Professor Barry L. Bandstra has produced a brilliant Advance Student Edition of the important GENESIS 1-11 Chapters in the ancient classical Hebrew tongue. I am shocked by the vulgar denunciation given this book by the first reviewer here. Did he actually read Professor Bandstra's text? Since Ryssel's "De Elohistae Pentateuchici sermone" (1878), there have many many learned treatises on these first eleven chapters of Genesis.
However none of them are geared for the young savants of Hebrew philology; Bandstra's text does ground them well in this ancient tongue. This edition is a masterpiece of erudition, simple clarity & marvellous insights into the workings of the ancient tradents who produced the composites that cohere to give us a presentation of the ancient Near Eastern Mind [Egyptian (Chapters 1:1--2:4a) & Babylonian (Chapters 2:4b--3:24) doublets] as to how the world and its human culture began.
When one masters the functional Hebrew grammar of post-modern scholars such as Bandstra, you are well rewarded. What has been well said of Georg Heinrich August von Ewald (1803-1875), a Hebrew language savant, applies to Dr. Bandstra as well: he displays the noble characteristics of a grerat scholar---perfect simplicity and sincerity, intense moral earnestness, sturdy independence, and absolute fearlessness! If Professor von Ewald was the second founder of the science of the Hebrew language, Dr. Bandstra is the third.
Let me be permitted to give one example of his genius on p. 43 on his discussion of the famous debate between the two medieval Twelfth century grammarians, Abraham ben Ezra ["Ibn Ezra"] (died AD 1167) and Rashi as to how to construe the prepositional circumstantial clause in Genesis 1:1 "In a first Deity created the heavens and the Earth" he tells why the correct translation should be, "Initially" or "At commencement"...Deity created the heavens and the Earth! This is the correct philological elucidation of the text. The Hebrew "bere'shith" is an indefinite noun. Does it modify the main clause v. 2 (Ibn Ezra) or v. 3 (Rashi)? What does the grammarian Rabbi David Qimhi [Kimchi] (died ca. AD 1235) say? Buy his book and find out! To translate the Hebrew 'Elohim as "Deity" is a stroke of genius. It is, indeed, a pluralia majestatus, if I may use one of those opaque Latinized descriptions that serve to detract from a perceptive grasp of the ancient text, that captures correctly how the ancient tradents employed the term for the appellative Yahweh [YHWH or "YHVH"].
After I have studied this treatise in greater depth (I have only done a precursory rapid reading), and re-read two and three more times this splendid treatise, I will edit this review in greater detail [See my Amos review of Professor Garrett's excellent Amos text in the same series here].
By all means buy this treatise for your classical Hebrew library! You will be richly rewarded!
John E.D.P. Malin