Achieving the right balance of amount of information, style of presentation, and depth of instruction in first-year grammars is no easy task. But Mark Futato has produced a grammar that, after years of testing in a number of institutions, will please many, with its concise, clear, and well-thought-out presentation of Biblical Hebrew.
Because the teaching of biblical languages is in decline in many seminaries and universities, Futato takes pains to measure the amount of information presented in each chapter in a way that makes the quantity digestible, without sacrificing information that is important to retain. The book includes exercises that are drawn largely from the Hebrew Bible itself.
I have used Mark Futato's grammar in pre-publication form for the last four years at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson). It is an excellent grammar. It is simple, straightforward, and is self-explanatory. As a teacher of Hebrew, I have found it to be the best tool available to introduce students to the language. Many of our students have learned Hebrew well, and quite a few of them have gone on to further study in the language. I believe Futato's grammar has played an important role in that regard—students are not intimidated by Hebrew when they learn from this grammar.
—John D. Currid, Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament Reformed Theological Seminary
Each chapter of the grammar is divided into three sections: grammar, vocabulary and practice. The third section especially is helpful. A separation of new material from previous material learned occurs, prior to a demonstration of the place of the new material in the larger scheme. Constant reference to select portions from the Hebrew Bible maintains a practical focus in this third section of each chapter...The methodological advancement this grammar makes in communicating the content of Biblical Hebrew grammar to the newcomer places it among the best of teaching grammars on the market today.
—Bernon P. Lee, Department of Religious Studies, Grace College, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Vol 5
Mark D. Futato's new Hebrew grammar is a simple, thoughtful, and straightforward work that reflects genuine empathy for the beginning Hebrew student. The agenda of the book is to provide the fundamentals of the language unencumbered by information that may fog the road toward basic Hebrew competency. Futato's tenure in the classroom and interface with Hebrew novices prove to be an asset to Beginning Biblical Hebrew. The grammar's strength is Futato's keen pedagogical sensitivity reflected at various points in its appearance and presentation of the language...
...this work does provide in a most exemplary way everything essential for a quality introductory Hebrew grammar. That is why the strengths of Futato's grammar far outweigh any weaknesses. He offers everything a Hebrew student needs to form a substantial foundation for further Hebrew study while being user-friendly, creative, strategic, and judicious. This combination makes Beginning Biblical Hebrew one of the best Hebrew grammars available to the student and instructor today. Futato's work is commendable and deserves the attention of those who are serious about teaching or learning biblical Hebrew.
—Steven D. Mason, University of St. Andrews, Review of Biblical Literature, June 2004
As part of a growing number of grammars focused on assisting the beginning student of Biblical Hebrew, F.'s introduction provides a fine addition. Although the size is rather cumbersome, it allows for lessons to be set out clearly along with eye-catching charts and inserts. Each lesson is accompanied by a series of exercises, which are designed to deepen the knowledge gained from the current chapter and to test the recognition of earlier material. They challenge a variety of skills and notably deepen the recognition of the Hebrew roots. In addition, the incorporation of biblical sentences and passages in the exercises from the first lesson onward provides the student with immediate application. In terms of structure, the grammar benefits from introducing the qal of the strong verb early. It further benefits from user-friendly features such as the ability to cross-reference vocabulary with published cards, an answer key, an appendix of verbal paradigms, and a glossary.
—J. Middlemas, JSOT 28.5
Dr. Mark D. Futato is Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. Dr. Futato received his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America. He served on the translation team for the Book of Psalms in the New Living Translation, contributed study notes for the New Geneva Study Bible, and contributed to the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis.