Given my interest in teaching Old Testament subjects, I am always on the lookout for books with which to teach Hebrew. When I saw that John H. Dobson’s Learn Biblical Hebrew had been positively reviewed by Dr. Barrick (one of my own Hebrew teachers), I looked forward to the chance to look it over.
There are many positives in the book.
First, it is about as close to immersion as you can get through a book. From lesson one, the student is immersed in reading words and phrases. The student is given helpful pronunciation helps along the way. Although this may seem daunting, another help is access to audio pronunciation files at the book’s website. This allows the student to hear professional quality reading of Hebrew words and phrases to aid the pronunciation.
Second, the book emphasizes reading the Hebrew Scripture instead of doing a workbook approach. Although workbooks can be helpful, it is far more motivating and beneficial in the long run to begin working with the Hebrew text of Scripture as soon as possible.
Lastly, the author includes helpful dialogue with other Hebrew Grammars giving terminology from other Hebrew Grammars when necessary. This is helpful so that if a student runs across other terminology they will not be at a loss.
My only negative critique of the book is that I prefer a little more white space on my pages. The book is organized to be very efficient with the space, but that does not leave much room on the pages for white space. The only downside to that is that it seems more difficult with this layout to glance through and quickly reference sections of interest. But, this is only a minor critique, and overall, Learn Biblical Hebrew is a productive option for learning how to read the Hebrew Bible.
This review was based on the 2nd edition of the book, a complementary review copy by Baker Academic.