A Student’s Review of “Learning Biblical Hebrew” from Lexham Press
“Another Hebrew grammar? Why?”. The question seems fair enough. With a list of available grammars for the modern student of Biblical Hebrew that runs dozens of time-tested volumes, what could a new grammar bring to the equation?
From a student’s perspective, it’s about method as much as the ordering in which things are presented. Here, I found “Learning Biblical Hebrew” (Lexham Press) to be very helpful. Rather than inundating the new student with accents, cantillation, and a litany of grammar rules, LBH eases in to translating with just the basics to start. Some teachers might not like this approach, but as a student, I found it helpful. New Hebrew students often enter the fog trying to learn grammar and vocabulary at the same time as the alephbet and vocalization. LBH helps here by easing the student into translation almost immediately, using simple forms and progressing in difficulty as the lessons advance. Also helpful as a student were the appendices, which hold some content that many grammars use as the introductory material (about the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew accents, cantillation, etc), but also material which helps the new student get a firmer grip on things like grammar, diagrams, and thematic outlines.
The Logos edition of LBH also comes packed with features that are immensely helpful in study. The simple fact of being able to use the rest of my library and bring the thoughts of other grammarians to the table when I’m studying a particular word or phrase, or to see what HALOT has to say on something makes LBH an indispensable part of the Logos users’ library.
LBH might sit more at home with seminary students, as its introduction credits the Bible as “God’s words”, but this doctrinal statement doesn’t limit the approach found within to that of “seminary Hebrew”. In other words, LBH will be valuable to anyone, faith-based or not, who wishes to begin their journey into Biblical Hebrew, or the student who wishes to have another voice in their education. For my money, I think every [ok almost every] Hebrew grammar has value. Each way of viewing things helps round out the picture and can serve to bring some new aspect to light. In the study of the Bible, one can never have too many resources to help in its reading.
– Note: I was provided with a digital copy of LBH from Lexham for review.