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Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

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Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby vir litterarum » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:15 pm

I have recently been searching for a good intensive Hebrew textbook but have been unable to locate one. All of the textbooks I have found so far seem to be too inductive and to eschew introducing all of the necessary grammatical concepts right away in favor of a more progressive approach, whereas I want a book that introduces paradigms early and extensively in conjunction with readings from the OT. Something like Hansen & Quinn's Greek: an Intensive Course, if that helps. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Re: Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby Talmid » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:21 pm

If you want to avoid progressive approaches, you'll need to use a classic grammar. I like Weingreen's grammar published by Claredon Press/OUP. It follows traditional format of presenting paradigms and covers the essential gramatical elements up front. For being hardback it's relatively inexpensive too.
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Re: Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby vir litterarum » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:04 am

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely pick this up. Are there any supplemental materials you would suggest for someone teaching himself Hebrew? I've already learned Greek, Latin, and German, so I'm confident that I should be able to move at a fairly rapid pace and as a consequence am searching for materials that will allow me to learn the language as quickly as possible.
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Re: Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby phil96 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:35 am

Whilst I too like Weingreen's book, you might also want to consider Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, which covers the ground in more detail. There is also an annotated key available. Lambdin supplies phonetic transliteration of the Hebrew in the first half of his book, which might be useful if you are learning without a teacher (but is not conducive to mastering the orthography in the long run!)

Further down the track, I liked Waltke and O'Connor's An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, and you won't get far without a lexicon (Brown-Driver-Briggs is absolutely ancient but excellent value-for-money, or you can bite the bullet and buy the full Koehler/Baumgartner HALOT -- even the original, and practise your German too, or get Holliday's concise version). When I was learning, the internet was not even a twinkle in anyone's eye, and I don't know what's available on-line now.
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Re: Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby quendidil » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:53 pm

I have Lambdin's Gothic book, and if his Hebrew book is any similar, it is progressive in the sense that he presents paradigms chapter-by-chapter. The book is still paced fairly quickly however, and there is a section at the back with all the paradigms neatly presented.
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Re: Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby vir litterarum » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:43 pm

Phil 96 wrote:
Whilst I too like Weingreen's book, you might also want to consider Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, which covers the ground in more detail.


Is there any material in Weingreen which Lambdin lacks which would justify acquiring both, or would Lambdin cover everything Weingreen does?
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Re: Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby phil96 » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:18 am

vir litterarum wrote:Is there any material in Weingreen which Lambdin lacks which would justify acquiring both, or would Lambdin cover everything Weingreen does?
Short answer is that Lambdin (L) covers all of Weingreen (W). It comes down to order of presentation. W tends to introduce the broad sweep of verbal concepts (which are the difficulty of Hebrew) earlier than L, and saves the complex detail until later. L dives into the complexity first off.

For example, Hebrew verbs occur in prefix and suffix inflexions. L presents a very full account of the variants of the "simple" suffix form before (62 pages later) starting on the "simple" prefix form. On the other hand, W separates the regular version of the two forms by 19 pages and then goes on to cover all the variants. Since typical Hebrew narrative regularly combines the two forms, this has implications for the sorts of translation exercises that are possible early on. Comes down to whether you are a big picture or a details person. Either way, the translation exercises have to be doctored, because the "exceptions" are so much the norm in real biblical Hebrew.

In short, L has more detail, and covers more syntax, than W and was able to take advantage of more modern scholarship, but some readers might want to alter the order of tackling its chapters.

Another book that is useful after finishing either W or L is Ben Zvi, Hancock & Beinert, Readings in Biblical Hebrew. An Intermediate Textbook, which eases you into reading the real thing.

And a final point, something that didn't occur to me in my several attempts to learn by myself: if you want to write Hebrew, and not just read it, it's useful to learn modern Israeli cursive script, otherwise you waste an awful lot of time in calligraphy!
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Re: Intensive Biblical Hebrew textbook

Postby vir litterarum » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:45 am

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely just purchase Lambdin then and perhaps rent Weingreen from my college's library. I'm not really interested in Hebrew composition. I just want to be able to read all of the Scriptures in their original languages. I'm confident in my knowledge of Koine and feel ready to move on to Hebrew( and maybe Aramaic eventually so that I can read Daniel and Ezra).
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