Resources for Hebrew Students

Well, in keeping with the spirit of a new school year starting that permeates the biblioblogosphere at this time of year (I’m not even going to attempt to link to a sampling of posts), I thought I’d add a comment on Stephen Cook’s list of books for 2nd year Hebrew students (HT: Charles Halton).

First, I think Dr. Cook’s list is really excellent for students who are just getting out of first year Hebrew. He covers all the important bases. I’d also heartily echo his declaration that An Index to Brown, Driver, and Briggs as well as The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon ought to be used only as a last resort. In fact, I’d recommend not using them at all and instead going to a friend who has studied more Hebrew than you and who is also willing to walk you through things a time or two.

I’m also happy to see he included the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (DCH). I fell in love with the approach that DCH takes as I was working on a project over the summer. I heartily recommend it, my only regret is that it is not yet complete.

As far as guides go, I’d personally recommend Bill Arnold’s over Williams’ Hebrew Syntax. Arnold’s has more pleasing dimensions (it fits nicely in your hand), and is, in my opinion, overall the better help for intermediate students. Even the update to Williams’ by Beckman, while making it far less cumbersome, doesn’t do all it could to make Williams’ as useful as Arnold.

I also have to agree with Charles Halton’s comments (linked above) regarding the Waltke-O’Connor grammar. I only wish that a better grammar could be laid out in a more aesthetically pleasing way, as I find most Hebrew Grammars to lack a certain aesthetic appeal.

Regardless of my own preferences, if you’re a second year Hebrew student this year (or even if you’ve simply completed first year Hebrew without any intent of further study), taking a look at Stephen Cook’s list of resources is certainly worth five minutes of your time.


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