The end of our Beginning Biblical Hebrew II course (HE102) is upon us. The last part of the textbook deals with weak verbs of various kinds. The chapter titles from Learning Biblical Hebrew: Reading for Comprehension are as follows:
Chapter 25: III-Waw/Yod Verbs
Chapter 26: I-Waw/Yod Verbs
Chapter 27: II-Waw/Yod Verbs: Introduction
Chapter 28: II-Waw/Yod Verbs: Niphal–Hophal Stems
Chapter 29: Geminate Verbs
Chapter 30: I-Nun Verbs
Chapter 31: I-Guttural Verbs
Chapter 32: II-Guttural Verbs
Chapter 33: III-Guttural and III-Aleph Verbs
Since I actually enjoy weak verbs, we’ve covered most of these in principle throughout the course. I’ve decided that we’re going to combine these final chapters to reduce the time spent on them. The principles related in these chapters have been discussed at many points in this course. For example, the fact that I-Nun roots will display assimilation of the nun when it ends up against another root letter without an intervening vowel. This is how נָפַל ‘he fell’ follows the normal imperfect pattern, but that the nun assimilates, unlike in the normal strong verb.
Pre-assimilated: *יִנְפֹּל [*yinpōl]
Assimilated: יִפֹּל [yippōl] ‘he will fall’
This will also apply to the word לָקַח, which functions like a I-Nun verb in the יִקְטַל pattern (like יִלְמַד ‘he will learn’ and יִשְׁכַּב ‘he will lie down’).
Pre-assimilated: *יִלְקַח [*yilqaḥ]
Assimilated: יִקַּח [yiqqaḥ] ‘he will take, get’
We’ve seen this so much in our course that it hardly makes sense to devote an entire chapter and encounter to it. I’ve merged that chapter with the one before it so that our final encounters are divided up in this way:
Aug 20: Encounter 27/28
Aug 27: Encounter 29/30
Sept 3: Encounter 31/32/33
That means that we will be finishing the textbook with next week’s encounter instead of having it go out another couple of weeks.
We started HE101 in mid-January, doing our first encounter on February 7. This means that each segment of the course was about three months long, showing that we covered the entire grammar book (including reading the Joseph Story, Ruth, and Jonah in Hebrew) in six months.
This is better than I had hoped, and it is thanks to the amazing students that I’ve had in this course. I’d like to thank Ward Brady, John Bloggs, Geovani Buenafe, and Hoshea Jonathan Garcia Felix, who worked tirelessly through this course and were willing to have themselves recorded and uploaded to YouTube for the world to see as they learned and progressed through this Hebrew grammar study. Their efforts are truly appreciated, and they will be of benefit to those who use the YouTube videos to learn the language on their own.
From here, the goal is to do a Hebrew readings course and then one in discourse analysis. There is talk among the students of going into a reading course of the Psalms. This is probably where we will go next.
It has been my pleasure to teach through this course. I will leave the videos online for future self-learners and for reference. Any further courses through the Hebrew Café will have a cost associated with them, since this takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to produce.
Over the course of the past six months I’ve also picked up Jonathan as a second teacher for the site. He has a lot of training in biblical Hebrew and is currently beginning his studies at Hebrew Union College (HUC). He’s in the final stages of organizing a new HE101 course that will be using Cook and Holmstedt’s textbook Beginning Biblical Hebrew (Amazon).
If you haven’t yet studied biblical Hebrew and are interested, let him know!
For now, I’m glad to report that we have one more encounter to go. After that, we will have two weeks of review for the final exam and of covering a couple of extra topics (the arrangement of the Hebrew Bible [תָּנָ״ךְ] and the use of cantillation marks in interpreting biblical verses). The final exam will mark the end of the course. Good luck to our participants!