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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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From the Foreword to the First Edition


This grammar is a textbook. This does not mean that one can use it for teaching Hebrew continuously from § 1 to § 54 or that it should in general be regarded as the sole object of instruction. It only means, on the one hand, that the presentation strives for less than completeness, on the other hand, it is intent on the greatest possible comprehensibility and clarity. …

As a textbook, the grammar is oriented toward that which the learner brings to grammatical insight in order to be able to understand Hebrew texts. … The one who would understand a word form or a syntactical construction in a text asks not about the regularity of the linguistic historical development of sound. That one must know the relatively few formal and syntactical features which help with understanding, and he has consulted the grammar about them. In its structure, the grammar attempts to comply with this direction of question. To a large extent, linguistic historical discussions are avoided or relegated to the footnotes.

Because the goal of Hebrew instruction is not the active mastery of the Hebrew language, all rules can lapse that are necessary for a back translation from German into Hebrew, thus for all instructions concerning the independent formation of verb forms and nominal forms. For that reason, this grammar also contains no complete conjugation-tables, because the information in the text and the special tables in the individual paragraphs of the grammar are enough for the analysis of...

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