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Beginning Biblical Hebrew
by Mark D. Futato
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Fifth printing 2016
Achieving the right balance of amount of information, style of presentation, and depth of instruction in first-year grammars is no easy task. But Mark Futato has produced a grammar that, after years of testing in a number of institutions, will please many, with its concise, clear, and well-thought-out presentation of Biblical Hebrew. Because the teaching of biblical languages is in decline in many seminaries and universities, Futato takes pains to measure the amount of information presented in each chapter in a way that makes the quantity digestible, without sacrificing information that is important to retain. The book includes exercises that are drawn largely from the Hebrew Bible itself.
2nd corrected printing, 2005. In the second printing, a number of typographical corrections have been made, other minor improvements have been implemented, and an index of topics has been added. The corrections lists and index are available as free PDF downloads: corrections list [PDF, 68k] and index [PDF, 64k] .
"I have used Mark Futato's grammar in pre-publication form for the last four years at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson). It is an excellent grammar. It is simple, straightforward, and is self-explanatory. As a teacher of Hebrew, I have found it to be the best tool available to introduce students to the language. Many of our students have learned Hebrew well, and quite a few of them have gone on to further study in the language. I believe Futato's grammar has played an important role in that regard -- students are not intimidated by Hebrew when they learn from this grammar." John D. Currid, Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson)
Publication date: 2003
Bibliographic info: xi + 356 pages
Trim Size: 8.5 x 11
"I am using your Hebrew grammar: Beginning Biblical Hebrew Futato as a Hebrew grammar for the first time this semester. The results of the first exam provided a pleasant surprise. They were superior to anything I have seen in a dozen years of teaching this language. I have used a number of different grammars, including Lambdin, Seow, and Pratico & VanPelt. But, I am very pleased with the pedagogy and format of the Futato grammar. It makes learning Hebrew more interesting for students, and simplifies my work as a teacher. The book does more of the teaching and my role takes on more that of a facilitator." --Dr. Steven Horine, Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in an unsolicited letter (used by permission).
"The methodological advancement this grammar makes in communicating the content of Biblical Hebrew grammar to the newcomer places it among the best of teaching grammars on the market today." -- Bernon Lee, Grace College in Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. 4 5 (2004-2005).
"Mark D. Futato's new Hebrew grammar is a simple, thoughtful, and straightforward work that reflects genuine empathy for the beginning Hebrew student. The agenda of the book is to provide the fundamentals of the language unencumbered by information that may fog the road toward basic Hebrew competency.
Futato's tenure in the classroom and interface with Hebrew novices prove to be an asset to Beginning Biblical Hebrew. The grammar's strength is Futato's keen pedagogical sensitivity reflected at various points in its appearance and presentation of the language. Futato chooses to impart his expertise in a larger book using larger type, even in the English sections of the book. This provides a positive and welcoming effect for the beginner and helps prevent the student from becoming overwhelmed with the data on a page. His student-centered approach is detected no later than in the introduction of the Hebrew alphabet, where the characters are displayed not only in typed form but also in handwritten style with detailed instructions as to how to fashion the letters. He also uses unique ways of getting the student to adjust to reading right to left and uniquely capitalizes upon the student's familiarity with English to grow comfortable in the pronunciation of foreign letters and words.
Futato's goals and objectives listed in the introduction demonstrate a realistic vision for the beginning student.s anticipated abilities after working through the book. The student.s expectation is set at the right place in order to avoid frustration and disappointment.
...this work does provide in a most exemplary way everything essential for a quality introductory Hebrew grammar. That is why the strengths of Futato.s grammar far outweigh any weaknesses. He offers everything a Hebrew student needs to form a substantial foundation for further Hebrew study while being userfriendly, creative, strategic, and judicious. This combination makes Beginning Biblical Hebrew one of the best Hebrew grammars available to the student and instructor today. Futato's work is commendable and deserves the attention of those who are serious about
teaching or learning biblical Hebrew." -- Steven D. Mason, University of St. Andrews in Review of Biblical Literature, June 2004.
"As part of a growing number of grammars focused on assisting the beginning student of Biblical Hebrew, F.'s introduction provides a fine addition. Although the size is rather cumbersome, it allows for lessons to be set out clearly along with eye-catching charts and inserts. Each lesson is accompanied by a series of exercises, which are designed to deepen the knowledge gained from the current chapter and to test the recognition of earlier material. They challenge a variety of skills and notably deepen the recognition of the Hebrew roots. In addition, the incorporation of biblical sentences and passages in the exercises from the first lesson onward provides the student with immediate application. In terms of structure, the grammar benefits from introducing the qal of the strong verb early. It further benefits from user-friendly features such as the ability to cross-reference vocabulary with published cards, an answer key, an appendix of verbal paradigms, and a glossary." --J. Middlemas, JSOT 28.5 (2004)
"Futato's simple technique steers students steadily but gently through the morphological building blocks of the language and introduces them to important elements of syntax in a non-threatening way.
Futato treats the Qal stem of strong and weak verbs before the derived conjugations. This order of material is logical since, in the biblical text, weak verbs in the Qal stem occur more frequently than other types of verbs.
A feature that enhances the practicality of the book is the introduction of biblical text as the very beginning of the grammar (Lesson 1). This positive feature encourages students to access the biblical text early in their study of the Hebrew language.
...In conclusion, Futato's Beginning Biblical Hebrew will surely fine its place in the classrooms of many academic institutions..."--Hél&eagravene Dallaire, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Hebrew Studies, Vol. 45 (2004)
"On the whole, the chapters are brilliantly brief with only essential information that typically does not exceed three pages. BBH's minimal discussion allows coverage of a surprising amount of grammatical topics."
--Andrew J. Schmutzer, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL, in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 47/4
"This work, another introductory textbook of Biblical Hebrew in an
apparently insatiable market, claims to have "an easy-to-learn format"
plus the advantage that "familiarity with English and Hebrew grammatical
terminology is not presumed" (p. ix). It is a well-organized book with
some strengths over its competition, e.g., good use of blue color for
headings and a pleasing look. Other strategic assets include limiting
the vocabulary section of each of the forty chapters to just ten words,
which allows students to master these four hundred items while
simultaneously concentrating on the rudiments of grammar. Moreover,
numerically keying the vocabulary to Raymond B. Dillard's Hebrew
Vocabulary Cards (Springfield, Ohio: Visual Education Association,
1981) is quite beneficial." --Alan S. Kaye, California State University, Fullerton, in JAOS 124.2, 2004
"This new introduction to biblical Hebrew is attractively printed and
carefully constructed for pedagogical purposes. Each chapter presents
a total of ten vocabulary items as well as actual passages from the
Bible, even if these can be used only to identify letter sounds. Exercises
are also carefully focused, with each one addressing a specific topic, and
there is a complete answer key. The lessons themselves cover both
syntactical and grammatical principles." --Frederick E. Greenspahn, Florida Atlantic University, Religious Studies Review, October 2004
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