Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Book Review - Second Edition of Basics of Biblical Hebrew
09/17/2007 - Alan KurschnerThe Biblical Language Series published by Zondervan is comprehensive and pedagogically cutting edge. Just recently they have published the second edition of Basics of Biblical Hebrew by Gary D. Pratico of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Miles V. Van Pelt of Reformed Theological Seminary in Mississippi.
This first year grammar has emerged as a standard Hebrew grammar in the past few years, and for obvious reasons: the pedagogy is most conducive for learning, which is "combining the best of inductive and deductive approaches," and its employment of using the "diagnostic" approach for learning the derived stems so that paradigm memorization is not required for those verbal stems. Though this grammar is used in seminary classroom settings (I had the privilege to learn Biblical Hebrew through the first edition of the grammar with Dr. Pratico as my professor), it is also designed to be used for studying Hebrew on your own.
The very first improvement of the second edition that someone will notice is that the physical book dimensions itself is roughly 20% larger than the previous edition. This was done to make the font larger and the text size easier reading. Other improvements were made as well:
- Colored text highlights particles added to nouns and verbs, allowing easy recognition of new forms.
- Chapters Two (Hebrew Vowels), Nine (Pronominal Suffixes,) Seventeen (Waw Consecutive), Eighteen (Imperative, Cohortative, and Jussive), and Twenty-Three (Issues of Sentence Syntax) are revised and expanded.
- Section of appendices and study aids is clearly marked for fast reference.
- At the end of each chapter there is an exegetical or theological insight to continue to inspire and remind the student why they are studying Hebrew. The new edition includes a lengthy piece by John Piper on the importance of pastors learning their languages. It is titled, "Bitzer Was a Banker!" In addition, there is a new insight by B.B. Warfield titled "The Languages and Pastoral Ministry."
- Also the accompanied Workbook has been improved and updated as well.
The grammar has retained its effective approach as it touts that it "uses actual examples from the Hebrew Old Testament rather than 'made-up' illustrations," and "Emphasizes the structural pattern of the Hebrew language rather than rote memorization, resulting in a simple, enjoyable, and effective learning process."
The grammar comes with a CD-ROM that includes (1) the full answer key to the accompanying workbook; (2) Scripture indexes to both the grammar and the workbook; (3) Flashworks (TM) vocabulary-drilling program from Teknia Language Tools.
If you have a passion to learn Biblical Hebrew and thus enrich your Old Testament studies, here is your starting point!