO, van der Merwe A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar. It's an excellent reference, not as detailed as GKC, Joűon-Muraoka, or Waltke & O'Connor. I think it should be on everyone's shelf.


I have Waltke -- he was one of my OT profs at WTS, and not only did he autograph my published copy, but when I took intermediate Hebrew from him, he was getting the galley proofs back, and used it for the class. He invited us to point out errors, and the few we found seemed to positively delight him. Thanks for your response.

Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:14 pm

Re: Best Review Text

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:08 am

kwrandolph wrote:I’m afraid that I can recommend none of the above. In fact, I don’t know of any to recommend other than to sit down and read the Bible through cover to cover, and after you finish the first time, do it again, then again, then again, and so forth.

There’s a phrase “First year’s lies”. It’s meant as a joke to refer to having to unlearn things learned in the first year of study. However, when following my recommendation above, I learned that there were several things that I had to unlearn from what I studied in class. Things that I had to unlearn include the following:

1) Hebrew verbs don’t conjugate for time, neither tense nor aspect. That means that the conjugations are Qatal and Yiqtol, not perfect and imperfect nor past and future.

2) many words are not correctly defined in standard dictionaries. So a major resource I used heavily, and still use, is a good concordance of the Hebrew Bible, The one I use is Konkordance zum Hebräischen Alten Testament by Lisowski. I use it to do word studies, thousands of them, to find out how words are actually used in Tanakh. I now also use electronic searches on computer.

3) forget the Masoretic points. They represent a pronunciation that is not Biblical. They are wrong often enough as far as meaning is concerned that I found that I cannot trust them. And they clutter up the page.

These three main points are based on Tiberian Hebrew, a language learned as a second language by medieval Jewish scholars, not their primary language. Many Biblical terms had been forgotten, and so traditional dictionaries give Aramaic meanings for those words. Because Biblical pronunciations had been forgotten, and Biblical Hebrew writing had no vowels, the pronunciations of vowels are imported from the Tiberians’ primary languages (Aramaic, Arabic and Greek). Tiberian Hebrew has a grammar that is very different from Biblical Hebrew—for one Tiberian Hebrew has a tense based conjugation while Biblical Hebrew conjugates for neither tense nor aspect.

(Shameless plug) I have written a dictionary summarizing what I’ve learned, which I can send you upon request at kwrandolph@gmail.com . It’s a .pdf file that should be readable on any computer.

Another resource that I recommend is http://www.crosswire.org for Bible texts and other information.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph.


Yes, Karl, I remember you. Weren't you the one that told me knowing Latin was worthless? I'm quite familiar with your idiosyncratic views, and for those I have no use. I have no intention whatsoever of abandoning more than 1/2 a millennium of scholarship and the history of interpretation. Having said that, however, I do agree that nothing beats reading the original language, seeing things in context, and so forth. I give that advice all the time with regard to Greek. "The more you read..."

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Jason Hare
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:15 pm

I just looked through Amazon's preview of A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar by van der Merwe. I can see the value of having the book, of course (and I love that they use SBL BibLit as the font for Hebrew). What I can't see the book being good for is review of the relevant grammar. Why? I think review needs to be accompanied by exercises. Therefore, I would suggest working through exercises in Seow's A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew or Pratico and Van Pelt's Basics of Biblical Hebrew - assuming that you have the workbook for the latter.

Seow included so many reading sections from the biblical text. I cannot but think that reviewing quickly with his grammar is an excellent idea. Then again, I've never used Pratico-Van Pelt, so I would love to accompany someone through that text just to really get a feel for how well it works from the teaching aspect.

Whatever you choose, it should be something with more than explanations followed by examples. It should have working exercises that will challenge you to do more than just passive re-learning.

כַּמּוּבָן שֶׁאֲנִי מְאַחֵל לְךָ בְּהַצְלָחָה לְא֫וֹרֶךְ כׇּל־הַדֶּ֫רֶךְ.
Jason
Jason Hare
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:33 pm

I was afraid you would say something like that, but ἄνθρωπος ἀργὸς ἐγώ εἰμι, and I would like to get through it with as little work as possible. Yeah.

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Jason Hare
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:23 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I was afraid you would say something like that, but ἄνθρωπος ἀργὸς ἐγώ εἰμι, and I would like to get through it with as little work as possible. Yeah.

You don't need to do the exercises on paper. You can do them orally.
κἀγὼ οὐ βουλόμενος ἐργάζεσθαι ἀργός εἰμι.
Jason Hare
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Schubert
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Re: Best Review Text

Postby Schubert » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:34 pm

I learned Biblical Hebrew (to the extent I know anything about it) using Practico-Van Pelt's Basics of Biblical Hebrew, together with its separate exercise book. One reason I liked Practico is that it is clearly laid out and the font size is relatively large.

However, I'm sorely tempted to purchase A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar. I've had a good look on Amazon at the inside contents of the book and think it would be of considerable assistance. At the moment my reference grammar is Gesenius.
John McKinnon


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