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Pocket Dictionary for the Study of Biblical Hebrew Paperback – October 3, 2003
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"The Pocket Dictionary for the Study of Biblical Hebrew is well conceived and will provide a much-needed help for wading through technical jargon related to language learning in general and Hebrew language learning in particular. Its extensive scope is most impressive, and its copious cross-referencing is a very helpful feature. Any term I thought of was there, and I learned much by just rapidly reading through numerous entries. A sure bet to be a valued tool for Hebrew study." (Alan J. Groves, Westminster Theological Seminary)
"I am pleased to enthusiastically endorse Todd Murphy's Pocket Dictionary for the Study of Biblical Hebrew. An up-to-date and comprehensive resource of terms and terminology like this has been needed for some time. As the title indicates, it is indeed a resource of terms for the study of biblical Hebrew, but it is also an important tool for the study of numerous component disciplines of Hebrew exegesis as well as comparative Semitic philology, historical development of biblical Hebrew and the basic elements of linguistic study for any Semitic language. Though there are similar resources available, this work appears to be a cut above the rest in terms of breadth of topic coverage and quality of concise presentation. The entries are marked by a superb level of scholarly competence as well as an ability to discover and cover each topic with clarity and precision. For beginning and advanced students alike, Dr. Murphy has provided a new level of access and understanding for the study of this language as the avenue to the profound riches of the Hebrew Scriptures. For those who teach or study the Old Testament from the perspective of the original language, this is an important addition to the bibliographic resources." (Dr. Gary Pratico, Professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
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There are things that would like to see changed in future editions of the book -- I do hope that they are forthcoming. Here are some specific examples of suggestions that I believe would further enhance the value of the book:
1. There are terms that could use examples. For example, the term "oath formula" has a brief discussion of the term and a reference to Jouon's book, but no example. The same goes for prophetic perfect and other terms, which would deserve an example. There are other terms that list examples, but it would be nice to have them all covered even briefly. Another simple example is "kaph veritatis", which does not provide any example of what this means, it just says "The kaph preposition when it is employed pleonastically." Obviously, I'm not referring to an exhaustive list of examples, just a one or two per term would do for an illustration. It's a matter of consistency of the use of examples.
2. Inconsistency of inclusion/exclusion of terms. For example "tD stem" and "G stem" are defined terms, but not "N", "H", etc. stems using the same nomenclature. Instead, it's a mix and match. It would be helpful to list them and discuss different nomenclatures under either "stem" and "verbal stem", which are defined terms but with little detail. Similarly, "Midrash" and "Pesher" are defined separately, but biblical interpretation as a discipline encompassing them and other methods is not. Another example is the inclusion of Qoheleth, but the omission of Threni or Canticum....
3. I'd like to see indexes at the end of the book. Since the book claims to cover the fields/topics of "grammar, syntax, linguistics, textual criticism and OT criticism", it would be nice to have lists of terms with page references for each topic, i.e. all the technical terms pertaining to textual criticism, etc. at the back of the book.
Top international reviews
THIS BOOK IS useful in helping students make sense of technical language found in Hebrew textbooks, grammars and lexicons. It does what is says on the cover. It mostly contains definitions of terms used in grammar, syntax and linguistics; it also defines a lesser number of terms used in textual and Old Testament criticism. If you want to find out what paragogic vowels, infinitive absolutes, comprehensive locatives or cognate accusatives are, this is the book for you.