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Biblical Hebrew as a Living Language

Biblical Hebrew Training for Bible Translator Consultants (BTC)

SH BTC 101

Course Instructor and Meeting Time:

Course Coordinator: Jochanan Löwenstein email:

Hebrew Instructors: H4N Teachers

Schedule: The course will meet in 1.5 hour sessions once a week on Wednesdays 9:00am – 10:30 am Eastern Time (16:00 – 17:30 Israel Time) for 40 weeks. The course commences on Wednesday October 6th, 2021 and continues through July 13th 2022.

Lessons will be recorded and made available within a few days for those who can not make the live sessions.

Course Goal:
Geared for NT Bible Translation Consultants, the course seeks to internalize the Biblical Hebrew language so that reading the Hebrew Bible becomes more enjoyable, efficient, and exegetically rewarding. This approach allows basic reading processes–such as parsing, lexical, morphological and syntactic analysis -to become more second-nature. The more comfortable the translator/consultant is with the Hebrew text, the better equipped he/she will be to check other translations against the original Hebrew.

Communicative Methodology:
This course is specifically designed to use spoken Biblical Hebrew acquisition methodology. The course will begin to equip Bible translators and consultants to start thinking in Hebrew and thus better equipped to translate it; the consultant should reach a level of reading fluency that allows them to be less dependent on pop-over glosses, grammars, lexicons, and translations. A Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) – that blends the work TPR, Storytelling and the Ulpan methods — will be used to teach Biblical Hebrew primarily in the language itself, both in listening and video homework and in the online classroom.

Course Expectations:
  1. Attendance of the live sessions: Minimum 80% but 100% is ideal. Internal-only videos can be used to review and make-up sessions, but participation in the live-sessions is key.
  2. Homework: For every 1.5 hours of live Hebrew teaching, the consultant should expect 2-3 hours of additional work during the week.
Learning Outcomes After completing this course successfully, the student should be able to:
  1. Know (in Hebrew!) basic regions, cities, and land features of the Hebrew Bible that provide crucial tacit information for the reader of the Tanakh.
  2. Know the most common Biblical Hebrew vocabulary in various forms (both singular and plural, and absolute and construct forms for nouns and the the five most common binyanim)
  3. Read more fluently (with less outside help) basic Pentateuchal narrative as well as from books like Ruth or Jonah.
  4. Articulate simple stories, ask comprehension questions, and discuss basic ideas of the Biblical text, all in spoken Biblical Hebrew.
  5. Describe simple events in the present and past tenses.
  6. Listen to narrative Biblical texts with basic comprehension.
  7. Know several verses from the Hebrew Bible from memory (e.g. Shema and a Psalm) and know a few common Hebrew blessings.
  8. Learn Hebrew Worship Songs to help facilitate memory and enjoyment.
  9. Quickly recognize and identify basic linguistic structures including noun and adjective endings, verb stems, conjugations, parts of speech, types of clauses and linguistic features.
  10. Begin to learn how to type Hebrew using the standard Israeli keyboard including vowel pointing.
Course Materials:
  1. Practical Hebrew Exercises and materials developed by Hebrew for the Nations Staff.
  2. Biblical text handouts especially geared for highlighting grammatical features and the context of the Land of the Bible.
  3. Hebrew song sheets (based upon Biblical Hebrew texts)
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