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Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar [Hardcover]

By H. F. W. Gesenius (Author), E. Kautzsch (Editor) & A. E. Cowley (Editor)
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Item description for Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar by H. F. W. Gesenius, E. Kautzsch & A. E. Cowley...

The classic grammar for Hebrew students! This is the second English edition, edited by A.E. Cowley. The many indexes make this grammar a superb reference work---it has not been surpassed in a century. Hardcover from Oxford, 614 pages.

Publishers Description
With a facsimile of the Siloam Inscription by: Euting, J.;

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press
Pages   614
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 6.25" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 1993
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0198154062  
ISBN13  9780198154068  

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > General
2Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > Instruction > Instruction
3Books > Subjects > Reference > General
4Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Study & Teaching

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Reviews - What do customers think about Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar?

Poor edition of a great book  May 17, 2007
I recently bought Oxford's hardcover edition and its a damn shame that for the price of the book what you get is a glued photocopy of the original edition. I won't get into the content of the book. Gesenius' work is legendary for those interested in the subject. But I do warn those interested in this edition of what they'll get. It is sad that such a fine publishing house as OUP is getting into the habit of selling expensive editions of books that basically amount to a cheap reprint of the original. Instead of advertising it as expensive hardcover editions they should be more frank about what they are really delivering.
Reference piece of note but difficult to read  Jan 25, 2006
This grammar book would have been the best available. It has everything one needs - simple word forms, complex usages and useful tables. It has a syntax section (a must for really understanding a language) and groups the different parts in a logical and straightforward manner.

It is fully comprehensive and I use this book as the standard reference.

However it fails in other respects. It takes a lot of time to get used to the layout (I've been using it for 4 years and I still find it hard to look up information). Its notes, however useful, are not as clearly distinct from the text. And when I wanted a simple translation of the form under discussion, I found it difficult to find.

The Tables at the back were very useful, but the noun-forms, also central to understanding, were in the middle, and not in the back.

I found the print also difficult to read. But perhaps this was due to my edition, which is older.

Beginners and even Scholars would probably find: "A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew" by Jacob Weingreen more useful, and user-friendly.

Personally, I use both, together with Hebrew Syntax an Outline
by Ronald J. Williams and 501 Hebrew Verbs as a set that would be most helpful. A good Dictionary such as The Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary by Reuben Alcalay is a must as well.

Unfortunately I would really like to give This complete and comprehensive Hebrew grammar a higher rating - 4/5 stars, but the layout and difficulties in reading add to the fact that the english is out-moded (written in the early 1920s), and is really for scholars than the layman. It is a very comprehensive, detailed reference piece however, and for scholars these issues are less of a problem.
Standard Reference Grammar for BH in English  Aug 7, 2003
Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar is the standard reference grammar in English for Biblical Hebrew. Anyone serious about reading and translating Hebrew Bible will need a copy on their shelf for reference, when things get difficult. The book is well indexed, so navigation is not too difficult. There is also a scriptural index, so finding entries that directly relate to a passage that you are working on may be found. The verbal paradigms are in the back of the book. They are complete. Given the age of the text, the language used to describe grammatical and syntactic features may be unfamiliar to people trained in modern linguistics.

All this said, I like Waltke and O'Connors' Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax better. I frequently end up consulting multiple sources when really stuck, so it pays to have both.

By far the best in Hebrew Grammars  Mar 25, 2003
I have used many other grammars in my studies of Biblical Hebrew and none have been as helpful as this one. I would seriously consider selling the others if they were not required texts for my future studies. His handling of Hebrew and cognate languages will give a student a much deeper knowledge than many of the modern grammars targeted at a lazier student audience.
A "Must Have," and Worth All the Work Needed to Read It  Jan 16, 2002
Whether one is taking formal education classes or is seeking to read Biblical Hebrew on his/her own, this text will have to become part of the personal library. There are grammatical issues in Hebrew that are never explained in 1st-year grammars, but one will need to know them, and Gesenius provides this.

I recommend reading this book from cover to cover at least twice: once as a studious overview, secondly as a serious study, maybe putting notes into your Hebrew text. But the following explanation is needed: there are portions of information that do not have to be known too thoroughly to understand what one is reading in the Hebrew Tanach. Much of the information is analytical more from a linguistics standpoint. In other words, don't think you need to know everything in the book. But embedded within the optional information is other information one will need; so all the book must be read.

The book can be broken down into 3 levels:
1. That which every serious student must know. This would mean that most of the book needs to be known, with probably placing details into your Hebrew text for reference. This text is especially needed for grammatical variations not found in basic grammars (e.g., a rare form of the infinitive used with intransitive verbs; the fem. objective affix seemingly having no antecedent, but actually having a previous phrase or clause for its antecedent, regardless of gender, Gen. 15:6); the ignoring of gender at times, etc. Like any other language, Hebrew has grammatical structures that have "broken the rules."

2. That which is interesting to know and which may or may not really help in translation. This would, for instance, include some of the heavier details concerning rules for vowel changes, etc.

3. That which surely does not need to be known to read and understand Hebrew. This information is for people who are grammar geeks, who need to know how things work even though not knowing this information will not hurt anyone's communication skills. Much of this has to do with comparing Hebrew with other Semitic and European languages. It's interesting, and in other fields, it is important; but for the Hebrew reader, this tends to be ineffectual in helping the student who is learning to read Hebrew. Don't be discouraged by this stuff as you read the book; read it and move on.

Just as with English, volumes can be written on how a language works, and Gesenius provides this. But no one needs to know the most intricate circuitry to communicate. For instance, speakers in English say, "If he were to go, I would stay." The rule for having a plural verb for the singular pronoun is: "3rd person singular subjunctive uses a plural verb." Most people don't know this, and yet they speak correctly. The same is true with Hebrew: You can get overloaded with the details, and yet without those details a student of Hebrew won't have a problem.

As one progresses in the book, the information becomes more practical in a sense, moving away from all the technical analysis of language and moving into what is really needed for anyone to do translation.

But, it is also true that while all this information should be reviewed because of its historical important in the process of understanding Hebrew, it is also necessary to know that there are significant points in this grammar that have been proven to be untrue. Such updated information can be found in Waltke & O'Connors "Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax," another, and even more so, must have.


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