[b-hebrew] Recommend Dictionary and a Question

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Dec 10 13:37:57 EST 2008


Like George said, BDB has long been a scholarly standard. I have found it
usable, but of questionable accuracy at times. And it's inexpensive.

George, Bryant and Dave:
The questions that Mary brought up indicates that she is a newbe in Hebrew.
There is nothing wrong with that, we were all there at one time. She is to
be encouraged, as she is trying to do this as self-study, a tough row to

With self-study, one does not have the companionship of teachers and fellow
students to catch all the times one does not understand which source each
form has, and when we have made mistakes. This is why I recommend an
analytical lexicon. The analytical lexicon will also help her learn the

Which brings up her second question: which is a good grammar to use to learn
Hebrew grammar in self-study? I don't know of any, do you?

After she has read the Tanakh through cover to cover two or three times,
then the dictionaries you recommend come into their own. Then she will have
enough experience conjugating words that she will no longer need the
analytical lexicon. But expecting her to be able to use these scholarly
dictionaries right off the bat is like asking someone to jump into the deep
end of the pool without first learning how to swim; only the most
exceptional will not get so frustrated as to stop the effort. (Even most of
those who graduated from seminaries give up after a few years, in spite of
having taken Hebrew classes.) Therefore, encourage as much handholding as
she needs, until she is ready to go off on her own.

She should not expect to be a scholar after the first time reading Tanakh
through, nor even after the second or third time. But after a while, after
several cover to cover readings of Tanakh, she should get there.

Just my 2¢ based on my own experience.

Karl W. Randolph.

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