Now Producing Grammars on Steroids
About a year ago, we released the third edition of William Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek grammar. We had offered the second edition for quite some time, but while working on the new edition we decided to see just how far we could take it. So we upgraded Accordance to support audio pronunciations of vocabulary words, included links that would automatically search the tagged Greek New Testament and Mounce translation, and generally tried to create an introductory grammar on steroids.
This week we released another performance-enhanced introductory grammar: the Basics of Biblical Hebrew by Gary Pratico and Miles Van Pelt. Like Mounce's Greek grammar, Basics of Biblical Hebrew includes audio pronunciations of vocabulary words and includes links that will automatically search the tagged Hebrew Bible. That way, students studying their vocabulary can immediately explore numerous examples of those words being used in context. This is especially fitting since Pratico and Van Pelt used Accordance to research their word frequency statistics: now their students can easily use Accordance to verify them! :-)
As much as we've tried to leverage Accordance's power to provide a Hebrew grammar on steroids, it is ultimately the content of this grammar which makes it worth buying. Pratico and Van Pelt take care to explain the structural aspects of Hebrew so that all those inflections which seem so strange to the beginning student begin to make sense. They use examples from the Hebrew Bible rather than "made up" examples. Best of all, they include "exegetical insights" which reveal the practical importance of what is being learned in each chapter.
As I was doing final quality-control checks of this module, I found myself repeatedly pausing to read these exegetical insights, which alone justify this grammar's purchase price. Ranging from a simple discussion of Hebrew acrostic poetry in the chapter on the alphabet to challenging reinterpretations of such phrases as "train up a child" and "in the cool of the day," these sections effectively demonstrate the importance of learning Hebrew at a time when many seminaries are dropping it as a requirement.
If you're wanting to tackle the study of Hebrew with an introductory grammar on steroids, be sure to pick up the Accordance edition of Basics of Biblical Hebrew. And whenever you find yourself growing weary, as every language student inevitably does, turn to the nearest "exegetical insight" for a little "shot in the arm".