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Biblical Hebrew



Biblical Hebrew for graduate students is offered on two levels: Intermediate and Advanced. Each level extends over one academic year. Interested students must take the placement exam in Biblical Hebrew, which will take place before the start of each autumn semester. Place and time: TBA.


Coordinator:    Prof. Steven Fassberg

Instructors:      Dr. Tanya Notarius  

Dr. Ohad Cohen    

Dr. Barak Dan       


Biblical Hebrew Beginners Level  

This course is offered is offered at the RIS during the summer. For details see Biblical Hebrew Summer Courses web page. 


Biblical Hebrew Intermediate Level (112 academic hours) 

Dr. Tanya Notarius

The course focuses on syntax, vocabulary and poetic language. The course begins by reviewing verbal morphology (verbal conjugations and inflection and object pronominal suffixes). It continues with the syntactic and semantic study of the system of verbal tenses in Classical Biblical Hebrew. Topics discussed include different approaches to understanding the verbal system, discourse modes in Biblical prosaic text and their influence on verbal tenses, word order in verbal clauses, and the semantic interpretation of verbal tenses in context. These topics are studied through intensive prose reading.

Biblical poetry is also examined: the language of biblical poetry, parallelism and the pragmatics of the poetic language. Poetry is studied through relevant reading portions. Also examined are nominal morphology (nominal derivational patterns and inflectional forms) and nominal syntactic phenomena (nominal clause, construct state, accusative types, apposition, or hendiadys).

Additional syntactic features are addressed, e.g., relative and other types of subordinate clauses, discourse markers, adverbs, conjunctions. The cantillation marks and their relevance for syntax are also investigated. The biblical reading includes selections from the First Temple period: classical narrative, procedural discourse, prophetic report and prophetic poetic speech, and selected Psalms (about 550 biblical verses altogether).  

The class tests include quizzes on the vocabulary of the Biblical passages and assignments on the grammar topics studied.

Prerequisite: One year of Biblical Hebrew. 

This course is taught twice a week for two weekly hours.  


Biblical Hebrew Advanced Level 

The History of the Hebrew Language during the First and Second Temple Periods (56 academic hours)

Dr. Dan Barak 

The advanced course in Biblical Hebrew surveys the development of the Hebrew language from its earliest attestations through the end of the Tannaitic period. The development of the language will be studied through the reading of archaic Biblical poems (e.g., Gen 49, Exod 15, Num 23-24, Deut 32-33, Judg 5), classical Biblical texts (e.g., the Pentateuch and Former Prophets), late Biblical texts (e.g., Ezra, Nehemiah, 1st and 2nd Chronicles), epigraphic material (the entire corpus of Hebrew inscriptions from both the First and Second Temple periods, e.g., Gezer, Samaria, Arad, Siloam, Lachish, Bar Kochva letters), the Dead Sea Scrolls (e.g., 1QIsa, 1QS), Ben Sira, and selections from the Mishna. Attention will be paid to salient linguistic phenomena of the different periods.
Prerequisite: Two years of Biblical Hebrew.

This course is taught once a week for two weekly hours during the academic year. 


Admission Requirements and Application 

Qualified students with a Bachelor's degree from accredited institutions of higher education are eligible for admission which is competitive and based on transcripts and letters of recommendation. Students should have at least a 3.2 ("B") grade-point average or the equivalent.

Candidates who did not previously study at an educational institution where the language of instruction is English must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum TOEFL score required is 573 on the paper-based test, 230 on the computer-based test or 89 on the internet-based test. The minimum IELTS score required is a 7.


Candidates are welcome to apply to this program in one of the following academic frameworks:  

Visiting Students – Students who have received a Bachelor's degree but have not yet begun a graduate program.

Visiting Graduate Students – Students who are studying toward or have received a master's degree. 

Visiting Research Students – Students who are pursuing or have received a Ph.D. 


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