Good Tool for Learning Biblical Hebrew

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by dauer, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. dauer

    dauer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello all.

    I thought this might be of interest to some other people on this site. I've been teaching myself Biblical Hebrew using The First Hebrew Primer. It's an excellent introduction intended for adults. Before the 30 chapters are up you're working directly with the Hebrew text. It teaches the pa'al, pi'el, hifil, nifal and hit'pa'el binyanim but also includes the charts for the other binyanim. All of the words taught appear at least 200 times in the Tanach. I am almost finished with the book. There is another in the series that I will be starting called The First Hebrew Reader.

    I didn't have too much trouble moving relatively quickly because I'm familiar with many of the patterns and most of the words that were presented but I do think this would be a very good text for beginning to work directly with Biblical Hebrew. If you want to learn Hebrew and don't know the aleph bet already, this isn't a good place to start. It does cover the aleph bet but it does so very briefly.

    The exercises provided are excellent. In addition to written and spoken exercises to familiarize oneself with the grammar and vocabulary there are readings. Initially these are only fairy tales retold in Biblical Hebrew. Later, simplified passages from the Book of Ruth are added. Eventually the passages from Ruth are direct, unsimplified and with the idiomatic phrasing intact. In addition to these, eventually passages from other parts of the Tanach are added.

    I do have some criticisms of the text. It doesn't always use standard grammatical terminology. Some of the grammar that it leaves out I would have liked to have had access to in appendices but I've picked up a grammar for that. It's not the goal of the book to be completely thorough. As an example, it presents only one way that the Infinitive Absolute is used and refers to it as the Infinitive of Emphasis. It does mention that there are other applications of the Infinitive Absolute.

    I'm on Chapter 27 right now and hopefully will finish the text sometime tomorrow. For someone with less time to work on it, and with less familiarity, I'd think that 2 chapters a week would be a very realistic goal.

    I was very happy when I went to visit my grandmother. On her wall there is a chapter from the Torah written in Hebrew calligraphy that my father made as a present for her. I was able to understand most of the Hebrew without looking back at the English calligraphy. I feel confident that by the time I finish the reader that follows the primer I will be very comfortable with Biblical Hebrew.
     
  2. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,792
    Likes Received:
    0
    I taught myself the "aleph-bet" using this one.. I like it because they recite it for you so you get the correct pronunciation. I think its a beautifully rich language.

    The Hebrew Alphabet

    I hope people dont turn their noses up at it because its a Hebrew for Christians ,, its a nice site.
     
  3. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    Congratulations, Dauer, that is an accomplisment you should be quite proud of !!
     
  4. dauer

    dauer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    FS,

    I've seen that site before. I think it's pretty cool.

    Avi,

    Thanks. I am very happy about the progress that I've made. I think I learn languages better when I do so quickly and with an emphasis on grammar. I've gained more over the last few weeks than I did from a semester of ulpan.

    -- Dauer
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,547
    Likes Received:
    2,404
    Great stuff!!
     

Share This Page