Books on Biblical Languages

Copyright © 2013 Karl M. Bunday, all rights reserved.

Books on Biblical Hebrew

Text-Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew
David Allan Dawson (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994) (ISBN 1-85075-490-X). (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series No. 177). 242 pages; bibliography, index of authors. Analysis of the discourse structure (not Dawson's preferred term) of the text of the Book of Ruth and of the story of Jephthah from the Book of Judges. Dawson's analysis grows out of the tagmemic tradition of grammatical description originated by Kenneth Pike. Includes examination of other publications of related interest, including Niccacci's The Syntax of the Verb in Classical Hebrew Prose, Andersen's The Sentence in Biblical Hebrew, Eskhult's Studies in Verbal Aspect and Narrative Technique in Biblical Hebrew Prose, Longacre's Joseph: A Story of Divine Providence: A Text-Theoretical and Text-Linguistic Analysis of Genesis 37 and 39-49, and Khan's Studies in Semitic Syntax. Dawson also has some interesting comments about Waltke and O'Connor's An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Davidson's Introductory Hebrew Grammar: Syntax
J. C. L. Gibson (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 4th edition 1994) (ISBN 0-567-09713-7). xi and 229 pages; index of Bible passages, index of subjects. Intermediate level treatment of Hebrew syntax, an update of Davidson's 1901 third edition. More information about syntax proper, more clearly presented, than in the Waltke-O'Connor text. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Biblical Hebrew: A Text and Workbook
Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, and Rebecca Abts Wright (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989). xxiii and 429 pages; glossary, verb charts, vocabulary lists, index. Largely inductive beginning text with an eclectic assortment of Biblical texts. The grammatical terminology in this text differs considerably from that of most other books about Hebrew. KMBowns

Introduction to Biblical Hebrew
Thomas O. Lambdin (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971). xxviii and 345 pages; appendixes, glossaries, index. Standard beginning Hebrew textbook in selective colleges in the United States for more than two decades. Extensive use of transliteration draws attention to phonological issues in Biblical Hebrew. Thoroughly deductive in approach. KMBowns

Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew
edited by Walter R. Bodine (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1992) (ISBN 0-931464-55-2). x and 323 pages; list of abbreviations, indexes. Outstanding collection of articles by leading scholars on the linguistics of Biblical Hebrew, with sections of articles on phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse analysis, historical/comparative linguistics, and graphemics. A step forward in the investigation of the langauge of the Hebrew Scriptures. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Biblical Hebrew Step-by-Step
Menahem Mansoor (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, second edition 1980). 254 pages; Hebrew-English and English-Hebrew vocabularies, index. First-year college textbook, for which a tape cassette is available. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Biblical Hebrew
Toyozo W. Nakarai (Philadelphia?, New York?: Bookman, 1951). 200 pages; index. Early example of applying modern linguistics to clarify the teaching of Hebrew. KMBseen_MNU

A History of the Hebrew Language
Angel Sáenz-Badillos, translated by John Elwolde (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1993) (ISBN 0-521-43157-3; 0-521-55634-1 [paperback]). xii and 371 pages; foreword by Shelomo Morag, bibliography, index. Translation of Professor Sáenz-Badillo's Spanish-Language book Historia de la Lengua Hebrea published in 1988. Excellent overview of the history of the Hebrew language in all phases. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

A Simple Approach to Old Testament Hebrew: An Introductory Text which Makes the Language of the Old Testament Accessible to All
Ethelyn Simon, Nanette Stahl, Linda Motzkin, and Joseph Anderson (Oakland, California: EKS Publishing, 1981) (ISBN 0-939144-03-4). 284 pages; noun charts, verb charts, glossaries. A rather conventional presentation of Hebrew grammar with clearer typography and more readable English text than most introductory Hebrew grammars. Not enough practice material to be a good introductory text by itself, in my opinion, and a very cursory treatment of phonology. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Narrative Syntax and the Hebrew Bible: Papers of the Tilburg Conference 1996
edited by Ellen Van Wolde (Leiden: Brill, 1997) (ISBN 9004107878 [alkaline paper]). (Biblical Interpretation series ISSN 0928-0731, volume 29). x and 269 pages; bibliography, indexes. Conference volume on the latest issues, many still very controversial, in Hebrew syntax and text linguistics, with articles by Christo H. J. van der Merwe, Ellen van Wolde, Jan Joosten, Eep Talstra, Alviero Niccacci, and Takamitsu Muraoka. A cautionary reminder that experts still can't agree on the basic linguistic meaning of some of the most common Hebrew verb forms. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax
Bruce K. Waltke and M. O'Connor (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1990) (ISBN 0-931464-31-5). xiii and 767 pages; glossary, bibliography, indexes, colophon. Perhaps now the standard reference grammar of Biblical Hebrew for student use in the English-speaking world, although it doesn't purport to supercede the century-old Gesenius-Kautzch-Cowley grammar. Includes wealth of citations of journal literature on issues of Hebrew grammar, but surprisingly little treatment of syntax, despite the book's title. KMBowns

Essays on Hebrew
Werner Weinberg (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993) (South Florida Studies in the History of Judaism series no. 46) (ISBN 1-55540-888-5). xx and 373 pages; foreword by Paul J. Citrin, list of abbreviations, bibliography, index of Biblical passages, name and subject index. Updated collection of essays written by Professor Weinberg over a twenty-five year period. Interesting discussion of orthography, pronunciation, transliteration, and other issues related to Biblical Hebrew, with references to Hebrew of later periods. KMBseenChinaEvSem

Hebrew Syntax: An Outline
Ronald J. Williams (Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, second edition 1976) (ISBN 0-8020-2218-9). x and 122 pages; selected bibliography, indexes. Often-cited pioneering attempt at a modern approach to Hebrew syntax, an outline for classroom use. I much prefer the more "linguistically astute" A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar by van der Merwe, Naudá, and Kroeze for its treatment of the same issues, but Williams's book still has good reference value. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Readings in Biblical Hebrew: An Intermediate Textbook
Ehud Ben Zvi, Maxine Hancock, and Richard Beinert (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993) (ISBN 0-300-05573-0). xiv and 241 pages; index. Inductive intermediate text with an assortment of Biblical texts from various kinds of Biblical literature. Well designed for self-instruction, and well integrated with most of the most popular beginning texts. KMBowns

Books on Biblical Greek

New Testament Greek: An Introductory Grammar
Eric G. Jay (New York: MacMillan, 1958). x and 350 pages; appendixes, English-Greek vocabulary, Greek index, index. Traditional grammar-translation text on New Testament Greek, with examples from Mark and many English-into-Greek exercises. KMBseen_MNU

Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament
Daniel B. Wallace (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1996) (ISBN 0-310-21895-0). xxxii and 827 pages; indexes. KMB

New Testament Greek
Gerald L. Stevens (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1994, second corrected printing 1995) (ISBN 0-8191-9600-2). xxiv and 492 pages; illustrated by photoreproductions of Greek manuscripts, glossary, annotated bibliography, paradigms, Greek-English vocabulary, English-Greek vocabulary, index. KMBseen_MartLuthColl

The New Testament Is in Greek: A Short Course for Exegetes
L. William Countryman (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1993) (ISBN 0-8028-0665-1). xvii and 205 pages; list of abbreviations, glossary and index. KMBseen_MartLuthColl

Other Guides to Study of Biblical and Related Languages

Introduction to the Semitic Languages: Text Specimens and Grammatical Sketches
Gotthelf Bergsträsser, translated by Peter T. Daniels (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1983) (ISBN 0-931464-10-2 [paper]; 0-931464-17-X [cloth]). xxiii and 277 pages; paradigms and supplement on Semitic scripts by translator, bibliography, index of authors. Translation, with updated bibliography, of Einführung in die semitischen Sprachen: Sprachproben und Grammatische Skizzen (1928), a work never superseded, in the view of many scholars. Includes an especially interesting appendix on Semitic scripts by Daniels, who is one of the world's leading authorities on scripts around the world. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Do It Yourself Hebrew and Greek: Everybody's Guide to the Language Tools
Edward W. Goodrick (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1980) (ISBN 0-310-41741-4). Multiple pagings; glossary, worksheets and answers to worksheets. KMBseen_MartLuthColl

An Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages: Phonology and Morphology
edited by Sabatino Moscati (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1980) xiii and 185 pages; bibliography. Summary, suitable for beginning college course, of the major phonological and morphological features of the Semitic languages, with bibliography of scholarly literature current to the time of publication. KMBsee_ChinaEvSem

A Basic Grammar of the Ugaritic Language: With Selected Texts and Glossary
Stanislav Segert (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984) (ISBN 0-520-03999-8). xxvi and 213 pages. Overview of Ugaritic, which assumes previous study of Semitic languages and which presents most texts in transcription. KMBsee_MNU

B'Yad Halashon
Reuven Yalon (St. Paul, Minnesota: EMC Corporation, 1986). 241 pages, paginated as Hebrew books are paginated. A textbook of Modern Hebrew, a rather different language from Biblical Hebrew. KMBseen_MNU

Editions of the Bible in the Original Languages

New Testament Greek Manuscripts: Variant Readings Arranged in Horizontal Lines against Codex Vaticanus
edited by Reuben J. Swanson (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995) (ISBN 1-85075-772-0). xx and 304 pages. KMBseen_MartLuthColl

Books on the Textual Tradition of the Bible

The Text of the New Testament
Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, translated from the German by Errol F. Rhodes (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans; Leiden: E. J. Brill, second edition revised and enlarged 1989) (ISBN 0-8028-3662-3 [Eerdmans]; 90-04-08367-7 [Brill]). xviii and 366 pages; translator's prefaces, indexes, pull-out chart of New Testament manuscripts; illustrated by photographs of manuscripts and printed editions. Definitive textbook of New Testament textual criticism in English, a translation of the authors' Der Text des Neuen Testaments. The Alands' writings on New Testament text criticism are the most authoritative because they have taken the time and effort over decades to become thoroughly familiar with the Greek manuscripts and the ancient translations (versions) of the Bible. The Text of the New Testament is an excellent teaching tool with discussion of historical fallacies in text criticism and practice exercises on challenging passages. This is the one book no one interested in the original text of the New Testament should miss. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament
Philip Wesley Comfort (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992) (ISBN 0-8010-2566-4). 200 pages; select bibliography, indexes; illustrated by photographs of papyrus manuscripts. Popular account of New Testament textual criticism by a scholar who places special importance on the readings of the papyri discovered in Egypt for determining the original text of the New Testament. I think Kurt and Barbara Aland's writings on this subject continue to be the definitive treatments on New Testament text criticism, but Comfort's writings mention interesting historical considerations as Comfort sifts the evidence. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (trgwm hshb`ym kkly `zr bmtqr hmqr')
Emanuel Tov (Jerusalem: Simor, 1997) (ISBN 965-242-008-9). (Jerusalem Biblical Studies No. 8). xxxv and 289 pages; indexes; Hebrew title page and table of contents. Update of the author's conclusions in his indispensable Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible[link to lower place on same page]. An especially thorough discussion of what the Septuagint can tell us about the early text of the Hebrew Scriptures. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Emanuel Tov (Minneapolis: Fortress Press; Assen: Van Gorcum, 1992) (ISBN 0-8006-2687-7 [Fortress]; 90-232-2712-3 [Van Gorcum]). xl and 546 pages; illustrated with photographic reproductions of manuscripts, indexes. Thorough overview of text-critical issues related to the Hebrew Scriptures, with citations to the works of many other scholars. A model of clarity in description of specific textual issues, with a wealth of examples that challenge the reader to rethink typical canons of textual criticism. Includes useful photographs of ancient manuscripts in Classical Hebrew and other languages, and an especially useful index of Bible passages for which ancient sources are discussed in the text of this book. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Biblia Hebraica
Ernst Würthwein, translated by Erroll F. Rhodes (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995) (ISBN 0-8028-0788-7). xiv and 293 pages; illustrated with photographic reproductions of manuscripts, bibliography, indexes. Interesting overview of text-critical issues related to the Hebrew Scriptures, a good starting point for people interested in textual scholarship. Includes fascinating photographs of ancient manuscripts in Classical Hebrew and other languages. KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah
Israel Yeivin, translated and edited by E. J. Revell (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press for The Society of Biblical Literature and The International Organization for Masoretic Studies, 1980) (ISBN 0-89130-373-1; 0-89130-374-X [pbk.]). (Society of Biblical Literature Masoretic Studies series No. 5). x and 324 pages; translator's preface, bibliography, index. Interesting translation of a standard Israeli textbook on the Tiberian system of accents and masoretic notes by a leading Western scholar of text transmission of the Hebrew Bible. Useful discussion of manuscript differences (sometimes written only in consonantal text). KMBseen_ChinaEvSem

[Last revision 9 March 2013]

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