Advanced Biblical Hebrew I*
Dr. John C. Reeves
Office hours: TR 11:00-12:00; or by appointment
*This specific course requires as its minimum prerequisite: (1) the successful completion at UNC Charlotte of ‘Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I’ and ‘II’; or (2) an equivalent sequence of introductory biblical Hebrew courses at another institution of higher learning; i.e., amounting to two semesters, three quarters, or one year; or (3) the verbal permission of the instructor.
A critical reading and translation of biblical, non-biblical, and postbiblical Hebrew prose and poetic texts. We will concentrate during the fall semester on (1) the Deuteronomistic depiction of the final century (roughly) of the First Temple period of Judahite history (2 Kgs 18 through 2 Kgs 25) and (2) Psalms 92 through 110, with occasional attention given (where relevant) to alternative intrabiblical (or even extrabiblical) renditions of the assigned readings (e.g., from Chronicles), pertinent material in the early versions (primarily Targum, but also Septuagint and Peshitta), Qumran and medieval manuscripts, rabbinic midrash, and the medieval commentaries (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, et al.).
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (ed. K. Elliger, et al.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1977), or later reprints of this edition. Alternatively, one may use the relevant portions of the Miqra’ot gedolot or just about any other Hebrew edition (e.g., Koren; Kittel; Letteris) provided there is no western translation adjacent or in near proximity to the Masoretic Text.
W. Gesenius, E. Kautzsch, and A.E. Cowley, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (2d ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1910). Numerous reprints.
Moreover, you will also find on the bookstore shelves one recommended title for optional purchase:
Ernst Würthwein, The Text of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979).
Supplementary readings and/or exercises may be assigned or distributed by the instructor as needed.
a. Diligent attendance and preparation. Almost perfect attendance is an essential requirement for this course. Each class session builds upon the knowledge gained and skills acquired during previous meetings. Moreover, oral recitation and group study comprises practically the entirety of every class session. The instructor’s assessment of one’s attendance, class preparation, and recitation constitutes 75% of the final course grade.
b. Final examination. A final examination will be held on the date and at the time officially mandated for this course by the UNC Charlotte administration. Further details regarding the final examination will be provided later in the semester. The final examination accounts for 25% of the final course grade.
c. Each student is responsible for all lectures, class discussions, assignments, and announcements, whether or not he/she is present when they occur.
a. The grading scale used in this course is as follows:
b. One of the requirements of this course is to complete the work of the course on time. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for late work—an illness or other emergency. ‘Emergency,’ however, does not include your social involvements, travel plans, job schedule, disk and/or printer failures, the state of your love life, your obligations to other courses, or general malaise over the state of the world. The world has been in a mess as long as anyone can remember, and most of the world’s work is done by people whose lives are a mass of futility and discontent. If you haven’t learned yet, you had better learn now to work under the conditions of the world as it is. Therefore:
1) All assignments are due at their announced dates and times. In other words (and please note well!), there will be NO MAKEUP OPPORTUNITIES scheduled. All missed exams and assignments (these include oral recitations!) will be averaged as a 0 in the computation of the course grade. No exceptions will be considered or granted.
2) For accounting purposes, letter grades bear the following values: A=95; B=85; C=75; D=65; F=30.
3) Since your diligent physical participation is critical for the health of this course, attendance at class meetings will be monitored by the instructor. One or two absences are unexceptional, three (3) is the limit of tolerability. Each successive absence lowers your course assessment by one letter grade; seven (7) or more results in an automatic F. Please note that the instructor does not distinguish ‘excused’ from ‘unexcused’ absences. Unsanctioned late arrivals and early departures will be tallied as absences.
c. The Cuneiform Studies Laboratory (located in Macy 216) houses a number of lexical and grammatical aids (both print and electronic) for the close study of biblical and postbiblical Hebrew. Please consult with the instructor for an introduction to this learning resource and the regulations regarding its use.
d. Assistance and solicitation of criticism is your right as a member of the class. It is not a privilege to be granted or withheld. Do not hesitate to request it nor wait too late in the course for it to be of help.
Recommendations for Success in the Study of Biblical Hebrew
1. Strive to spend at least 30 minutes per day (including weekends and holidays) studying and reviewing grammatical rules, paradigms, and vocabulary. Once these have been reasonably mastered, spend that same time (every day!) simply reading portions of a biblical text.
2. The best way to learn and review vocabulary is to use homemade ‘flashcards.’
3. Form a study-group with two or three of your classmates in order to practice vocalization and reading skills together. As your knowledge increases, begin to engage in ‘sight’ translation.
4. Simply DO NOT MISS CLASS. If you ‘must’ miss a class, make sure that you consult with your classmates regarding assignments, etc. in order to prevent potentially unpleasant surprises.