Course Biblical Hebrew – Level B
Be closer than ever to the holy scriptures as they were originally written and take a closer look at the true meaning behind each word and biblical story.
: 2 hrs
: 9 Months
: This course is worth 3 credits at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Ohad Cohen
Ohad Cohen, Ph.D
Biblical Hebrew, Academic Program Developer
A Few Words About Me:
Dr. Ohad Cohen was a linguistics researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and he is now a Faculty Member at the Department of Hebrew Language, University of Haifa . Dr. Cohen has been awarded various research grants and prizes, among them the Warburg Foundation Award and the Research Center for the Hebrew Language Eliezer Ben Yehudah Award. Ohad has received several honors for excellence in teaching and lecturing about a wide range of topics, including Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic and the verbal tense system of Biblical Hebrew. Dr. Ohad Cohen’s passion for the Hebrew language and his commitment to quality are some of the main driving forces behind our Classical Hebrew program at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies.
Dr. Ohad Cohen started his career at the Department of Hebrew Language in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His M.A. degree thesis deals with the ’’Studies in Verbal Tense System in the Book of Esther’. Today, Dr. Ohad Cohen holds a Ph.D degree from the Department of the Hebrew Language in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (PhD Entitled: The Verbal Tense System in Late Biblical Hebrew Prose).
His post-doctoral research was held in fellowship with the Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC). The research and teachings of Dr. Ohad Cohen are primarily concerned with philology of the Bible, incorporating insights that relate to history, geography, and philology.
Dr. Ohad Cohen is a published author, an educator and a professor at the Department of Hebrew Language in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He teaches Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic and Hebrew Phonetics. Dr. Ohad Cohen has also taught seminar classes about the Biblical Hebrew Verbal Tense System in the Department of Bible studies at the Hebrew University. Other than his research and teaching work, he also specializes in academic education. Dr. Ohad Cohen has taught classes of academic composition and worked as an instructor at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership and Academic Composition. He also served as the Coordinator for the Curriculum and Teacher’s Instruction in the Academic Composition Program for Freshmen at the department of Humanities in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
This course focuses on reading the Hebrew Bible in its original language by building a strong foundation that will allow students to greatly improve their Biblical Hebrew skills.
Welcome to Course B! In this lesson, we’ll read selections from the first chapter of Jonah and use these verses to help us review some of the important material from Course A. In addition to grammatical topics like construct chains, the definite article, verbs, etc., we’ll also discuss the geographical, cultural and historical background of this story.
In this lesson we’ll continue reading and discussing the book of Jonah. In addition to reviewing important grammatical topics such as pronominal suffixes, Hebrew word structure, etc., we’ll
also learn something new about the Hebrew preposition ןמִ “from.” In our discussion about the cultural and historical background of the text, we’ll look at some aspects of Hebrew poetry.
Jonah in Nineveh
In this lesson, we’ll continue our reading in the book of Jonah and see how the people of Nineveh respond to God’s warning. We’ll also discuss how (and why!) the writer of Jonah connects this story to various other biblical texts. During our reading, we’ll review some important Hebrew vocabulary related to things like kingdoms, body parts, animal groups, etc.
East of Nineveh
In this lesson, we’ll finish reading the book of Jonah and see how and why the author’s language here echoes other verses from this book. We’ll also spend some time reviewing important concepts about Hebrew nouns and adjectives, using examples from Jonah 4. In addition to our discussion of the grammar, we’ll learn about some Hebrew concepts of the natural world.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about the form of the Hebrew participle. We’ll also read some biblical texts to see how the participle can be used either as a noun, an adjective, or a verb. We will focus the second half of our discussion on how the participle functions within the relative verbal system of Hebrew.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about the form of the Hebrew imperative. We’ll also examine some biblical texts to see how the imperative can express the will of the speaker in different ways: direct command, request, permission, etc.
The Birth of Moses
In this lesson, we’ll read selections from the story of Moses’ birth and discuss some of the cultural and historical background of this text. We’ll also use these verses to review various grammatical topics, especially the participle and the imperative.
The Infinitive Construct
In this lesson, we’ll learn about a nominal verb form called the “infinitive construct.” We’ll explore different ways in which this form can be combined with prepositions and suffixes. Throughout the lesson, we’ll also read texts about Abraham, Jehoshaphat, and other biblical characters to see how the infinitive construct is used in biblical Hebrew.
The Infinitive Absolute
In this lesson, we’ll discuss the “absolute” form of the Hebrew infinitive. We’ll learn what this form looks like and how it is different from the infinitive construct. We’ll also explore some of the most common uses of the infinitive absolute in Hebrew, examining texts from all three major groups of biblical literature: the Torah, the Writings, and the Prophets.
Joseph and His Brothers
In this lesson, we’ll begin reading the story of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers in Egypt. We’ll discuss Judah’s rhetorical skills and how he uses all the tools of “polite Hebrew” to make Joseph listen favorably to his speech. We’ll also learn how Hebrew gives an immediate prohibition (“don’t do!”) and how it expresses the concept “to have.”
Pronominal Suffixes with Plural Nouns
In this lesson, we’ll review the pronominal suffixes we talked about in Course A and learn what these suffixes look like when they are attached to plural nouns. While we read biblical texts to see examples of these suffixes in action, we’ll discover that they can also appear on prepositions.
Object Suffixes for Verbs
In this lesson, we’ll learn that if a pronoun is the direct object of a verb, it can be attached to that verb as a suffix. We’ll learn what these object suffixes look like and see examples of how they are used in the biblical text. We’ll also look at how they compare to other types of suffixes we have learned in previous lessons.
Joseph Reveals Himself
In this lesson, we will continue our discussion of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers in Egypt. We’ll encounter a special form of the Qatal verb in our reading and see how various prepositions take different forms of the pronominal suffixes. We’ll also discuss some new Hebrew idioms and see how the author’s cultural perspective affects his view of geography.
Binyanim: The Hebrew Verbal System
In this lesson, we’ll give a general orientation to how the Hebrew verbal system is structured. We’ll learn that just like with nouns, each Hebrew verb is made up of both a root and a pattern that help us to understand its meaning. We’ll discuss the relationship between the different Hebrew verb patterns (the binyanim) that we will meet in our upcoming lessons.
The Piel Verb
In this lesson, we will focus on the Piel binyan, the active member of the doubled stem. We will learn what the Piel verb looks like in the different conjugations (Qatal, imperative, etc.) we have already learned in the Qal binyan. During our discussion, we will read several verses from the book of Genesis so that we can see the Piel verb in action.
The Pual Verb
In this lesson, we will focus on the Pual binyan, the passive member of the doubled stem. We will learn what the Pual verb looks like in its different conjugations (Qatal, Yiqtol, etc.). By taking a look at the stories of Job and Samson, we will also be able to compare the forms of the Pual verb with the forms of the Qal and Piel binyanim.
In this lesson, we will begin reading the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38. We will discuss the cultural context of this narrative and explore its connections with the story of Ruth. As we read, we will review previous material like the object suffixes and the Piel and Pual binyanim. We will also learn how guttural letters can affect the form of Piel and Pual verbs.
The Nifal Verb
In this lesson, we will focus on the Nifal binyan, the stem that is characterized by a prefixed letter נ. We will learn what the Nifal verb looks like in each of its different conjugations (Qatal, imperative, etc.). In our class exercises and in the biblical verses that we will read, we will see how the Nifal can express a passive, reciprocal, or reflexive voice.
The Hitpael Verb
In this lesson, we will learn about the Hitpael binyan, which is the third member of the doubled verb group. We will discuss its two primary voices, reflexive and reciprocal, and look at how this verb appears in its various conjugations. We will also examine several examples of this verb in the stories of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaiah.
Judah and Tama
In this lesson, we will continue reading the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38, and we will discuss how the writer purposefully chooses his words in this narrative. We will find examples of each of the binyanim we have learned up to this point, and we will discover that we can recognize these binyanim even when unusual letters like gutturals change their form slightly.
The Hifil Verb
In this lesson, we return to our discussion of the Hebrew verbal system and learn about the Hifil verb, the activ causative binyan. While we learn about the unique morphology of this verb, we will also compare this form to the previous binyanim we have learned. Finally, we will read some examples of Hifil verbs in the biblical text and see how much we are now able to translate!
The Hufal Verb
In this lesson, we will finish our discussion of the Hebrew binyanim by learning about the morphology and voices of the Hufal binyan, the passive member of the causative verb group. As we read biblical texts to find examples of the Hufal verb form, we will also be able to contrast this verb with its active counterpart, Hifil, and with the other binyanim we have learned.
In this lesson we will continue the story of Judah and Tamar. We will find examples in the text of the different verbs we have learned, and we will review the characteristics of all seven Hebrew binyanim. We will also discuss some peculiarities of the Hebrew language: Is the same root always used with the same meaning? Can the Hifil binyan have a passive that is not Hufal?
While we finish reading the story of Judah and Tamar in this lesson, we will encounter the participle in several unfamiliar forms. We will discover what the participle looks like in each one of the new binyanim we have learned. Returning to the final verses of Genesis 38, we will also examine how the characters and motifs here fit into the broader story from Abraham to David.
What do Hebrew adverbs look like? In this lesson, we will learn about some different ways in which adverbs are formed in the Hebrew language. We will find examples in the biblical text of each type of adverb. Our examples will include some verses that we read in Course A, but now have the Hebrew understanding to translate more completely!
David, Nabal & Abigail
In this lesson we will read and discuss the story of David, Nabal and Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. Wordplay, characterization and skillful rhetoric are a few of the literary techniques we see the writer use here. During our discussion, we’ll review some of the verb forms we have studied up to this point. We’ll also learn how Hebrew turns the Qal participle into a passive verb.
In this lesson we will learn how to understand “relative clauses,” phrases that describe a noun just like an adjective does. We will compare the Hebrew syntax to English in order to see how best to translate these phrases. We will also find examples of the two Hebrew relative particles in different genres of the biblical text and examine how they are used in various contexts.
The Dual Form & Numbers
In this lesson, we will learn what Hebrew numbers look like in both the masculine and feminine genders. We will also discover that Hebrew has a special suffix to mark nouns that come in pairs, and we will explore some different situations in which this “dual form” appears. As usual, we will look into the biblical text for examples.
Creation & Pronominal Suffixes
In this lesson, we’ll read and discuss the creation story in Genesis 1-2, specifically the verses about the creation of the woman. We’ll hear some of the Jewish midrashim on this text and see how they interact with the Hebrew here. As we read, we’ll encounter several different kinds of pronominal suffixes, and we’ll learn what these suffixes look like on feminine plural nouns.
Where We’ve Been
See how far we have come! In this meeting, we’ll begin by reading a few verses (without translation) about the patriarch Isaac. We’ll focus in on some verb forms and other grammatical subjects we find here and remind ourselves what we’ve learned this semester. Then we’ll return to the verses and see how much we can translate with all the Hebrew knowledge we now have.
This Course is Fully Acknowledged by the Hebrew University
Israel Institute of Biblical Studies
- Get full academic credit for this course from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Valid in any academic institution that acknowledges credit from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Receive an official Israel Institute of Biblical Studies certificate upon completing this course
Our StoryFor centuries, the Holy Bible has been a source of inspiration for people all over the world. It is the most widely distributed book today. The Bible is a part of our modern world and has influenced the foundations of Western culture. The Israel Institute of Biblical Studies aims to make the Bible accessible to people around the world. Through biblical study and language courses students connect with teachers in the Holy Land to learn the original languages of the Old and New Testaments. This allows them to interpret the holy texts themselves, while discovering the ancient land of the Bible where the stories took place.