Course Biblical Hebrew – Level C
Take your biblical studies to a whole new level by advancing your Biblical Hebrew skills. Study ancient texts in their original languages and learn to interpret them on your own.
: 3 hrs
: 9 Months
Accreditation: This course is worth 3 credits at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
This course places an emphasis on improving reading skills and being more adept at using dictionaries and grammar tools in order to advance your Biblical Hebrew studies.
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.
Welcome to Course C! In our first lesson, we’ll read selections from 1 Samuel 16, the story in which we first meet King David as a boy in his father’s house. We’ll use these verses to help us review some of the important grammatical material from Courses A and B, especially the Hebrew verbal system. We’ll also learn about how a new king was anointed in biblical times.
Choosing a King
In this lesson, we’ll continue our reading in 1 Samuel 16, the story about David being anointed as king. As we read, we’ll encounter more material from Courses A and B, such as the Hebrew number system and the interrogative ה. We’ll also see how the biblical writer chooses his words very carefully in order to connect this story with the surrounding narrative about King Saul.
Saul Meets David
In this lesson we’ll finish reading 1 Samuel 16 and find out how Saul meets David for the first time. We’ll encounter some new adverbs and continue to review how the different binyanim appear in their various conjugations. Do you know what the names “Saul” and “Jesse” mean?
In this lesson, we will begin our discussion of “weak verbs” in Hebrew and learn how we name these different verb groups. The first type of weak verb group we will study is the נ''פ “Peh-Nun” verb group, the one in which the letter נ is the first root letter of the verb. We will look through the biblical text to see what this verb looks like in the conjugations of the Qal binyan.
נ''פ Verbs, con’t
Now that we have learned what the נ''פ “Peh-Nun” verb group looks like in the Qal binyan, we will examine its form in the other binyanim. Can you guess which binyanim would allow the letter נ to assimilate if it were the first root letter? As usual, we will look into the biblical text for examples of all these new forms.
Goliath the Philistine
Today we’ll begin to read the famous story of David and Goliath. Who were the Philistines, where did this battle take place, and why did Goliath want to fight with one of the Israelites? While we answer these questions, we’ll also review some verb forms, especially the נ''פ group, and we’ll encounter a new verb group that will look very familiar.
Using the Lexicon
In this lesson, we’ll learn how to use the different Hebrew lexicons so that you can look up any unfamiliar word for yourself. First we’ll return to some earlier material about Hebrew word structure (roots and patterns). Then we’ll see how this knowledge will help us to locate any word in a lexicon. We’ll also get an idea of what information the different lexicons can offer us.
This lesson will focus on the Peh-Guttural Verbs, verbs whose first root letter is a guttural. How might the guttural letters affect the verb form? Where will they have no effect at all? These are some of the questions we will explore. We will also learn that the letter א causes unique changes, most noticeably in a special group of א''פ verbs.
In this lesson we will turn our attention to verbs whose third root letter is a guttural. As we saw previously in the Peh- Guttural verb group, here too we will discover that the guttural א behaves in unique ways. In what situations is the א silent? When it is silent, how will this affect the verb form in different binyanim?
David and Goliath
In this lesson we’ll continue our reading of the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. We begin where the narrative turns from Goliath at the battlefield to Jesse and his son David in Bethlehem. As we read, we’ll review the material from our previous lessons and discuss the geographic and cultural context in which this story takes place.
In this lesson, we will learn about verbs whose third root letter was originally י. In what conjugations does this י still appear, and is it used like a regular consonant or as a vowel? In what conjugations does the י not appear, and how does this affect the form of the verb? This week we will answer these questions for the basic formsof the Qal binyan.
י''ל Verbs, con’t
In this lesson we will continue our discussion of י''ל verbs, completing the picture of this weak verb group for the Qal binyan. As we do so, we will discover why the Wayyiqtol form of these verbs is especially noteworthy. Finally, we will turn our attention to the other binyanim and see how the י''ל roots are treated in each one.
David and Goliath, con’t
This lesson brings us to the climax of the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17), as we discover the outcome of their battle. As we read, we’ll continue to review the verb groups from the previous lessons, and we’ll learn how the special root ח''קל fits into this picture.
In this lesson we’ll see what happens in the Qal binyan with verbs whose first root letter is י. In what conjugations do these roots behave like the strong verb, and in what conjugations do they do something different? Are there different kinds of י''פ verbs? These are the questions we’ll answer as we study these verbs and find examples in the biblical text.
י''פ Verbs, con’t
Now that we’ve seen what the י''פ verbs look like in the Qal binyan, we’ll turn our attention to the other binyanim. In which three binyanim do these verbs behave like the strong verbs, and in which three do they do something unique? We’ll look at examples from different parts of the biblical text as we learn what happens to the letter י in these conjugations.
David & Saul
In this lesson we return to the story of David and Saul and discover what their relationship looks like in the aftermath of David’s victory against Goliath. How does Saul’s family get involved in this relationship, and how might this be reminiscent of another biblical story? As we read, we’ll review some of the weak verbs we’ve learned and see how one special root behaves uniquely.
Accents & Accusations
We continue to meet the weak verb forms we’ve learned as we conclude our reading in the story of David’s escape (1 Samuel 19). In addition, we’ll take our first look at the system of Biblical Hebrew accents, or te’amim, that appear alongside the vowels in printed editions of the text. What roles do these te’amim play, and how will they be helpful for us as readers?
In this lesson we’ll learn about a new group of verbs, those whose second root letter is ו or י. How are these two root types similar to each other, and in what conjugations do they look slightly different? Why don’t verbs with these root letters behave like the strong verbs? These are the questions we’ll answer as we examine the behavior of these verbs in the Qal binyan.
י''וע Verbs, con’t
In this lesson we’ll continue our discussion of the י"וע verbs, completing the picture of how these roots conjugate in the Qal binyan. We’ll see how the Wayyiqtol and infinitive forms relate to the Yiqtol form. We’ll also learn why knowing the location of a verb’s accent is so important for recognizing the conjugation, as we’ll see in some example verses from Genesis.
David and Jonathan
In 1 Samuel 20, we read the story of Jonathan, another child of Saul who sides with David against his father. As we read, we’ll review some of the weak verb forms we’ve encountered in this course. We’ll learn more details about the interrogative המ. Finally, we’ll return to the subject of the te’amim and see how a few of them might affect some word forms.
The Volitive System
In Course B we learned that Hebrew uses the imperative form of the verb when the speaker wants to express his will toward the person to whom he is speaking. But what happens when the speaker wants to express his will about a third person, or even about himself? Hebrew has unique forms for each of these situations, as we’ll learn in this lesson.
David in Gath
In this lesson we return to the story of David and see what happens after he flees from Saul. To where does he escape, and what new problems will he encounter there? As we read, we’ll see a number of י''וע verbs and review those forms in the Qal binyan before we continue to other binyanim in the next lesson. We’ll also discover a special form of the Hitpael verb.
י''וע – Other Binyanim
What happens to י''וע verbs in the doubled binyanim (Piel, Pual, Hitpael), in which the second root letter is supposed to be doubled? What about the H Stem (Hifil, Hufal) – how do the י''וע verbs take a unique form here? These are the questions we’ll answer in this lesson, finding examples in some familiar verses from the biblical text.
י''וע – Nifal & Hifil
In this lesson we’ll continue to fill in the picture of the Hifil verbs in the י''וע verb group. We’ll also see how the Nifal binyan behaves in roots where the second root letter is ו or י. Now that we’ve seen all the important weak verb patterns, we’ll make sure we can distinguish these different forms, looking into verses from various biblical genres for
Before we leave the weak verbs for the remainder of this course, we’ll briefly touch on one last group. What does it mean to say that a verb has an “ayin-ayin” root? To what other weak verb group are some of these forms very similar? As we study these verbs, we’ll explore a few examples from various genres of the biblical text.
Qatal vs. Wayyiqtol
Now that we’ve completed our study of the morphology of Hebrew verb forms, we’ll turn our attention to how the different conjugations are actually used. We’ll review our Course A discussion of the Qatal and Wayyiqtol forms and expand this knowledge by exploring some additional ways in which these forms interact in the biblical text.
In this lesson we’ll return to the story of David and see what happens when Saul resumes his pursuit. In the caves of En Gedi, David gets an unexpected opportunity. What will his men advise, and what will he choose? As we read, we’ll review some weak verb forms and see what happens in one unusual root that combines two weak verb patterns.
Weqatal & Imperatives
We will begin this lesson by returning to our previous discussion of the Weqatal form. What are some characteristics of this verb that will help us to distinguish it from a simple Qatal form with the conjunction? Next we’ll return to the imperative form. Do you remember that we learned two different forms for the masculine singular imperative? Why might Hebrew have two forms here?
Weak Noun Patterns
Now that we’ve learned all about how verb patterns can be affected by certain root letters, we’ll turn our attention back to the nouns. How do these same weak root letters affect the noun patterns? We’ll answer this question by comparing similar root types in nouns and verbs and by exploring some examples in the biblical text.
Where We’ve Been
In our final lesson we’ll pull together all the tools we’ve acquired in this course – knowledge of the weak roots, familiarity with the Hebrew lexicons, etc. – and use them to translate a few verses from a psalm of David. Our examination of these few lines of poetry will set the stage for Course D, in which we’ll turn our attention to the different literary genres of the biblical text.
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.