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A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (Revised Edition) Paperback – September 1, 1995
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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If you are instead seeking an introductory Hebrew text you should run screaming from Seow. If you are not a natural language learner and considering PhD studies, and you see that your professor has assigned this text, switch sections immediately. I am neither kidding nor exaggerating. I love academics. I am finishing up my second master's degree, and I have never suffered this much frustration with a text.
Seow's fascination with introducing his reader to the complexities of "real" Hebrew and plumbing the depths of intricate Hebrew grammar certainly warrant admiration from language aficionados. However, for the novice learner, Seow borders on inaccessible due to to his austere pedagogical approach. For me, it felt like climbing a mountain with an impatient, expert guide who would not be hindered by the cumbersome trappings or needs of the beginer. I felt like he would constantly clamber ahead along the most difficult possible route and shout: "Come on! You can do it!" from the next ledge far above my head.
Finally, the list of vocab words at the end of each lesson is geared toward biblical translation. The exercises at the end of each lesson are all from the hebrew bible, so seow chose the vocab words based on these exercises. I applaud his desire to throw the student into the hebrew bible early, but in a way it feels as if one has been thrown to the wolves. Words in the Hebrew Bible (particularly poetry) are often the rare form or exceptions to the grammatical rules, which means students are asked to deal with exceptions without much practice in the basics. Moreover the vocab words chosen for each lesson are random with no unifying factor, and similar roots/ words are spread throughout multiple chapters (the basic form, the plural, and verbal form) are not together (and not typically linked up with the lesson on that particular form).
While Seow is comprehensive in his treatment of the language, in the end it is not accessible and not recommended for the beginning student. Instead, I would recommend Ryan Bonfiglio's "Re-thinking Biblical Hebrew" - much more attention is paid toward the student who would actually be using the book - i.e. accessible print/font with appropriate caveats and sidebar notes (essentially preferrencing the material - very important), mnemonic aids, and keys to learning the material.
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(1) The author used "Lessons" rather than "Chapters".Read more