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By far the best way of learning biblical Hebrew
on 27 March 2008
I have been trying to learn Hebrew as a part of my theological education at university, but so far in vain. The material used in class focuses mainly on grammar and less on reading and understanding, and I find it extremely difficult to learn parsing, rules, exceptions, etc. by heart. And fortunately I don't have to any more. I bought Dobson's excellent book, and as stated on the cover, I was reading and understanding passages from the Hebrew Bible after only two hours. It wasn't easy, but still a lot easier and infinitely more fun and motivating than the university approach.
Dobson teaches words and their use, and when topics of grammar arise, he explains by means of examples, exercises, etc. And in my opinion this practical approach to grammar is a lot easier to understand, compared to learning an endless number of rules. The grammar drills include using certain word forms in a number of ways, and translating sentences from Hebrew to English, and (probably more important for learning purposes) from English to Hebrew. The pleasure of being able to translate actual sentences into Hebrew after only a few hours of studying is hard to describe.
One of the brilliant things about Dobson's book is that the student almost immediately gets the feeling of being able to read, understand, and even translate. At first, only simple phrases and sentences, but pretty soon long and rather complex narratives. The lessons take approx. 2 - 3 hours each, and after lesson 25 I can actually read and understand the bulk of the Hebrew Bible, as well as discover and understand interesting grammatical points, word plays, etc. I cannot recommend this book enough. I have been through 5 or 6 books on the subject, but absolutely nothing compares to Dobson's. In my opinion, this is by far the best way of learning biblical Hebrew.