- Weekly Hours2 hrs
- Duration9 Months
- AccreditationThis course is worth 3 credits at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
This advanced course focuses on reading biblical poetry, such as the Book of Psalms, prophecies such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, and wisdom literature such as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Participate in discussions about biblical poetry techniques, historical backgrounds, and more.Read More
Dr. Ohad Cohen
Dr. Ohad Cohen was a linguistics researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and he is now a Faculty Member at the Department of Hebrew…
Elijah at the Cherith Wadi
Welcome to Course D! In our first few lessons we’ll begin our study of the biblical genres by examining the narrative prose in the stories of Elijah. As we read our first story in 1 Kings 17 and discuss the historical background of this narrative, we’ll also review some of the weak verb groups we learned in Course C.
Elijah and the Widow
In this lesson we’ll continue the story of Elijah and read about his encounter with the widow at Zarephath. Where is Zarephath, and why is its location important? As we read, we’ll do some more practice with the different verb forms and their uses. We’ll also review some important material about the Hebrew lexicons and how to look up different kinds of words.
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
.Our discussion of Elijah and our review of Course C material brings us in this lesson to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal. Who is Baal, and why is this significant in light of the three-year drought? We will also meet a Ugaritic text for the first time and learn how some of this extra-biblical literature can help us to understand the Hebrew narrative.
Elijah on Mt. Horeb
In this lesson, we’ll conclude our opening discussion of the Elijah narrative. We’ll do some final review of the noun and verb forms we’ve learned in our first three courses, and we’ll continue to develop our translating skills. We’ll also examine some interesting comparisions that the story in 1 Kings 19 draws between Elijah and Moses.
In this lesson we begin our discussion on the genre of biblical poetry. What is poetry in general? What are the major characteristics of biblical poetry in particular? Which biblical texts are considered to be poetic? We’ll answer these questions and look into the Psalms for examples of the most important structural feature of biblical poetry.
Types of Parallelism
Now that we have explored how poetic verses are divided into units, we will turn our attention to the phenomenon of “parallelism.” What is parallelism? In what different ways can two (or more) parts of a verse be parallel to each other? We’ll draw examples from various categories of biblical poetry (religious, wisdom, prophetic, etc.) to illustrate the types of parallelism.
Parallelism: The Linguistic Model
In our previous lesson we discussed the different types of parallelism from a semantic perspective, examining how the meanings of parallel terms can relate to each other. In this lesson we will look at parallelism from a linguistic perspective, examining the syntactic structures and word classes in each parallel unit of the verse.
Now that we have discussed various aspects of biblical poetry, especially parallelism, we will spend some time examining how these are used in a psalm. How are some of these poetic structures used on the level of the entire psalm as well as within the individual verses? What are some additional characteristics of biblical poetry?
As we have seen in the preceding lessons, parallelism is one of the most prominent characteristics of biblical poetry. What are some common pairs of parallel words, and what kinds of relationships do we see between these words? We’ll also look at a text from Ugarit in order to illustrate some common threads between biblical poetry and its wider Canaanite context.
Sound Pairs & Alliteration
Now that we have learned about the semantic and other linguistic ways to describe parallelism and have discussed some common word pairs, we’ll turn our attention to phonetics: How do the biblical writers use sound to create poetry? In what ways can two (or more) words be parallel because of their pronunciation? What is alliteration, and how is it used in biblical poetry?
Song of Songs & ע''ע
In this lesson we meet a different type of poetry as we explore a passage in the Song of Songs. How is this similar to other forms of biblical poetry? How is it similar to prose? In what ways is it distinct from both? As we read, we will also discover a new use for the ללוֹפֵּ verb form.
Unique Syntax of Poetry
In this lesson we turn our discussion away from parallelism and toward some of the unique syntactical features that distinguish biblical poetry from prose. What are the common elements that can be omitted from poetic sentences? What other peculiarities of syntax can be seen in biblical poetry? As always, we will look for examples in a variety of texts.
Language of the Law
In this lesson we begin our study of another genre of biblical literature – the language of the law. We will examine the concepts of law and justice in the biblical text and explore the common roots and words used in these contexts. We will focus specifically on the root ט''פשׁ. What is the original meaning of this root, and how is it used in the field of justice (and elsewhere)?
Casuistic & Apodictic Laws
In this lesson we continue our study of language of the law by examining the two primary categories into which biblical laws are organized: Casuistic Law and Apodictic Law. What are the main features of each type of law, and what kinds of linguistic structures do we see in each? We will find examples in the book of Exodus for both types of law.
Biblical Law: Linguistic Formulas
Now that we have learned about the two basic types of biblical laws, we will discover where the major collections of these laws are located in the biblical text. We will also examine the most common specific linguistic formulas that are used to express each type of law.
Verb Forms In the Law
In this lesson we will focus on the primary verb forms that are used in the language of the law in the biblical text: Yiqtol, Weqatal, and the participle form. What are the characteristics of these forms that make them the natural choice for language of the law? How is the use of these forms in the law texts similar to their common roles in regular narrative prose?
Using the Grammar Books
In this lesson we meet the common Hebrew grammar books, both the student grammars and the reference grammars. What are the differences between these two types of grammar books, and why are they so important for the independent Hebrew reader? As we look at some examples in class, we will learn how to use these grammars to solve difficulties we encounter in the text.
Grammar Books, con’t
In this lesson we continue to practice with the Hebrew reference grammars Joüon-Muraoka and Gesenius, learning how to solve problems by using the table of contents. With the help of these grammar books, we will explore several new points of Hebrew morphology and syntax that we have not discussed before.
Grammar Book Indices
In this lesson we continue our study of the reference grammar books by learning how to use the indices in the back of the book to locate information. As we practice with examples from the biblical text, we will encounter some new grammatical material, including some special forms of the pronominal suffixes attached to certain prepositions.
The Parable of the Vineyard
In this lesson we begin our study of the genre of prophetic literature. Instead of opening with more general questions, our first few lessons will be case studies on specific examples of this genre. We begin in this lesson by reading the “prophetic parable” in Isaiah 5:1-7. What can we learn from this passage about the characteristics of prophetic literature?
Prophecies of Rebuke
Now that we have studied an example of a prophetic parable, we will turn our attention to another type of prophecy: the “prophecy of woe,” which is a particular variety of the “prophecies of rebuke.” How are these prophecies structured, and what linguistic features of prophetic literature can we see in our example in Isaiah 5:11-17?
Prophecies of Consolation
In this lesson we address a third common type of prophecy. These “prophecies of consolation” describe the redemption of Israel after the divine punishment. As we read an example in the book of Jeremiah, we will continue to examine the linguistic features seen in prophetic literature.
Now that we have seen some specific examples of biblical prophecy, we will turn our attention to some more general questions. What is the origin of the root א''בנ? What do biblical prophecy and prophecy of the ancient Near East have in common? What kinds of prophets are described in the biblical text? How are these prophets similar to each other, and where do they differ?
Unique Language of Prophecy
In our final lesson on biblical prophecy, we will return to the subject of grammar and summarize the unique characteristics of prophetic language that we have observed in our readings over the last few weeks. What common formulas are used in prophecy? Where do the prophets follow the language of poetry, and where are their vocabulary and syntax uniquely prophetic?
In this lesson we return to the subject of the ע''ע verbs, whose second and third root letters are identical. What do these verbs look like in the Qal binyan? What do they look like in Nifal? How can understanding the process of “analogy” (and maybe even some Aramaic!) help us to better understand these forms?
Wisdom Literature: Proverbs
In this lesson we will begin our study of the genre of “wisdom literature” by examining the book of Proverbs. We will see that though wisdom literature does have some poetic features, it is quite unique in its style and especially in its vocabulary. What are some of the terms used in wisdom literature for “instruction,” “wisdom,” “a wise person,” and “a fool”?
Proverbs 31 & More ע''ע
This week we turn our attention to a particular set of verses at the end of the book of Proverbs. How do these verses illustrate wisdom themes, and what do they reveal about the relationship between wisdom literature and poetry? We will also return to the subject of ע''ע verbs and see what these forms look like in the Hifil and Hufal binyanim.
Language of Qohelet
Now that we have seen what typical wisdom literature looks like in the book of Proverbs, we will turn our attention to a unique book in the biblical wisdom texts: Qohelet (Ecclesiastes). Where does the title of the book come from? When was this book written, and how can we know? What makes it distinct from the other wisdom texts and from biblical prose in general?
This Course is Fully Acknowledged by the Hebrew University
- Get full academic credit for this course from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Valid in any academic institution that acknowledges credit from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Receive an official Israel Institute of Biblical Studies certificate upon completing this course
- ForumA 24/7 online forum to answer all of your course-related questions
- Recorded LessonsAll lessons are recorded and available on demand.
- Technical SupportAvailable 24/7 to assist you.
- Extra Practice SessionsA weekly teacher session for Q&A and discussion groups.