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Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary

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First published over thirty years ago under the title A Student's Vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew, this classic work has been completely revised, updated, and expanded by the author to assist a new generation of students in developing a basic Biblical Hebrew vocabulary. Designed with beginning Hebrew readers in mind, this valuable teaching tool shows which words occur most frequently in the Hebrew Bible and, where possible, arranges those words into meaningful groups according to their roots and cognates. Vocabularies have been kept to a manageable size, extensive cross-references document when words appear frequently with different meanings, and an index allows rapid location of every word encountered.

Careful study of this volume will be richly rewarded as students:

    • quickly learn the most commonly occurring words in the Hebrew Bible,

    • naturally expand their working vocabulary of related words, and

    • consistently observe how Hebrew characteristically builds upon verbal roots

As a result, students who master this volume will remember words more easily, consult a lexicon less frequently but more intelligently, and translate the Hebrew Bible at sight more readily and enjoyably.

Resource Experts

Top Highlights

“Students commencing the task of learning Biblical Hebrew are immediately confronted by two major hurdles: 1) first, mastering the consonants and vowel system so that together they can be identified and pronounced as words (without benefit of transliteration); and 2) second, learning the meanings of words in the process of building a basic vocabulary so that the reading and translation of Hebrew can become pleasurable, even fun!” (Page 1)

“Focus should first be on the words that will be most frequently encountered—say, those occurring more than 100 times in all three lists—since they will most likely be the ones used in the grammar text, while the less frequently attested words will not become useful to know until one begins reading the biblical text.” (Page 2)

“Thus, when one has mastered how the Qal is formed, a giant step has been taken toward learning how all the verbal binyanim are patterned.” (Page 10)

“Stative verbs occur formally only in the Qal conjugation” (Page 13)

“three types of mood or modal formations: the imperative, cohortative, and jussive” (Page 10)

Praise for the Print Edition

I warmly welcome the appearance of this thoroughly revised and much improved edition of a standard vocabulary list by one of the master teachers of Biblical Hebrew. It is thoughtfully organized and much more user-friendly than the previous edition from three decades ago. An additional bonus is a brief outline of Hebrew grammar, with some helpful tips by the author on learning Hebrew vocabulary. Every teacher of Biblical Hebrew will be grateful to Landes for this new edition and will want to recommend this valuable resource to students.

   - Choon-Leong Seow, Princeton Theological Seminary

[This] work is an excellent resource for the student endeavoring to learn Hebrew and for the teacher instructing such students. For the student who wishes to work specifically on Hebrew (over Aramaic) vocabulary, no better handbook exists in print.

   - Albert L. Lukaszewski, St. Mary's College

  • Title: Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary
  • Author: George M. Landes
  • Volume: 41
  • Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)
  • Print Publication Date: 2004
  • Logos Release Date: 2005
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Hebrew language › Word frequency; Bible. O.T. › Language, style; Hebrew language › Glossaries, vocabularies, etc
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2024-03-25T19:12:51Z


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  1. Logosed



    There are at least two other books in this category that are worth mentioning. The first is by Mitchel: Student's Vocabulary for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, A and the other is by Pelt and Pratico. The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew. These differ from Landes work in that they arrange Hebrew words by frequency of occurrence rather than by root. This may at first seem like an excellent idea. It makes sense to learn words that occur most often rather than take time learning words that may occur only a few times. However, since Hebrew is a language that depends far more substantially on roots than, for example, does Greek, in the long run it is much better to learn Hebrew words by root than by frequency. This way one can see how Hebrew words are formed, and how they relate semantically to one another. One also gets into the habit of learning groups of words rather than individual words. With the other approach one may never learn that one word is related to another. If one learns roots, one is also less likely to mistranslate a word that looks like another word. If one knows that this root only has two or three words based on it, one can know that word X cannot mean Y. The definitions offered in Landes are based on the Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Landes however, adds his own expertise as a Hebrew scholar and does not follow Baumgartner slavishly. One ought also to know that the frequency of the occurrence of words in the Hebrew Bible is specified after each entry. There is also a very helpful chapter on how Hebrew words are formed. Finally, one may wish to compare and supplement the definitions offered here with those in BDB.
  2. Dan Savitt

    Dan Savitt


  3. Manuel Fernández Martín
  4. Faithlife User

    Faithlife User



Digital list price: $17.99
Save $4.00 (22%)