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DESCRIPTION: This is the first quarter of a two quarter course designed as an introduction to biblical Hebrew

Fall 2012/FCC, Irvine




LG502A: BEGINNING HEBREW. Norah W. Caudill


DESCRIPTION: This is the first quarter of a two quarter course designed as an introduction to biblical Hebrew. Students will gain a basic understanding of the vocabulary, morphology, and grammar of the Hebrew language. The mastery of these basic elements will provide for the student the skills necessary to use the language as a tool for exegesis of the Old Testament.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: A student completing this course will have demonstrated his or her ability (1) to read the Hebrew text aloud; (2) to translate by memory the most frequently occurring vocabulary; (3) to recognize and parse "strong" and "weak" verb forms; (4) to understand enough grammar to read a basic narrative text; (5) to use lexicons and reference grammars to investigate grammatical and syntactical issues.


SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: The ability to exegete and interpret the Bible is a necessary ingredient of any preaching or teaching ministry. A working knowledge of Hebrew will enhance the minister’s skill in exegesis, will provide the critical skills necessary to evaluate various translations, and will broaden access to advanced study tools and commentaries. In addition, the minister will gain an appreciation for the rhythms and artistry of the Hebrew text.


COURSE FORMAT: The class will meet one night a week for three hours. The course will be based on the material in The First Hebrew Primer, with the frequent introduction of supplemental information. Class sessions will include lecture, review of assignments, oral reading and translation, and frequent quizzes designed to reinforce learning and to provide students with feedback about their progress. Attendance at all class sessions is vital, and students should expect to spend at least two to three hours of outside preparation for every hour in class.



Brown, Francis, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, eds. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996. $34.95; ISBN 9781565632066.

Elliger, Karl and Wilhelm Rudolph, eds. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. 5th ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.

Seow, C. L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Rev. ed. Nashville: Abingdon, 1995. $40.00; ISBN 9780687157860.

Simon, Ethelyn and Dorey Brandt-Finell. Answer Book for the First Hebrew Primer (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: EKS Publishing Co., 2002. $9.95; ISBN 0939144166.

Simon, Ethelyn, Irene Resnikoff, and Linda Motzkin. The First Hebrew Primer. 3rd ed, revised with new explanatory notes. Berkeley: EKS Publishing, 1992. $34.95; ISBN 9780939144150.

Williams, Ronald J. Williams' Hebrew Syntax. 3rd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007. $27.95; ISBN 0802094295.


See the Biblical Division bibliography “Linguistic and Exegetical Books Required in the Master of Divinity Program” available in the SOT Academic Advising office.



Kautzsch, E. Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar. Trans. A. E. Cowley. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1982.

Scott, William R. A Simplified Guide to BHS. 3rd ed. N. Richland Hills, TX: Bibal Press, 1987.

Simon, Ethelyn and Dorey Brandt-Finell. “Master Set of Bible Flashcards," keyed to The First Hebrew Primer. Berkeley: EKS Publishing, 1997. These flashcards are also available as an iPhone application.


ASSIGNMENTS: Daily assignments will include reading from the Primer, the completion of exercises and the learning of vocabulary. The course grade will be based on class participation (5%), daily quizzes and homework (30%), a midterm exam (30%), and a final exam (35%).




RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Two-course sequence meets M. Div. core requirement in Hebrew (HEB).