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Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew

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Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew

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Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew
Learning Biblical Hebrew Grammatical Concepts Through English Grammar
By Gary A. Long
Hendrickson Publishers (2002)
ISBN: 1-56563-713-5

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - June 22, 2009

Learning any language requires hard work, persistence, and whether we like it or not, memorization. Perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks that many students face in learning a new language is learning the grammatical concepts of the language they are studying, a problem that is often compounded by a shaky understanding of basic English grammar. For students of Biblical Hebrew who need some assistance in understanding Biblical Hebrew grammatical concepts, you'll find Gary A. Long's Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew to be of tremendous help. Along the way you also reap the added bonus of gaining a firmer grasp of English grammar.

This book was designed specifically to meet the needs of students new to the study of Biblical Hebrew and who do not have a firm grasp of English grammar. As such, he starts at the bare basics, describing what a noun and a verb are, before advancing to more complex subjects such as verbless clauses and adverbial modifiers. It is not a textbook on Biblical Hebrew. Rather, it is a study aid to help you understand basic grammatical concepts associated with Biblical Hebrew. Throughout, Long provides a clear and concise overview of the basics of Biblical Hebrew grammar, and he provides step-by-step instruction that serves to provide you with a solid foundation upon which to build your understanding and knowledge of Biblical Hebrew.

At times, I found Long's treatment of the subject to be on the simplistic side at the very beginning, but he quickly moves onto more complex topics as the text progresses. Overall, I found that using Long's text, I quickly filled in the gaps in my knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and English grammar, and that once learned, I could easily explain these concepts to others. In addition, this methodology will prove a boon to students studying Biblical Hebrew without the aid of a teacher. Long's clear instructions and building block approach to the subject ensures that the students can absorb the material without further instruction and that they have a firm grasp of the material before progressing to the next section. One means that Long does this is by the extensive use of sentence diagrams - where you learn the structure of a sentence by writing out the sentence and noting the various parts of speech in it. This might seem like an 'old timey' method, but it is a tried and true one! He also first explains each concept using English grammar as an example before moving on to show how the various concepts are applied to Biblical Hebrew.

Whether studying Biblical Hebrew on your own or in a formal setting, you'll find Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew to be a worthwhile study aid for high school, college, and independent learers, as well as for anyone seeking a basic understanding of Biblical Hebrew gramatical concepts.

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