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Bibliography of Reference Tools for Biblical Hebrew

Works in the Graham Library are marked with an asterisk*

1. General Works

*Danker, Frederick W. Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study. Revised and expanded ed. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1993.
This volume included insightful comments on many of the standard tools in Biblical studies. A good source to get an overview on what is of value in the field.

*Waldman, Nahum. The Recent Study of Hebrew: A Survey of the Literature with Selected Bibliography. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1989.
An excellent jumping-off point for studying most things related to Hebrew. Includes a bibliography of almost 200 pages.

2. Texts

*Green, J. (ed and trans.). The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English: With Strong Concordance Numbers Above Each Word. 2nd ed. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1986.

*Kohlenberger III, J.R. (ed.). The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament. 4 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979-85. Now available in a single volume.

*Torah, Nevi’im u-Ketubim: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Ed by R. Kittel, A. Alt, O. Eissfeldt and P. Kahle. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1977. Available online through UTL here.
Widely referred to as BHS, it is based on the Leningrad Codex (a facsimile copy of which is in the Graham Library at BT 15.5 L46) and is the standard text for academic work. The proposed emendations found in the apparatus are often arbitrary and so should be treated with some caution. An explanation of the symbols and Latin abbreviations may be found in Scott (1987) or Wonneberger (1990). It is now available from the same publisher in a smaller, more durable format.

3. Guides to Texts

*Scott, W. R. A Simplified Guide to BHS: Critical Apparatus, Masora, Accents, Unusual Letters and Other Markings. Berkeley, CA: Bibal Press, 1987.
A concise and affordable guide to the abbreviations and apparatus in BHS.

*Wonneberger, R. Understanding BHS: A Manual for the Users of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Subsidia Biblica. Vol. 8. 2nd ed. Translated by D.R. Daniels. Rome: Editrice Pontifico Istituto Biblico, 1990. More detailed than Scott. Included indices and a helpful section evaluating strengths and weaknesses of BHS.

*Yeivin, Israel. Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah. Translated and edited by E.J. Revell. Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1980. Provides a detailed introduction to the system of cantillation in the Masoretic Text, information almost always lacking or inadequate in BH grammars.

4. Text-critical Reference Works

*Brotzman, E.R. Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016. Brief and affordable. Includes section on the transmission of the Hebrew text and the versions.

*McCarter Jr., P.K. Textual Criticism: Recovering the Text of the Hebrew Bible. Guides to Biblical Scholarship. Old Testament Guides. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986.
Brief. Includes helpful glossary. Tends to emphasize the importance of the LXX.

*Tov, E. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. 3rd ed., 2012. The most important comprehensive treatment in English. Emphasizes contribution of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

*Weingreen, J. Introduction to the Critical Study of the Text of the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

5. Concordances

*Evan-Shoshan, A. (ed.). A New Concordance of the Torah, Nebi’im and Ketubim: Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible, Hebrew and Aramaic Roots Words, Proper Names, Phrases and Synonyms. Jerusalem: Kiryat Sefer, 1983. A valuable tool. Lists every root and form in the Hebrew Bible. Book, chapter and verse references are in Hebrew. An English-language format from Baker is entitled, A New Concordance of the Old Testament.

*Wigram, G.V. (ed.). The New Englishman’s Hebrew-Aramaic Concordance. Coded to the Strong’s Concordance Numbering System. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1984.

Lisowski, G. Konkordanz zum hebraischen Alten Testament, nach dem von Paul Kahle in der Biblia Hebraica edidit Rudolf Kittel besorgten Masorertischen Text. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993.

6. Lexicons

Brown, F., S.R. Driver & C.A. Briggs (ed.), A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic. Corrected ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006. (Graham has the 1860 and 1907 eds.; there are many editions at other TST libraries). Known by the abbreviation BDB. For years the standard lexicon in English. Features the text of the 1907 edition with an appendix of corrections. Arranged according to root. Includes etymological information from Arabic, Syraic, Aramaic, etc. Published before the Ugaritic material became available.

*Brown, F., S.R. Driver & C.A. Briggs (ed.), The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon, with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1979. Based on the 1907 edition with the addition of an index containing the Strong’s numbering system. An affordable alternative to the Oxford University Press edition.

*Clines, D.J.A., P.R. Davies & J.W. Rogerson (ed.), The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew., 5 vols., Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993-2001. This most recent and thorough lexicon in English covers classical Hebrew down to 200 AD. It includes much non-Biblical material, but does not, unfortunately, list etymologies. Volumes 2 and 3 are less ambitious in scope that volume 1.

*Davidson, B. The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1956. Many other copies at TST Libraries. Contains parsing information for each word in the Old Testament. Originally published in 1848, this volume has been superseded by Owens.

*Holladay, W.L. (ed.), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, based on the Lexical Work of Ludig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1971. An easy-to-use lexicon suitable for use by beginning and intermediate students

*Koehler, L., W. Baumgartner and J.J. Stamm (ed.), The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament., 3 vols. Revised edition translated and edited by M.E.J. Richardson. Leiden: Brill, 1994. Based on the 3rd German translation. This edition improves upon deficiencies in the English translation found in the 1951 edition. Included cognates in Roman script. Only the first volume published thus far.

7. Theological Dictionaries

*Botterweck, G.J. & H.Ringgren (ed.), Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Translated by J.T. Willis. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974-2001.11 vols. Originally published in German. To date 11 volumes have appeared in English.

*Harris, R. L., G.L. Archer & B.K. Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament., 2 vols., Chicago, IL; Moody, 1980. Similar in format to Botterweck, but much shorter and more conservative.

*Jenni, E. & C. Westermann (ed.), Theologisches Handworterbuch zum Alten Testament. 3 vols., Munchen: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1997. Other copies at TST Libraries.
Includes a handy index to additional forms used within individual entries.

*VanGemeren, W.A. (ed.), New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis. 5 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1997. Volumes 1-3 contain lexical articles, volume 4 topical articles and volume 5, indices.

8. Reading Helps

Armstrong, T.A., D.L. Busby & C.F. Carr. A reader’s Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament. 4 vols. In 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1982-88. All Hebrew words used 50 times or less arranged by chapter and verse. Now available in a single volume.

Einspahr, B., Index to the Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon. Revised ed. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1977. Lists vocabulary by chapter and verse with page numbers to Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon. An easy way to become familiar with using BDB.

Mitchel, L.A., A Student’s Vocabulary for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984. Lists vocabulary by frequency for efficient memorization.

Owens, J.J. Analytical key to the Old Testament. 4 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1989-92. Gives parsing information for each word and form in the Hebrew Bible.

9. Grammars

Blau, Joshua. Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. 2nd, amended edition. Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz, 1993. Blau offers some introductory insights into the historical development of the language without the clutter of jargon seen in more advanced tools. He is also particularly strong in the area of phonology and morphology.

Gesenius, W., E.Kautzsch & A.E. Cowley (ed.), Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910. For years the most detailed reference grammar available in English.

Horsnell, Malcolm J.A. A Review and Reference Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Rev. ed. Hamilton: McMaster University Press, 1999. This is a transitional tool for those who have completed a year of study in Biblical Hebrew, but are still uncomfortable with the use of a reference grammar. It offers some historical detail beyond the scope of an introductory grammar.

Hostteter, Edwin C. An Elementary Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000. The latest introductory grammar available. At a glance, the only advancement it offers is its brevity. This leaves the work open to criticism over lack of detail. Seow (below), in contrast, has been criticized for an over abundance of detail.

Jouon, Paul. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. Subsidia Biblica. 2 vols. Translated and revised by T. Muraoka. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1993. Volume 1 deals with orthography, phonetics and morphology, while volume 2 covers syntax. Not as detailed as Gesenius (1910), but more accessible and up-to-date.

Kittel, B.P., V.Hoffer & R.A. Wright (ed.), Biblical Hebrew: A Text and Workbook. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989.

Lambdin, T.O. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. New York: Scribner, 1971.Long the standard introductory grammar.

Merwe, C.H.J. van der. A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999. A recent reference grammar incorporating recent advances in Biblical Hebrew syntactical structures lending coherence to textual units beyond the sentence.

Putnam, F.C. (ed.), A Cumulative Index to the Grammar and Syntax of Biblical Hebrew. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1996. Indexes by scripture verse the examples found in 14 major grammars and syntaxes. A good way to find discussions of problematic passages.

Seow, C.L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1995 (2nd ed.). Answer key published separately and available only for the first edition. The revised edition has significantly altered the content of the exercises following each lesson and thus rendered the answer key obsolete.

10. Syntax

*Waltke, B. & M. O’Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990. Much-needed update to Gesenius. Supersedes Williams’ syntax (below).

Williams, R. Hebrew Syntax: An Outline. 2nd ed. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1976. Brief treatment with helpful examples.

11. Electronic Resources

ATLA Religion Index Database

This database indexes periodical literature and multi-author works related to Biblical studies. To search for essays/articles/reviews on a particular scripture text, go to the “Scriptures” tab on the main search screen. Type in the scripture reference (using the prescribed abbreviations or scroll down to the one (s) you want. You can search by scripture reference or by Hebrew term. To search for essays/articles/reviews on a particular Hebrew term, go to the Subject field on the main search screen, and go to Browse. Type in “Hebrew Language” and scroll down to the alphabetical listing you require.

Original version by Brian Irwin, 12 Feb. 1998; updated (with contributions from Bernon Lee) by Tom Power Nov. 2012; revised August 2021 AFJ