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A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax Paperback – November 24, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0521533485 ISBN-10: 0521533481 Edition: Bilingual

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Bilingual edition (November 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521533481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521533485
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Arnold and Choi have given to all who love the Hebrew Scriptures a clear, concise, correct and carefully prepared guide to Biblical Hebrew syntax, helping its students to interpret scripture accurately." Bruce K. Waltke, author of An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax

"This is a highly useful book. It is brief and concise, yet is long enough to provide helpful and detailed descriptions (along with copious examples) that condense and distill the best of recent developments in Hebrew grammar and syntax... Students and instructors of Biblical Hebrew will want and need this volume on their shelves." Brent A. Strawn, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"What a joy to read!...The concept of having something to put into students' hands after a year of grammatical study that attempts to lead them further into making sense of the Hebrew text is a wonderful and commendable goal....This is a long-overdue book." Roy L. Heller, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Book Description

At the heart of biblical interpretation is the need to read the Bible's "syntax" (the way words, clauses, and sentences relate to each other). The growing demands on theological education have made it difficult for students of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) to master the intermediate-level skills required to interpret the syntax of the Bible's original language. A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax defines the fundamental syntactical features of the Hebrew Bible, and illustrates each feature with at least one example, extracted from the Bible itself and accompanied with English translation.

More About the Author

Bill T. Arnold (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is the Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary. While at Asbury, he has held administrative positions first as Director of Postgraduate Studies and then as Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost.

His primary interests are biblical exegesis and ancient Near Eastern history, resulting in publications on specific texts (Genesis and 1-2 Samuel), as well as a Hebrew grammar ("A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax," with John H. Choi), and introductory materials ("Who Were the Babylonians?" and "Encountering the Old Testament," with Bryan E. Beyer).

Arnold was an editor for the Old Testament notes in "The Wesley Study Bible" (Abingdon, 2009) and co-translator of Genesis for the "Common English Bible" (Abingdon, 2011). An ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church, Arnold was a delegate to the UMC's General Conferences in 2012 and 2008 (first clergy alternate), representing the Kentucky Annual Conference.

Customer Reviews

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Highly recommended for seminarians and other students of Hebrew.
LOTR Librarian
As a beginning student of Hebrew at the graduate level, I selected this book to supplement our course grammar.
William A. Snodgrass Jr.
This Book is easy to understand, designed very well and offers good explanations.
Shawn V. Goodwin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By N. Caine on December 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
It's stunning that after years of Biblical authorship, we still don't have a good guide to Biblical grammar for beginning or intermediate level students. Biblical grammar is a tricky thing: it is the product of modern scholarship's attempt to reconstruct a Biblical grammar. Arnold and Choi's contribution is helpful in many ways: it allows someone with only basic grammatical knowledge to penetrate and learn Biblical grammar, someone who would otherwise be lost by the concision of Moshe Greenberg or overwhelmed by Gesenius. It will explain to you that there are no tenses in Hebrew, only "aspects" (perfect and imperfect), and it will run down long taxonomical lists of grammatical "uses", such as pages and pages and pages of the various "meanings" of the lamed. (For what it's worth, there is increasing scholarship today that Biblical Hebrew in fact is a tensed language, not an aspected language, though, not surprisingly, Arnold and Choi do not point out that there is an opposing opinion to theirs.)

The problem, and it is a major one, is that Arnold and Choi make no effort to present to the reader which meanings and uses are relatively established and which are speculative. When I went over many of the uses with a professor of Biblical grammar, I learned that they establish entire categories for uses that occur once in the whole Bible. This is their downfall: if they can make another use or "case," then they will (the astronomical number of special uses of the construct form is absurd), and then they'll tell us that we have to put certain examples in those categories. We are told, for example, that the causative hifil of "see" is the permissive hifil, as in "God let him see" when in fact there is no reason not to translate it "God showed him.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Mccreary on December 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is excellent for the student of Biblical Hebrew. Often times, many beginning students do not fully learn the rules of syntax in the first couple of semesters of Biblical Hebrew, and it is not until the student begins to read in upper level classes that the fundamentals of syntax are truly necessary. This book meets the need for a concise guide for syntax, explaining in simple ways how things such as the waw verbal sequences and the varied uses of prepositional prefixes work in sentences. The explanations are very simple, and a student who has performed competently in one or two semesters of Hebrew should not have any trouble discerning the terms and lingo of Hebrew grammar and syntax. The book is basically a highly abridged version of Waltke and O'Connor's Biblical Hebrew Syntax, a thick and essential volume that students will want to graduate to upon mastering Arnold and Choi's smaller volume.

I have used this book quite extensively in my own exegesis classes (Dr. Bill Arnold is one my profs) and it has served me very well. Thus, I recommend it to any student of Hebrew that needs reinforcement in their understanding of Hebrew syntax.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Zook on November 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have used this book extensively as I have exegeted the Hebrew text and it is fantastic. This guide is snap to use for about 95% of the questions I have regarding the text. The other 5% I use Walkte and O'Connor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jaroslav Melgr on February 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book I've been looking for. It's nice to have a reference book with all the syntax rules organized and structured. I've used a number of grammars for Biblical Hebrew and some of them deal with syntax to one degree or another, but no one has a summary of syntax rules. This is a great complement to one's study of Biblical Hebrew -- it's not a substitute for a grammar book. I highly recommend it before moving on to Waltke and O'Connor.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shawn V. Goodwin on August 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
This Book is easy to understand, designed very well and offers good explanations. It is not, however, a reference grammar. It offers alot of footnotes that refer to the bigger grammars for further study. I wish I had used it instead of Waltke and O'Conner for second year Hebrew, but still there is no getting around the need for a more indepth Grammar. Read this book, then buy Waltke and O'Conner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rylan Aaseby on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arnold and Choi state in the beginning of the books that their work is to be an "intermediate reference grammar for biblical Hebrew", and I would say that it succeeds wonderfully at that. The work does very well at being concise while at the same time not leaving a great deal of ambiguity (though at time intentionally stating the ambiguity where it persists even for scholars). I teach Biblical Hebrew at the college level but am restricted to a 2semester program which limits me to introductory Hebrew, yet the readability of this book has been very helpful I brining up basic syntax to my students. I would very much recommend this book.

For practicality, the table of contents is very thorough and serves as nearly a summary for the basic categories of syntax if you area already familiar with the terminology, otherwise it makes it very easy to navigate. Each syntactical idea is introduced with a brief (sometimes longer) prose explanation. This is a huge advantage over other syntax works with jump right into examples, which can be difficult to distinguish.

One thing I whicho they would have included was pronominal suffixes and pronouns in a section of their own. Pronouns are so pervasive sometimes knowing how to analyze their antecedent would be helpful, but then again, Waltke O'Connor does alright :)
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