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Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew, 2nd Edition

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"A tremendous boon to teachers of biblical Hebrew. . . . This is a remarkably valuable aid that instructors will benefit both from reading and from making available to their students."--Frederick E. Greenspahn, Religious Studies Review
In this revised edition of a proven resource, a recognized expert in biblical Hebrew provides a readable, linguistically savvy guide to navigating basic grammatical concepts. Designed to complement any standard Hebrew grammar, the book revisits English grammar in order to teach concepts that are especially relevant to Hebrew. Each chapter focuses on an individual concept, first explaining how it works in English, then illustrating it in biblical Hebrew. Abundant English and Hebrew examples illustrate each concept, most of them visually analyzed. The book's clear design and attractive layout will appeal to visual learners.
Part 1: Foundations
Linguistic Hierarchies
Sound Production
Part 2: Building Blocks
Tense and Aspect
Imperative/Second-Person Volition
Part 3: The Clause and Beyond
Semantics: Processes, Roles, and Circumstances
Discourse Analysis


"Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew has long been my go-to resource for both undergraduate and graduate students who want to see how the grammar of Hebrew compares to English. Dr. Long does not err by explaining Hebrew in light of English; rather, he skillfully compares the two languages, all the while maintaining and explaining their distinct properties. His work provides a truly helpful conceptual bridge between the two different grammatical systems. All Hebrew teachers should have this volume close at hand for easy reference to students; most teachers should assign it as a supplemental textbook."

Robert Holmstedt, associate professor of Near and Middle Eastern civilizations, University of Toronto

Praise for the First Edition

"In the real world of language pedagogy, where students' knowledge of English grammar is patchy at best, this volume is a crucial counterpart to textbooks of biblical Hebrew. Lucid and accessible explanations of grammatical concepts and terms provide students with the framework they need to understand language structures. Armed with this deeper appreciation of English grammar, students will be better prepared to think about the structures of biblical Hebrew."

Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé, University of the Free State, South Africa

The Author

  1. Gary A. Long

    Gary A. Long

    Gary A. Long (PhD, University of Chicago) is professor of biblical and theological studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is also the author of Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Greek.

    Continue reading about Gary A. Long


"The second edition is expanded in various areas . . . and updated to include ideas and references to works that have appeared since [the first edition was published]. The book includes more than one might expect of a work that has as its purpose to introduce concepts of grammar to 'a learner who has had little or no formal study of grammar.'. . . The book is logically arranged and is both broader in scope (including translation theory and discourse analysis) and more complete in its discussions of grammatical categories than most teaching grammars. . . . This book is not a substitute for a teaching grammar, since it assumes knowledge of morphology. It does, however, make an excellent supplement and reference work for those who are mystified by the terminology in their teaching grammar or who want to know more about any of these topics. I recommend it as at least a supplemental text for any first-year Biblical Hebrew course."

Perry J. Oakes,

Review of Biblical Literature

"Long guides students through Hebrew's significantly different and unfamiliar grammatical system with careful comparisons and distinctions vis-á-vis how English grammar expresses similar concepts."

Old Testament Abstracts

"Gary Long's revised and updated edition . . . is a welcome resource for both students and instructors of Biblical Hebrew. . . . Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew is well-written, clear, and helpful. Most students beginning their study of Biblical Hebrew would benefit greatly from using it as a companion volume to their beginning grammar. Overall, Long demonstrates exemplary skill in providing an appropriate amount of theoretical information to equip beginning students to interact intelligently with the biblical text as well as secondary literature related to Biblical Hebrew."

Stephen M. Coleman,

Bulletin for Biblical Research

"[This book] was originally written to serve as an accessible overview of basic grammatical concepts in both English and Hebrew for introductory level students. The well received volume served to complement traditional Hebrew grammars by providing a resource for students to review basic definitions and grammatical concepts as they appear in English and Hebrew. . . . The second edition [is] complete with updates, minor corrections, and helpful expansions. . . . In order to improve the volume's function as a desk reference to supplement more traditional Hebrew grammars, Long has expanded his use of in-text cross references and provided an additional concise table of contents. . . . Long's second edition of Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew once again serves as a helpful reference for first year students."

Nicholas R. Werse,

Review & Expositor

"This [book] should automatically go onto every single list of essential texts for beginners in biblical Hebrew. The advice and explanations are excellent, not eschewing the use of technical terminology but defining everything carefully. . . . I wish I'd had a copy of this when I was learning the language myself."

John G. F. Wilks,

Evangelical Quarterly

Praise for the First Edition

"It is a sad commentary on the state of American education that a book like this would be considered valuable, much less necessary, for studying a foreign language; but its availability will be a tremendous boon to teachers of biblical Hebrew. . . . This is a remarkably valuable aid that instructors will benefit both from reading and from making available to their students."

Frederick E. Greenspahn,

Religious Studies Review

"Those involved with teaching Hebrew have of necessity already been doing what Gary Long has done. However, he has systematized, clarified, and facilitated the process and has thus rendered a great service to Hebrew language students and instructors everywhere."

Michael Williams,

Calvin Theological Journal

"Long has done an admirable job bringing together readable discussions of what are sometimes difficult-to-comprehend grammatical concepts. . . . I found Long's work to be an insightful and well-presented introduction to basic (and advanced) grammatical concepts. . . . I would recommend this work for students who have completed introductory Classical Hebrew and desire more background in topics such as tense and aspect, semantics and discourse analysis, before delving into the world of Hebrew reference grammars."

Tyler F. Williams,

Toronto Journal of Theology

"The layout of the book is excellent. . . . First-year grammars tend not to cover many of the topics that Long addresses. His presentation is well done and concise so that students can learn to distinguish and label elements that they observe."--Brian L. Webster, Bibliotheca Sacra

Brian L. Webster,

Bibliotheca Sacra

"Following the logic of the Hebrew language and connecting it with English grammar is the strength of this specialized book. This volume is an important counterpart to textbooks of biblical Hebrew for students at college level and up. The explanations are clear and accessible, the grammatical concepts and terms provide students and readers with the framework they need to understand language structures. The review of English grammar which may have been forgotten or never learned supplements teaching grammar to understand biblical Hebrew."

Nomi Levy,

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

"Intended as a supplement to standard Hebrew grammars, the book uses concepts in English to explain aspects of Hebrew. . . . Basing the explanation of Hebrew on comparable elements for English, pointing out the similarities and differences, is a very helpful way of enhancing the study of this significantly different language."

Dianne Bergant, CSA,

The Bible Today

"This study book wisely explains grammatical concepts first in English and then in Hebrew."

International Review of Biblical Studies

"This book is designed to complement standard teaching and reference grammars by simply explaining and illustrating basic grammatical concepts that are often unfamiliar to the beginning student in Hebrew. Many a first year theological student brushed-up (or learned for the first time!) his English grammar from the introductory chapter in John Wenham's Elements of New Testament Greek, and the present volume offers the same and more for the student of Hebrew. . . . The usefulness of the volume is enhanced by a comprehensive index of topics and a carefully itemized table of contents that together provide the student with ready access to the topics and terms treated, and I imagine that this is how Long's volume will be used by most students, namely to look up a concept or term that puzzles them."

Greg Goswell,

Reformed Theological Review

"This book is well laid out and has helpful headers making the navigation process much easier. There is also a good index of topics. Difficult concepts are explained well and illustrated with helpful diagrams. The author gives some very helpful tips to the student. . . . I welcome this book for instructors of Hebrew. It will help in teaching Hebrew concepts through consideration of English grammar. Learning to read a language is not easy, and learning more about the grammar of one's own language seems an important and logical step in gaining competency in second language reading."

Mark Bredin,


"The book under review is designed to teach the rudiments of biblical Hebrew via contrastive analysis with English. This strategy is a good one because many of today's students have little or no background in the study of English grammar. . . . This publication is a welcome addition to the insatiable biblical Hebrew pedagogical market in that so many of today's college students are so ill-prepared to deal with the grammatical intricacies of any language, whether they are native speakers of it or not."

Alan S. Kaye,

Journal of the American Oriental Society

"Perhaps the greatest value of this book is that it explains English grammar first. Because most American students learn Hebrew through the syntactical grid of English, a faulty understanding of English grammar means difficulty comprehending Hebrew grammar. Long first describes how a particular feature of grammar works in English, illustrating it with short sentences, charts, or tables and then describes how the same grammatical concept works in Hebrew. He illustrates the Hebrew explanations with Hebrew examples that include interlinear style translations printed below the Hebrew text. The concepts are often presented graphically with callouts and arrows used to identify the parts of the sentence under discussion. . . . Hebrew students who would not normally consult an English grammar may be more inclined to use Long's book because it was written with them in mind. This text actually illustrates the fact that understanding English grammar can help students learn Hebrew more easily!"

Steven H. Sanchez,

Ashland Theological Journal

"For students of biblical Hebrew who need some assistance in understanding biblical Hebrew grammatical concepts, you'll find [this book] to be of tremendous help. Along the way you also reap the added bonus of gaining a firmer grasp of English grammar. The book was designed specifically to meet the needs of students new to the study of biblical Hebrew and who do not have a firm grasp of English grammar. . . . Throughout, Long provides a clear and concise overview of the basics of biblical Hebrew grammar, and he provides step-by-step instruction that serves to provide you with a solid foundation upon which to build your understanding and knowledge of biblical Hebrew. . . . Whether studying biblical Hebrew on your own or in a formal setting, you'll find Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew to be a worthwhile study aid for high school, college, and independent learners, as well as for anyone seeking a basic understanding of biblical Hebrew grammatical concepts."

Simone Bonim,

The Jewish Eye

"The book is easy to read with plentiful and clear illustrations in both English and Hebrew. . . . An interesting read and a good basic guide to grammatical concepts."

S. A. Groom,

Society for Old Testament Study Booklist

"There is much in the book that should be helpful to that whole generation of students . . . who in recent times completed their schooling with little or no formal teaching of English grammar, or the grammar of any other language for that matter."

D. M. Stec,

Vetus Testamentum

"Way back when, we used to say that we first understood the structure of English when we took high school Latin. This book turns that epigram on its head and uses analysis of English expressions to help beginning Hebrew students understand direct objects, nominal sentences, verb tenses, etc. The book is laid out well, and the graphics are both pleasing and clarifying."

Ralph W. Klein,

Currents in Theology and Mission

"A tool that every student of biblical Hebrew should keep close at hand. This reviewer intends to require it for second and third semester Hebrew courses. Grammatically challenged students and their teachers will find it a godsend."

William D. Barrick,

Master's Seminary Journal