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Grammar of Biblical Hebrew


Wolfgang Schneider

Although Wolfgang Schneider’s Grammatik des biblischen Hebräisch: Ein Lehrbuch serves primarily as an introductory textbook to biblical Hebrew, it makes an invaluable contribution to the text-linguistic study of Hebrew Bible. Schneider’s understanding of narrative syntax and discourse linguistics continues to influence such grammarians as Niccacci and Talstra, through whom his work is validated. His discussion of clauses and text syntax remains pertinent to Hebrew students and professors alike. With this English translation, Schneider’s work may now make a worldwide contribution to biblical studies by clarifying for the student the contribution of text grammar to the reading of the biblical text.
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01 Consonants


01.1 General Comments

In principle only the consonants are written. Vowel signs have only been invented relatively late (→ § 03).

In print, above all in the Bible, the so-called square script is customary (→ table in § 01.2). In addition, in modern Hebrew, i.e. the “Ivrit,” a cursive script (writing script) is also used (→ table in § 01.2).


The use of Hebrew consonants as signs of numbers (→ table) does not occur in the text of Biblia Hebraica, only in the Masora (→ § 07.3). Compound numbers have the order hundred-tens-ones from right to left, e.g.: יא equals 11; קיא equals 111. Hundreds from 500–900 are denoted through the final consonants ך through ץ or through combination with ת, which equals 400.

In order to avoid the group of letters יה (an abbreviation of the name of God יהוה), וט (9 + 6) is written for the number 15.

01.2 Writing

Writing is done from right to left. In the square script, the individual letters are not connected. A space the size of a square letter appears between two words. There is no word division.

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