Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BBR 25:3 (2015) p. 371
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: A Reader’s Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014 / Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2014. Pp. xxv + 1765. ISBN 978-3-438-05225-4 (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft); 978-1-59856-342-9 (Hendrickson). $59.95 cloth.
Students of the Bible owe a debt of gratitude to Donald R. Vance, George Athas, and Yael Avrahami for compiling this wonderful volume. Jointly published with the German Bible Society, the Reader’s Edition is based on the fifth edition of BHS edited by Adrian Schenker (1997). In their introduction, the editors make clear their intention to provide a resource for more effectively learning Classical Hebrew, assisting its students amid the catch-22 of learning vocabulary to read Hebrew and reading Hebrew to learn vocabulary. To this end, the Reader’s Edition is aimed at “students with one year or more” of training in the language (p. vii).
The book offers many features that make it valuable to both students and more advanced scholars. To start with, the text is nicely laid out, with a pleasant font in a good size and weight. The paper is heavy enough to resist bleed-through, and the binding is sturdy enough to support this large volume. Due to the in-text notes, the editors could not precisely replicate the layout of BHS, and they have occasionally adjusted colometry “for the sake of clarity” (p. xv). They also decided to alter the presentation of kethiv/qere variants, such that the kethiv appears unpointed in the text, but is presented along with the qere in the apparatus with vocalization. This certainly improves the readability of the text.
Every word appearing 70 times or fewer is glossed on the pages where they appear, with words appearing more frequently provided in a glossary at the back, including proper nouns. For reference, Zondervan’s 2008 A Reader’s Hebrew Bible glosses words appearing 100 times or fewer. In addition, the Reader’s Edition parses all verb forms with weak roots regardless of frequency, except for some “very common” forms such as יִתֵּן, אָמַר, or עֲשׂוֹת (p. viii). Those forms are listed alphabetically and parsed in the back. Glosses are contextual and drawn from the standard reference works. Where there is room for question the editors claim to have chosen a gloss that most closely reflects the “base meaning of the word” in a given context (p. viii).
The in-text notes are keyed by verse number to the apparatus using lower case, superscripted lettering. For example, the three noted words in Judg 9:4 appear as follows: ו...
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