Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 62:4 (Dec 2019)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Exegetical Gems from Biblical Hebrew: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation. By H. H. Hardy II. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019, xx + 202 pp., $19.99 paper.

Many Biblical Hebrew students struggle to see the practical payoff of learning the language. H. H. Hardy’s new book Exegetical Gems from Biblical Hebrew: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation is an excellent step toward remedying this unfortunate situation. Similar to its Biblical Greek companion volume (Benjamin L. Merkle, Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation [Baker Academic, 2019]), this book seeks to apply abstract concepts of Biblical Hebrew grammar to specific OT passages so students can gain motivation to learn Hebrew.

The book’s purpose is clearly laid out in the introduction, along with explanations of how to use the book and who might benefit from using the book. Hardy states that his aim is “to wrestle with key interpretative questions in specific passages and arrive at exegetically informed answers” (p. xiii) in light of a knowledge of Hebrew grammar and syntax. He intends, furthermore, that the volume be used by Hebrew students in their first year and beyond, as well as those looking to refresh their knowledge of Hebrew. To this end, Hardy recommends that teachers use the volume as a supplement to their grammatical instruction.

The bulk of the book is found in the thirty chapters that follow the introduction. The first three chapters cover non-grammatical topics: the Hebrew language, textual criticism, and lexical analysis. Most of the remaining chapters cover fundamental elements of Biblical Hebrew grammar: nouns (i.e. the construct state, definiteness), adjectives (i.e. adjective function), pronouns (i.e. the use of pronouns to mark topicalization, resumptive pronouns), verbs (i.e. qatal vs. wayyiqtol, yiqtol vs. wəqatal, the volitives, participles, the infinitives, stative vs. fientive verbs, impersonal verbs, voice and valency, the verbal stems and semantics), particles (i.e. negative particles, prepositions, directive he, interrogatives, כִּי and clause structure (i.e. verbless clauses, temporal clauses, relative clauses). The final chapter covers the pragmatics of הִנֵּה, specifically its discourse function of introducing newsworthy information.

Each chapter has a consistent format comprised of four sections: “Introduction,” “Overview,” “Interpretation,” and “Further Reading.” The “Introduction” section presents a biblical passage in Hebrew and an issue the passage raises for interpretation. The following “Overview” section sketches p...

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