Updated:  12.2.2003






Instructor:  Dr. Jin Hee Han


Bulletin Board (members of the class only)


  Email:  jhan@nyts.edu

Fax:  1-206-984-1228


Fall 2003



Course Web: nyts475.tripod.com/hebrewexegesis.htm


Course Description


This is a Bible reading course.  As we work through Genesis 37-50 in the Hebrew text, we will continue to foster our love for the biblical language, sharpening our skills in exegesis. With the intricate prose and the challenging poetry, these last chapters of the book of Genesis will prove to be an inviting venue for the minds that seek to see a world where a common good is found as God works in mysterious and unobtrusive ways.  In this course, we will have opportunities to observe how the original biblical language can illuminate our understanding of the Scriptures. 


Prerequisite:  Introductory Biblical Hebrew



Required Textbooks


Elliger and W. Rudolph, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.  Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1977.
ISBN 3438052180          Ref BS715 1983 E-055414 

Claus Westermann, Genesis 37-50: A Commentary.  Translated by John J. Scullion.  Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1986.

ISBN 0806621974          BS1235.3 .W3713 1986 

Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50.  WBC.  Dallas, TX : Word Books, 1994.

ISBN 0849902010          BS491.2 .W92 v.2



Course Assignments

1.        Faithful attendance and participation are expected.  Be prepared to read, translate, and discuss the Hebrew text of Genesis 37-50.  It is understood that we are to keep up with the reading of relevant portions of the two commentaries.  In addition to the scheduled time of class, the workload will require about 8-10 hours per week, more or less depending on the student's preference in terms of study methods.

2.        There will be weekly quizzes that cover assigned passages and readings.  The quizzes will include vocabulary items and grammatical points.  Some of the quizzes may be take-home; they are due on the next session of the class.

3.        There will be a final take-home exam (not yet available).  It is scheduled be posted on the web early November.  You can work on it at your pace, but be sure to turn in the completed exam on or before Dec. 4 (the penultimate session).   Final exams turned in after Dec. 4 may cause the course grade to be recorded on a pass or fail basis.  Your exam will be returned on Dec. 11.  Extension may be granted only in the case of medical emergency.

Note from the instructor: With the flu slowing me down, the final exam is being posted on the web as of Dec. 2.  A hard copy will be distributed in the class on Dec. 3.  Please plan to turn in the exam by noon of Dec. 17.

N.B.  Any take-home assignment may be sent either as an attachment to an email or be faxed to the number listed above.  Be sure to ask for the note of confirmation, for electronic transmission is not always secure.


Course Evaluation


  1. Participation                      20%
  2. Reading quizzes                 50%
  3. Final exam                         30%


Course Schedule

  1. September 3
    getical Methods
    Review of Grammar

  2. September 10
    Read Genesis 37.  quiz

  3. September 17     
    Read Genesis 3
    8.  quiz

  4. September 24
    Read Genesis
    39.  quiz

  5. October 1
    Read Genesis 4
    0.  quiz

  6. October 8
    Read Genesis 4
    1.  quiz

  7. October 15
    Read Genesis 4
    2.  quiz

  8. October 22
    Read Genesis 4
    3.  quiz

  9. October 29
    Read Genesis 4
    4.  quiz

  10. November 5
    Read Genesis 4
    5.  quiz

  11. November 12
    Read Genesis 4
    6-47.  quiz

  12. November 19
    Read Genesis 48.  quiz

    November 26       (No class)
    November 2
    7       Thanksgiving

  13. December 3
    Read Genesis 49.  no quiz

  14. December 10
    Read Genesis 50.  quiz
    Simchat ha-Torah

Final Exam is now available (click here) and is due by Dec. 17 (12:00 pm).



Enrichment Sessions

Throughout the semester class hours may be replaced with various activities including field trips.  Please note that the enrichment
sessions are part of the class, not social events; therefore, participation is mandatory.

Relevant Journals

Bible Review
Biblical Theology Bulletin
The Bible Translator
Biblical Archaeology Review
Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research
Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Expository Times
Harvard Theological Review
Israel Exploration Journal
Journal of Biblical Literature
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
Journal of Near Eastern Studies
Journal of Semitic Studies
Literature and Theology
Vetus Testamentum
Zeitschrift für die alttetestamentliche Wissenschaft

Books on Reserve
(some on permanent reserve)

Campbell/O'Brien 1993 Sources of the Pentateuch

Fox 1995 The Five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

Friedman 1987 Who Wrote the Bible?

Friedman 2001 Commentary on the Torah with a New English Translation

Hamilton 1982 Handbook on the Pentateuch

Kugel 1997 The Bible as It Was

Plaut 1981 The Torah: A Modern Commentary

Wenham 1994 Genesis 16-50

Westermann 1986 Genesis 37-50: A Commentary


Additional Resources




William L. Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1971).  A handy lexicon based on the highly reliable Koehler-Baumgartner lexicon.  Easy to use due to its alphabetical arrangement.


Clines, David J. A., The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew.  Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993-2001.  5 vols.  The dictionary utilizes a synchronic linguistic approach, as it examines the function of Hebrew words within the Hebrew literature.


Köhler, Ludwig, Walter Baumgartner, and Johann Jakob Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament.  Translated and edited by M. E. J. Richardson et al.   5 vols.  Leiden Brill, 1994-2000.  Now the standard lexicon for linguistic studies in Hebrew.  N.B.  The library has the CD ROM version of this lexicon.


Lexical Aids


Terry A. Armstrong, Douglas L. Busby, and Cyril F. Carr, eds., A Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament (4 vols.; now available vols. 1 and 2 bound together).  An indispensable help for the accelerated reading of the Hebrew Bible.


George M. Landes, Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary: Learning Words by Frequency and Cognate.  Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001.  Its earlier version A Student's Vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961) is still useful.  It lists words according to the number of occurrences as well as by cognate.


Larry A. Mitchel, A Student's Vocabulary for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984).  A vocabulary list by frequency of words appearing ten times or more in the Hebrew Bible.




Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (17th ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983; a.k.a. GKC).  As edited and enlarged by E. Kautzsch and A. E. Cowley.  This is a comprehensive reference grammar, though some parts are outdated.


Joüon, Paul.  A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew.  Translated and revised by T. Muraoka.  2 vols.  Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1991.  Currently, the most detailed grammar.


Thomas O. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971).  A very clear, solid teaching grammar; the author claims it is designed for a year of college grammar course, but probably more for an intermediate Biblical Hebrew.


Waltke, Bruce K. and M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax.  Winona Lakes, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990.  A detailed intermediate grammar with a special emphasis on syntax.




Solomon Mandelkern, Veteris Testamenti Concordantiae Hebraicae atque Chaldaicae (8th ed.; Jerusalem: Schocken Books, 1969).  Written in Latin and Hebrew only, and list words by binyan. 


Gerhard Lisowsky, Konkordanz zum hebräischen Alten Testament (Stuttgart: Württembergische Bibelanstalt, 1958).  Easy to use, though not complete.  Beautifully handwritten.


Abraham Even-Shoshan, ed.  A New Concordance of the Bible: Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible; Hebrew and Aramaic; Roots, Words, Proper Names; Phrases and Synonyms (Jerusalem: "Kiryat Sefer" Publishing House, 1985.  This concordance lists all Hebrew and Aramaic words of the Bible in one continuous alphabetical order.  You will need the cardinal numbers in Hebrew.


Other Aids


Gorman, Michael J., Exegesis of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers.  Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2001.


Kelly, Page H., Daniel S. Mynatt, and Timothy G. Crawford, The Masorah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Introduction and Annotated Glossary.  Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998.


Scott, William R., A Simplified Guide to BHS: Critical Apparatus, Masora, Accents, Unusual Letters & Other Markings.  Berkeley: BIBAL Press, 1987.

Stuart, Douglas.  Old Testament Exegesis: A Primer for Students and Pastors (2nd ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1984).


Wonneberger, Reinhard, Understanding the BHS: A Manual for the Users of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.  Translated by Dwight R. Daniels.  2nd ed.  Rome: Editrice Pontificio Instituto Biblico, 1990.




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