Book Review: Keep Up Your Biblical Hebrew In Two Minutes A Day: Vol 1

Keep Up your Biblical Hebrew In Two Minutes A Day:  Vol 1:  365 Selections For Easy Review, by Jonathan G. Kline

070603

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Hendrickson Publishers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Although I do not consider myself a Hebrew scholar, I certainly have an interest in biblical languages and this book is definitely worthwhile for those purposes [1].  This book is not designed to be a guide to Hebrew grammar and morphology, although the book certainly is written in such a way that it could serve those interests well if the reader has them and in combination with other textbooks or guides to the Hebrew language and its structure.  What this book is specifically designed for, and for what it does its purpose well, is to provide a handy review of the 365 most commonly found words in the Hebrew Bible, organized in order from most to least common, and paired (except for the first two days) with two other words for the reader to review as well.  This is a book, therefore, that serves as an effective guide for review of the Hebrew language as well as an aid to biblical vocabulary for about two thirds of the words one would gain from a year’s worth of study in the language.

In terms of its contents, this book is pretty straightforwardly designed and focused on its aim of giving vocabulary practice.  From ve (and, but) to lakad (to catch or capture), this book contains all of the Hebrew words used more than 120 times in the Hebrew Bible in a consistent format.  Each day and verse are listed on the header of a page and under that is the verse along with the Hebrew spelling of the words being taught/reviewed.  Underneath this there is is a particular word in Hebrew along with its transliteration, translation, its frequency as well as a Strong’s Number for ease of further reading and review.  Beneath this is the verse in Hebrew and then broken down into phrases with the English translation and a highlight on the words being taught or reviewed.  The words being reviewed are linked back to their original occurrence in the book so that the reader can get a sense for the way that words are used and how some words have related forms with various prefixes and suffixes attached to them.

This book does a good job at providing vocabulary practice for students of a variety of levels in Hebrew who range from slight literacy to considerable expertise, and altogether the book has most of the words that a scholarly Bible like the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia:  A Reader’s Edition would assume that a reader would understand.  Those readers who studied Hebrew at seminary or in graduate school and are looking to brush up on their vocabulary and keep certain key words in mind will find a great deal to appreciate here, as this book includes everything from direct object pronouns to personal names to notable vocabulary that occur frequently in the pages of scripture.  Also worthy of high praise is the way that the author manages to not only include the meaning of a word in particular instances but also to give a sense at the range of meaning that many Hebrew words have, which can make the language a bit of a challenge for those who want words to have a much more limited set of meanings.  The book will likely encourage many readers to do some Bible study and to reflect on the patterns and relationships between related words of frequent occurrence.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/06/book-review-a-first-hebrew-reader/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/02/02/when-greek-minds-try-to-understand-hebrew-texts/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/06/21/book-review-the-story-of-yiddish/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/05/22/book-review-exploring-our-hebraic-heritage/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s