Keep Up Your Biblical Hebrew In Two Minutes A Day: Vol 2: 365 More Selections For Easy Review
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Hendrickson Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
As someone who has studied my fair share of languages , I appreciate when books do a good job at helping make learning vocabulary both practical as well as fun, and this book (and the series it is a part of) do a good job at that. This book is clearly meant to be read by someone who has already read and appreciated the first volume, as it is definitely a secondary volume to that one in several ways. Even so, those people who read this book are likely to have a strong interest in biblical Hebrew and may even have taken it as part of their religious studies, which makes this an appealing volume as part of ongoing review of vocabulary or as an aid to learning the language through studying its grammar and structure by reading other texts. One would not be surprised to see this volume appearing as part of seminary syllabi for those who study Hebrew in such places.
In terms of the contents of this book, the author/editor is very straightforward in making this volume fit seamlessly with the first volume in the series. The book has the identical structure in terms of having the second tier of the 365 most common words from biblical Hebrew in the same format as the first volume. Here too every day is listed with a particular verse in which there is one new word to learn and two words to review that appear earlier in the book or in the first volume, with the verse given in English, the word shown in Hebrew along with its transliteration and meaning and number of occurrences and Strong’s number, and with the verse in Hebrew and broken out by phrases with the words to review highlighted below. The words included in this volume range in their occurrences from 49 to 120 and make up a solid section of vocabulary that if not the most common words that appear in the Bible are certainly words that appear a fair bit, including quite a few of the tribes of Israel and neighboring nations as well as words like Sabbath and feast day (hag), as well as the Hebrew words for fruit and river, for example.
In association with the first volume of this series, this book makes an admirable aid to those who are seeking either to learn or to retain their knowledge of Hebrew, and as before the author offers some assistance in helping the reader get an understanding of the semantic domains to be found in Hebrew words. The verses chosen, like before, are over a wide variety of biblical books and the words themselves are translated ably. The author also shows a good understanding of the idioms that are often used, translating them literally so that the reader understands when a vocabulary word is hidden in an expression that appears unrelated in most translations. This allows the reader a chance to think about the nature of Hebrew as a language full of rich expressions that is structured quite differently from English, and can itself help the reader of this book become a more sophisticated student of the Bible. While this book is certainly not for everyone, those who have an interest in biblical Hebrew will find much to gain from this book and the first volume and will likely find it to be a frequently consulted aid in maintaining or building up a vocabulary in the most popular words to be found in the language.
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