In a previous post, we announced the existence of a second Hebrew textbook we have created — one that uses more of an “immersive” learning experience by using comic-book style biblical scenes paired with graded Hebrew texts and asking students to read and answer in biblical Hebrew, and interact with each other and their instructor in Hebrew. This second textbook is titled Biblical Hebrew: An Illustrated Introduction (BHII), which complements the different (more traditional) pedagogy of our first textbook, Biblical Hebrew: A Student Grammar (BHSG).
The BHII textbook is structured so that in many institutions (e.g., those that have longer semesters than the 12-week terms at Toronto), the entirety can be covered in a single semester. And yet, because we know we must provide a transition to the next step (what we assume in most curricula are intensive reading courses or exegesis courses), we are very pleased to report two bits of news.
First, we have completed Readings 11-13, which cover Genesis 1, 47, and 50, respectively. The texts within the comic-style illustrations is the full (unaltered) narrative content of those chapters in the Hebrew Bible. Reading 11 (Gen 1) omits verses references and the טְעָמִים, and inserts modern punctuation. Readings 12-13 omit verse references, but dispense with modern punctuation and include the טְעָמִים.
Second, we have begun work on an intermediate Reader, tentatively titled Biblical Hebrew: An Illustrated Reader (BHIR), which will cover the Elijah and Elisha stories in 1 Kings. As with the BHII Textbook, the Reader will utilize comic-style illustrations to help the student contextualize the new language information, thereby facilitating comprehension and memorization. Appendices following the illustrations will include panel-by-panel grammatical and textual notes appropriate for guiding students along the path towards greater interpretative depth and nuance. While the Reader will strictly speaking be a stand-alone work, and thus usable even for those who do not use our BHII Textbook, it will also proceed from the level at which the BHII ends (and it will include cross-references to the grammatical discussions in both our textbooks: BHII and BHSG).
Finally, we point our readers to Bernard Levinson‘s (Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota) recent review of a new biblical Hebrew textbook in the online Review of Biblical Literature. We mention Prof. Levinson’s review for two reasons: 1) his review illustrates that no single pedagogical approach fits every instructor or student (which is why we have two textbooks with the same grammatical description but different pedagogy); and 2) because we are simply thrilled that our two unpublished textbooks rated a (positive) mention in Prof. Levinson’s published book review (see footnote 3 and the Appendix).
One word sums up our response: “Wow!”. (Thank you, Bernard!)