Biblical Hebrew – Level E

Course Description

This course is intended for students who have progressed far in their journey of Biblical discovery. We move beyond analyzing Biblical Hebrew alone and look into the connection between the era, the event and the language.

Exploring 1,000 years of historical development of the Hebrew language, we study three key Biblical texts; the Song of the Sea, the Song of Deborah and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Each text represents a shift in the language, encapsulated by a historical event, through which we can appreciate the complexity of these biblical pearls.

When do our courses start?
We have a few starting dates so you can choose the class that best suits your schedule. Our next class starts on Sunday, October 18 at 1:15 PM. If you are interested in one of our classes click on the schedule below to start the registration process.

Select your preferred class time
All times are in GMT+-5
11:00am
Sun, Oct 18
Wed, Oct 21
Thu, Oct 22
Tue, Nov 17
11:00am
21 Oct 2020 - 21 Jun 2021 Starts at 11:00am | GMT+-5 Weekly, Class duration: 60 min Enroll now
1:15pm
18 Oct 2020 - 18 Jun 2021 Starts at 1:15pm | GMT+-5 Weekly, Class duration: 60 min Enroll now
6:05pm
17 Nov 2020 - 17 Jul 2021 Starts at 6:05pm | GMT+-5 Weekly, Class duration: 60 min Enroll now
7:00pm
22 Oct 2020 - 22 Jun 2021 Starts at 7:00pm | GMT+-5 Weekly, Class duration: 60 min Enroll now

This course is accredited by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • We partnered with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the leading biblical research institutes in the world, to bring you a wealth of Biblical knowledge in courses developed by renowned scholars.
  • Upon completion, you’ll receive a certificate of achievement from the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies signed by the dean of the faculty.
  • We also offer an academic track, with 3 academic credits, which is recognized in universities worldwide. To hear more details and enroll in the academic track click here.

Syllabus Summary

  1. Introduction & Basic Terms

    Welcome to Course E! In this unit we introduce the basic concepts that will direct our discussions in this course. How does a “diachronic” description of the Hebrew language differ from the “synchronic” description that has guided our first four courses? What is “comparative Semitic linguistics,” and how can this help us to better understand the Hebrew?

  2. Consonant Shifts

    As our course will follow the timeline of the Hebrew language from early to late, we begin by discussing the consonants of the Proto-Semitic language that preceded biblical Hebrew. How did the 29 original Semitic consonants become the 23 that we see in the Hebrew of the biblical text? How does this affect our understanding of Hebrew vocabulary?

  3. Consonant Shifts: Emphatics

    In this unit we continue our discussion of consonant shifts in Semitic languages and how this phenomenon affects the vocabulary of biblical Hebrew. What are the “emphatic” consonants? How many were there in Proto-Semitic, and how did they enter biblical Hebrew? These are the questions we will answer as we look through biblical vocabulary for examples.

  4. Consonant Shifts: Uvulars

    We conclude our discussion of consonant shifts by examining the history of the Proto-Semitic uvular
    consonants [ġ] and [h] and their relationship to the Hebrew gutturals. What are “uvular” consonants? How can the Greek of the Septuagint teach us more about how these consonants shifted in the Hebrew language?

  5. Archaic Biblical Poetry

    In this unit we begin to turn our attention to the earliest stage of Hebrew that we see in the biblical text: Archaic Biblical Poetry. What are the three distinct stages of Hebrew that we see in the text, and how can we distinguish archaic poetry from the other two? What are some of the methodological problems with identifying these texts as archaic?

  6. The Song of the Sea

    We continue our study of the ancient Hebrew seen in the “Song of the Sea” (Exodus 15:1-18). What additional signs of archaic language are apparent in this poem? What are some ways in which comparison to other Semitic languages can help us here?

  7. The Song of Deborah

    Continuing our discussion of archaic poetry, we move to the Song of Deborah in Judges 5. What are some of the signs of early language we see in this text? We’ll learn about an unusual verb form and examine some of the poetic structures used in this song.

  8. Archaic Poetry: The Question of Dialect

    In this unit, we expand our discussion of archaic poetry to include the larger question of different dialects in the biblical text. Did local dialects vary in different regions of ancient Israel, and how do we know? We will explore this issue of dialect by examining the relative pronouns used in archaic poetry and elsewhere.

  9. Archaic Poetry: Summary

    Over the last four units, we have isolated specific linguistic phenomena in the Song of the Sea and the Song of Deborah to learn about the language of archaic poetry. What are some of the methodological problems with comparing this language to classical prose? What evidence about the linguistic history have we seen in the morphology, syntax, and vocabulary of these songs?

  10. The First Temple Period

    In this unit we turn our attention to the next stage of the Hebrew language: the “First Temple Period.” What are the historical boundaries of this stage, and where does it appear in the biblical text? What was this language called by its speakers? After addressing these general questions, we will begin to discuss how the vocabulary of this period is distinct.

  11. First Temple Prose: The Verbal System

    In this unit we continue our discussion of Hebrew in the First Temple Period by turning to the verbal system. After giving a brief overview of the verb forms we discussed in our previous courses, we will focus on the sequential verb forms Wayyiqtol and Weqatal. How are these forms used in similar ways in First Temple prose, and where do they differ?

  12. First Temple Verbs, con’t

    In this unit we will begin by continuing our discussion of the Wayyiqtol form. Does this verb always mark
    chronological sequence, or does it also have other uses? We will then turn our attention to the unusual verb form ןוּל ְט ְק.Howִי ancient is this form, and does it have any special meaning in Biblical Hebrew?

  13. First Temple Period: Summary

    The purpose of this unit is to summarize the distinguishing characteristics of the First Temple Period language that we have discussed. During what period of time was this stage of Hebrew written down? How do its vocabulary, syntax, and morphology set it apart from both archaic poetry and the language of the Second Temple Period?

  14. Hebrew Inscriptions (First Temple Period)

    How can we learn about First Temple Period Hebrew from sources outside the biblical text? Over the past
    century, archaeologists have found a number of inscriptions from this time period that offer new insight
    into the Hebrew language. After seeing a general overview of these inscriptions, we will focus on the
    Siloam Tunnel Inscription found in Jerusalem.

  15. Arad Letters and Samaria Ostraca

    In this unit we continue our discussion of First Temple Period inscriptions by examining several ostraca found in the Judean town of Arad and the Israelite town of Samaria. In addition to offering us a more detailed glimpse into the daily life of biblical times, these inscriptions can help us to address the question of the different dialects of First Temple Period Hebrew.

  16. Mesad Hashavyahu Inscription

    Our discussion of ancient Hebrew inscriptions continues with an ostracon found in a town near the Judean coast. In this letter of complaint to a local official, we will again find both similarities to the biblical text and some interesting variants. What can our observations teach us about the cultural and linguistic reality of the First Temple Period?

  17. 1TP Inscriptions: A Summary

    In this unit we will summarize what we have learned about Biblical Hebrew from the inscriptions we have
    discussed in the last three lessons. What in these inscriptions is similar to Biblical Hebrew, and how are they different? What can the differences teach us about the history of the Hebrew in the biblical text?

  18. The Second Temple Period

    We now turn the focus of our discussion to the Second Temple Period. When did this period begin, and what biblical books does it include? Why is the Aramaic language so significant for understanding the development of Hebrew during this time?

  19. Late Vocabulary

    In this unit we continue our discussion of Second Temple Period Hebrew by examining its unique linguistic characteristics, such as vocabulary from sources outside the Hebrew language (e.g. Persian and Aramaic). How can we determine when an Aramaic word is actually a late element in Hebrew and not simply a reflection of the shared heritage of these two languages?

  20. Late Biblical Hebrew in 1QIsa

    In this unit we explore the later stages of the Second Temple Period by examining the Isaiah Scroll (1st c.
    B.C.E.) discovered at Qumran. What are the signs that this scroll reflects the language of its time, while the Masoretic version preserves more closely the original text of Isaiah? What can these signs teach us about the development of Hebrew in this period?

  21. Infinitive Construct in the Second Temple Period

    A significant change in the use of the infinitive construct form occurred in the Second Temple Period. In this unit we will examine some of the different contexts in which this form appears. Which verb form(s) fulfilled these roles in First Temple Period literature?

  22. Infinitive Absolute in the Second Temple Period

    As with the infinitive construct, so too the use of the infinitive absolute went through a significant development in the Second Temple Period. After reviewing the common uses of this form in the First Temple Period, we will see which verb form(s) it can replace in later Hebrew and in which contexts this exchange is likely to occur.

  23. Second Temple Period: Summary

    In this unit we will summarize what we have learned over the last few units about Hebrew in the Second Temple Period. What are some of the unique linguistic features that characterize the language of this period and distinguish it from earlier and later stages of Hebrew, both in its vocabulary and in its syntax?

  24. Language of the Dead Sea Scrolls

    In the final section of our course, we will examine the language of the later Second Temple Period, as reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Where and when were these scrolls found, and why are they so significant for our understanding of Hebrew? What can the phonetic spelling in these scrolls teach us about the Hebrew language of this period?

  25. Vocabulary of the Dead Sea Scrolls

    In this unit we continue our discussion of the Dead Sea Scrolls by examining the vocabulary used in these texts. Most of the vocabulary is familiar to us from Biblical Hebrew, but we will see that it shares a special affinity with late Biblical Hebrew. What can be said about the vocabulary that does not appear in the biblical text? Do we know it from any other sources?

  26. Dead Sea Scrolls: הלטקאו

    We turn back to the Hebrew verbal system in this unit, examining a verb form that is widely used in the Dead Sea Scrolls: the הָ לְָטְָקָ אָוform. Do we see this form in any stage of Biblical Hebrew? How can a comparison between the different stages of Biblical Hebrew, and even between Hebrew and the Moabite language, help us to trace the history of this verb form?

  27. Dead Sea Scrolls: Summary

    In this unit we will summarize what we have learned about the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls. How does this language relate to both Late Biblical Hebrew and Rabbinic Hebrew? How is it unique within itself? Understanding more about the language of these scrolls gives us a broader picture of the historical development of the Hebrew language.

  28. Where We’ve Been

    In this final unit we pause to look back at how far we’ve come since Unit 1. We have discussed over 1,000 years of the historical development of the Hebrew language, from pre-biblical consonant shifts to Biblical Hebrew (archaic poetry, First Temple Period, and Second Temple Period) to the later language of the Dead Sea Scrolls. What characterizes each of these stages?

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  • Course Duration:32 weeks, 9 months
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A weekly Q&A session in addition to the regular lesson

Have a Question?

  • How does the course work?

    We teach live classes online: a teacher and a small group of students meet once a week through their home computer. We use video conference technology that allows live student-teacher interaction. You can fully participate in the lesson by using the microphone or the chat box.

  • What if I miss a lesson?

    Don’t worry all the live lessons are also recorded and available on demand. You can review them at any time.

  • What qualifications do your teachers have?

    All our teachers have a teaching certificate and are approved by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They are all scholars from leading universities around the world, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harvard and Durham University.

  • What is your cancellation policy?

    You may cancel your course up to 7 days after registration and get a full refund, unless your course has already started. To see our cancellation policy, click here.

    In case you have decided to cancel your participation please note that virtual classrooms, like any other classrooms, have limited capacity. Demand for our classes is high and late cancellation prevent other students from obtaining a spot in the upcoming semester.

     

    Students who wish to cancel their participation are entitled to a partial refund as seen below:

    • 100% Refund (0% of course tuition due): Up to 7 days from the date of your registration, unless your course has already started.
    • 75% Refund (25% of course tuition due): Cancellation prior to your 1st scheduled lesson.
    • 25% Refund (75% if course tuition due): Up to 30 days from your 1st scheduled lesson.
    • 0% Refund (100% of course tuition due): After 30 days from the 1st scheduled lesson.

    To read our full cancellation policy, click here.

  • Class time zones – what time do your classes start?

    We teach Sunday to Friday according to your local time zone. You are welcome to check the schedule and assign yourself to a time that’s most suitable to you.

  • Do I need to purchase special equipment for the courses?

    All you need is a working computer with an internet connection and you’re set. We work with Windows and Mac operating systems.

  • Can I pay in installments?

    Yes, you can pay in 9 monthly installments.