Biblical Hebrew, Second Ed. (SET) Hardcover – Oct 11 2004
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About the Author
Victoria Hoffer is lecturer in Biblical Hebrew and Biblical literature at Yale Divinity School. The late Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel was professor of Biblical Hebrew at Yale Divinity School and ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Rebecca Abts Wright is a member of the faculty at the University of the South.
Vicki Hoffer is lecturer in Biblical Hebrew and Biblical literature at Yale Divinity School. The late Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel was professor of Biblical Hebrew at Yale Divinity School and ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Rebecca Abts Wright is a member of the faculty at the University of the South.
REBECCA ABTS WRIGHT is a member of the faculty at the University of the South. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The new edition has been improved in almost every way possible (from layout, to design, to even the fonts). The largest improvements, though, come in the exceptional supplement (which exceeds many advanced, non-beginner grammars) and the CDs which accompany the book. The music is simply wonderful and ranges from little grammatical jingles to full blown covers of songs originally written by the man himself, King David (i.e. the Psalms).
As a whole, this edition is guaranteed to introduce you, in a logical and rigorous fashion, to almost everything you need to know about Biblical Hebrew. The biggest advantage to this book (over, let's say a Lambdin or a Kelley or Pratico [all of which I own]) is that it is heads and tails more pragmatic and useful. Lambdin, for instance, uses transliteration, which really is a huge crutch and in the long run hurts you (not to mention that Lambdin doesn't present his material in a particularly *practical* way...Kelley is the weakest of the bunch, in my opinion [mired in an extremely poor presention-scheme], and Pratico is not horrible, but simply is not as comprehensive as Hoffer's book).
Hoffer's book, on the other hand, presents everything in a *practical, logical* fashion: concepts and vocabulary are introduced as necessary. Within several weeks, you will be reading the story of the binding of Isaac...something the other texts wouldn't dare to do even after dozens of lessons. This book is focused on getting you to read the Biblical text, as quickly, and as thoroughly and critically as possible...the other books too often seem to lose sight of this fact, preferring instead to meander through lessons which seem to lack relevance to the everyone's reason for picking up a Biblical Hebrew grammar: reading the Bible. Every practice sentence/exercise comes from the Bible...everything you learn in this book is *useful*. Not only that, but Hoffer's knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and of Biblical Hebrew grammar is extraordinary...as is her love of the language, which is not only extraordinary, but felt on every page of the book.
Get this book if you're fascinated by the Hebrew Bible and want to read it as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Get this book if you have some familiarity with Biblical Hebrew, but want to master the language. Get this book just for the CDs!
One final point: I am not qualified to evaluate Biblical Hebrew accents, but I do find it surprising that one of the earlier reviewers (the only one who panned the book, and only on the basis of one alleged flaw) could simultaneously (a) be a self-acknowledged Hebrew neophyte, but also (b) feel certain of his/her exquisite ear for the language. I could possibly see either (a) or (b), but not both; something just doesn't fit in the personal facts he/she relates. All I know about the CDs is that the mnemonics are fun, and much of the singing is, believe it or not, beautiful.
The strength of this textbook is its natural approach to language. Rather than having students spend the first several months of learning memorizing an endless quantity of abstract information, this text introduces a verse of Hebrew Bible, and than proceeds to take it apart, introducing all of the grammatical details necessary to understand that verse. Thus the student is actually reading and applying their beginning skills from the very first lesson. This is the natural way of learning a language! This does not mean that a student is free of memorizing paradigms, and rules - such work is simply part of learning a language, but these tedious tasks are put in context, and introduced at an appropriate point in learning.
The supplement to the textbook is a fine addition, giving a deeper examination of grammatical concepts, as the student is prepared to deal with them. The accompanying CD is beautifully done. The mnemonics are helpful and fun, but I confess that the best part of the CD's is the beautiful Torah readings and songs. My particular favorite is that of "Dodi li" from "Song of Songs," - sung so beautifully as to bring one to tears.
This is a fine textbook, and I highly recommend it.
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