Introducing “Beginning Biblical Hebrew” (videos)

Last November at SBL, John and I sat down to record a few videos introducing our textbook (Beginning Biblical Hebrew; see here), its pedagogical approach, and the supplementary materials we’ve made (or are planning).

 There are a few humorous backstory details, but the one I’ll share is that we did this at 8am after a poor night of sleep (I never sleep well in hotels). So, for me at least, keeping my eyes open was the first victory and stringing together coherent comments was the second.

Below are the videos for those who are interested.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ancient Hebrew, Hebrew Textbook, Pedagogy. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Introducing “Beginning Biblical Hebrew” (videos)

Esther 2:21-23

Below is our commentary on the final scene of the first major part of the book of Esther.

Read the rest of this entry »

Esther 2:11-20

Here is the remainder of the section begun in the last post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Esther 2:5-10

Here is the next instalment — a partial section. The rest of the section will likely follow in two days.

Read the rest of this entry »

Esther 2:1-4

So, to make up for yesterday’s long text, today’s is rather short. It all evens out over the long haul, though.

Read the rest of this entry »

Esther 1:10-22

The next instalment is below. It is slightly longer than the normal post will be (13 verses), but I hated to chop an episode into parts.

Again, feedback is most welcome.

Read the rest of this entry »

Esther 1:1-9

One of our doctoral candidates, John Screnock, and I are finishing our grammatical commentary on the book of Esther for the Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible series. As we do final revisions before submitting, I thought it would be useful to post much of the commentary here, in sections of 5-10 verses, in order for potential readers to ask questions, seek clarification, or point out confusing comments or typos. We thus hope to make the product cleaner and more usable. (We posted a shortened version of a section of our introduction, dealing with the historical linguistic profile of Esther, here.)

So, without further ado, below is the commentary for Esther 1:1-9, with subsequent sections to be posted one per day for the next three weeks. Consider yourself solicited for feedback!

*Note that the cross-references to our Introduction are not filled in.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beginning Biblical Hebrew (BBH) is shipping!

Our new textbook, Beginning Biblical Hebrew: A Grammar and Illustrated Reader, is now shipping from Baker Academic (and presumably other booksellers). I received my author copies earlier this week and was holding the book with a mixture of pride (it’s really nicely sized, like a workbook should be, and the layout, type, and binding quality is excellent) and relief (it’s been 13 years since John and I began formally working on Hebrew textbook materials).

A couple months ago, I put a link to the textbook on the left sidebar that takes you to the Baker site for BBH. We describe the principles of our approach herehere, and here. We recognize that our pedagogy may require new effort, even for seasoned instructors. And this is why Baker enthusiastically agreed to host a web page for additional teaching materials to go with the textbook.

Yesterday I noticed that the folks at Baker have now added the pages for resources for students and instructors. For students, there are vocabulary flash cards and audio files. For instructors, already available are sample quizzes and exams (with exam answer keys). Coming soon will be sample lessons plans, vocabulary cards to print out for in-class games or drills, and a full instructor’s manual and answer key.

We hope those of you already using the textbook will find these resources useful. For those not yet using the textbook, we hope you’ll check it out. Perhaps knowing that we’re creating a significant support framework for using it in a highly-interactive, communicative, fun BH learning environment will encourage you.

Genesis 1.1, again

Professor Kenneth Turner of Bryan College emailed me recently about another subtle feature in the grammar of Gen 1.1, given in (1).

(1) Gen 1:1

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃

He and his students have been working through the various issues, and reading my VT article and some older posts I made here and here, and they came up with a fascinating question: does the disjunctive accent on ראשׁית (which is a טפחא) provide any support for taking the word as the free or bound form?

Read the rest of this entry »

Hebrew verb theory . . . ten years gone

The relief of having finally gotten my work on the Hebrew verb into print is finally sinking in (available here). I reflected towards the end of this ten-year-long project of revising, expanding, and reinventing parts of it that it is a project (due to the nature of the topic) about which one has to pronounce a stopping point not a finishing point (Those familiar with Vendler’s situation aspect categories will get the allusion). I honestly thought I’d tire of the whole topic once finished, and admittedly I am weary of the theoretical discussion and eager to spend the next ten years or more applying the theory to the text in a way that will merge directly into more far-reaching exegetical issues. I have in mind work like my forthcoming article on the verb in Qoheleth or my work on the Qohelet volume for the Baylor Handbook of the Hebrew Bible, co-authored with my co-blogger Robert Holmstedt and Phillip Marshall. Of course, teaching language and exegesis classes in addition to ongoing work on the Accordance syntax project has given me ample opportunity to see how my theory works out in practice.

However, in this post I want to briefly step back into the fray of the discussion. For a while it was a quiet scene, other than the periodic discussion on another blog (see the discussion on John Hobbin’s blog) or the requisite bi-yearly flare up on the b-hebrew list (yes, I confess I’m a lurker there). I say “flare up” because usually it ends with the same folks talking past each other followed by a moderator shutting it down (and rightly so).

Read the rest of this entry »