Resources for Biblical, Theological, and Religious Studies maintained by Tyler F. Williams

Inductive Grammars

My bias lies with inductive grammars. I like to get students into the biblical text as soon as possible, since that is the goal of teaching Classical Hebrew. That being said, I find that an inductive approach works best when augmented with deductive resources, and vice versa.

KittelBiblical Hebrew: Text and Workbook, Second Edition.
Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, Rebecca Wright
New Haven: Yale, 2005.

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This easy-to-use introduction to Classical Hebrew is probably the best inductive grammar available. I have used the first edition as a textbook for introductory Hebrew classes for a number of years. Its approach is inductive. Each lesson takes as its reference point a verse from the Bible. The lessons are arranged by descending order of frequency. So, for instance, the first lesson introduces the student to the "vav conversive," which is the most frequent construction in the Hebrew Bible. The grammar has a lot of exercises, including extended reading guides to eight biblical texts. Over the course of fifty-five chapters, students build a vocabulary of over 400 words. The text is attractively laid out and easy to use. It does use some antequated/inaccurate terminology (e.g., "affix" is used incorrectly, the "vav conversive" noted above is somewhat antequated), albeit for pedagogical reasons. I have found it necessary to supplement the lessons with extra grammar so that students do not have as big of jump to intermediate grammars and resources.

I have developed a number of resources to be used in conjunction with Kittel's grammar (See my Kittel Resources page).

The second edition makes a number of minor changes. There are no changes to the actual lesson sentences, which is too bad because a few of them should have been changed. The text is re-typeset and incorporates a number of songs, which are included on three companion CDs. There is also a Supplement which includes further exercises and detail on the lessons.

Overall, I highly recommend this work as a first year teaching grammar. It would also be suitable (with Answer Key) for self directed study for assiduous students.

Kittel1Biblical Hebrew: A Text and Workbook.
Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, Rebecca Wright
New Haven: Yale, 1989.

Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com

The first edition of Kittel is still available; since there are not many substantial changes in the second edition, I would recommend using the first since it is cheaper. I have developed a number of resources to be used in conjunction with it (See my Kittel Resources page).

There are a couple of extras available for use in conjunction with this text:

  • WilliamsTyler Williams, An Answer Key for Biblical Hebrew : A Supplement to the Text and Workbook by Bonnie P. Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, and Rebecca A. Wright (Yale Language Series; Yale, 1996). I have found this Answer Key indispensable, as otherwise you will be spending a lot of time going through exercises in class (that is why I developed it in the first place). There is also an extended Answer Key available on my Kittel Resources page.
    Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Biblical Hebrew: An Audio Cassette (Yale Language Series). This 60-minute cassette may help students pronounce the lesson sentences and vocabulary.
    Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com

Overall, I highly recommend this work as a first year teaching grammar. It would also be suitable (with Answer Key) for self directed study for assiduous students.


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Introductory Hebrew Grammars

Introductory Hebrew | Mastering Hebrew | Terminology | General Resources | Resources for Kittel

This page will give you some guidance in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of the best introductory Hebrew texts available. In my evaluation, I considered a number of things:

  • Approach: What approach does the text take? Inductive or deductive? Does it follow sound pedagogy?
  • Ease of Use: Is the text laid out and organized in a way that would make it easy to use? Would it be possible to use it outside of a classroom setting?
  • Extras: What other teaching and/or learning aids are available with the text?

Since the inductive/deductive question is perhaps the most significant distinction between grammars, I have broken down my discussion into two major sections. Please note that this survey is by no means exhaustive! I welcome any and all comments.


Inductive Grammars | Deductive Grammars | Other Resources | Mastering Biblical Hebrew Page


Inductive Grammars

I have started with inductive grammars because that is where my bias lies. I like to get students into the biblical text as soon as possible, since that is the goal of teaching Classical Hebrew. That being said, I find that an inductive approach works best when augmented with deductive resources, and vice versa.

BHSBiblical Hebrew: Text and Workbook, Second Edition.
Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, Rebecca Wright
New Haven: Yale, 2005.

Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com

This easy-to-use introduction to Classical Hebrew is probably the best inductive grammar available. I have used the first edition as a textbook for introductory Hebrew classes for a number of years. Its approach is inductive. Each lesson takes as its reference point a verse from the Bible. The lessons are arranged by descending order of frequency. So, for instance, the first lesson introduces the student to the "vav conversive," which is the most frequent construction in the Hebrew Bible. The grammar has a lot of exercises, including extended reading guides to eight biblical texts. Over the course of fifty-five chapters, students build a vocabulary of over 400 words. The text is attractively laid out and easy to use. It does use some antequated/inaccurate terminology (e.g., "affix" is used incorrectly, the "vav conversive" noted above is somewhat antequated), albeit for pedagogical reasons. I have found it necessary to supplement the lessons with extra grammar so that students do not have as big of jump to intermediate grammars and resources.

I have developed a number of resources to be used in conjunction with Kittel's grammar (See my Kittel Resources page).

The second edition makes a number of minor changes. There are no changes to the actual lesson sentences, which is too bad because a few of them should have been changed. The text is re-typeset and incorporates a number of songs, which are included on three companion CDs. There is also a Supplement which includes further exercises and detail on the lessons.

Overall, I highly recommend this work as a first year teaching grammar. It would also be suitable (with Answer Key) for self directed study for assiduous students.

BHSBiblical Hebrew: A Text and Workbook.
Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, Rebecca Wright
New Haven: Yale, 1989.

Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com

The first edition of Kittel is still available; since there are not many substantial changes in the second edition, I would recommend using the first since it is cheaper. I have developed a number of resources to be used in conjunction with it (See my Kittel Resources page).

There are a couple of extras available for use in conjunction with this text:

  • BHSTyler Williams, An Answer Key for Biblical Hebrew : A Supplement to the Text and Workbook by Bonnie P. Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, and Rebecca A. Wright (Yale Language Series; Yale, 1996). I have found this Answer Key indispensable, as otherwise you will be spending a lot of time going through exercises in class (that is why I developed it in the first place). There is also an extended Answer Key available on my Kittel Resources page.
    Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Biblical Hebrew: An Audio Cassette (Yale Language Series). This 60-minute cassette may help students pronounce the lesson sentences and vocabulary.
    Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com

Overall, I highly recommend this work as a first year teaching grammar. It would also be suitable (with Answer Key) for self directed study for assiduous students.



 

BHSLearning Biblical Hebrew:
A New Approach using Discourse Analysis.

B. M. Rocine
Macon: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2000.

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This work takes an innovative approach to learning Classical Hebrew. Its approach is inductive. Like Kittel, each lesson takes as its reference point a verse from the Bible and the lessons are arranged by descending order of frequency. What sets Rocine's grammar apart is its emphasis on discourse analysis. Most introductory grammars focus on the building blocks of Hebrew like phonology and morphology and do not get much into how all the parts fit together. This text gets into such issues right from the first lesson. Each lesson has numerous exercises and there are extended reading guides to eight biblical passages. Over the course of fifty lessons, students build a vocabulary of approximately 400 words. The text is adequately laid out and easy to use (some students may find the technical aspects of discourse analysis a bit challenging).

This is an interesting teaching grammar. If not the primary textbook, I would recommend this text to instructors as a useful supplement. There are no extras available for use in conjunction with this text. The lack of an Answer Key would make it difficult to use for self-study.

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 06 July 2009 08:55