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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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25 The Forms of the Preformative Conjugation


25.1 Use

The forms of the preformative conjugation (PC) are the most frequent in the text of the Hebrew Bible (ratio of PC to AC 3:2). The imperfect and the narrative tense imperfect consecutive (Narrativ → § 25.4) are built on the forms of the preformative conjugation. In German, we translate the imperfect most of the time with the present, the imperfect consecutive most of the time with preterit (further → § 48).

25.2 Formation


The personal forms are differentiated through prefixes (preformatives), a few additionally through suffixes (afformatives). The afformatives and the consonants of the preformatives are the same in all stems.

Verb forms are cited in the following order: 3rd—2nd—1st, because the form of the 3rd person is the simplest.1


Preformatives are the consonants:

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