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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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44 Types of Clauses


44.1 Classification

For grammatical analysis we usually subdivide texts into smaller units, which we call “clauses.” In this grammar it has not been attempted to define what a clause is. We know intuitively what a clause is, and this is sufficient to make grammatically practical statements.


The quoted section of text from Genesis 1 is organized according to the parts of the text that we intuitively take as clauses.1 If for the moment “clauses” i (כִּי־טוֹב) and o (יוֹם אֶחָד) are ignored, then two types can clearly be distinguished: ← 138 | 139 →

A does B

Type 1: All words in the vicinity of a finite verb that can be related to this verb belong to a clause. One such clause makes a statement of the type: “A does B.” Such a clause can be called a “verbal clause.” The boundary between two clauses is the boundary between the catchment area of both verbs.

A is B

The other type of clause consists of two nominals or groups of nominals, which are applied to one another in such a way that a statement occurs of the type “A is B.” At the same time, the place that must be filled in a German clause by a form of the helping verb “sein” is not filled in the Hebrew clause: “A—B.” Such a clause can be called a “nominal clause.” To such a clause belong all words that...

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