A Hebrew Reader of BHS

For the last couple of years, I’ve been collaborating with my good friends, Don Vance and Yael Avrahami, on a publication for Hendrickson. It’s a Hebrew Reader of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia—something we believe will make a great tool for students of Biblical Hebrew.

Basically, the reader will include the entire BHS text (ie. the Masoretic Text of Codex Leningradensis), and the bottom of each page will feature footnotes with vocabulary and parsing details (in place of the text critical apparatus) in textual order. Each word with a footnote is marked within the BHS text with a notation. The layout of the footnotes is presented in a format that is visually easy to follow (two columns, each verse with its own paragraph). We deal with all vocabulary occurring 200 times or less, and aim for contextual glosses. We also employ a parsing code that gives full parsing details of all words marked. The whole Hebrew Bible is covered and will be bound in a single volume.

The reader is designed to enable students of Biblical Hebrew to read the text without continual recourse to another resource in order to get the meaning of words. It is a tool that does not spoon feed, but rather gives enough information for the reader of the text to figure things out on their own, and to do so relatively quickly. We hope that this tool will get people reading the text, acclimatising to the language, improving their reading proficiency and comprehension skills, and feeling generally more comfortable with the Hebrew Bible.

Date of publication: To be announced. The Hebrew Bible is A LOT of text, folks. Much of it has been completed already, but there’s still a way to go.


21 thoughts on “A Hebrew Reader of BHS

  1. Pingback: A Hebrew Reader of BHS – on its way « Forget the Channel

  2. Hey George,

    This sounds fantastic!

    I’ve just got one question: what parsing code are you going with? (i.e. ‘perfect’ or ‘qatal’, etc?)

    • The parsing code was developed by William Sanford LaSor in his Handbook of Biblical Hebrew. The code itself is neutral, assigning numerical values to ‘suffix conjugations’ and ‘prefix conjugations’ with a notation for ‘consecutive’ (or ‘retentive’ as we label it). So it works with whichever nomenclature you care to use.

  3. Sounds interesting. I hope they don’t print it on thin Bible paper the way Zondervan did theirs. What are you using for a base lexicon?


    • We have the same hope, James. We’ll see how the logistics of producing such a volume turn out. Our base lexicon has been HALOT, but we haven’t stuck to it slavishly. We’ve consulted other sources as well, and when a word is difficult to pin down, we often list what some of the English versions opt for (sometimes they can be significantly different). The main task, though, has been to produce vocabulary that’s ‘constructively aligned’ with the context.

    • John,

      Software like that already exist both for the PC and for the Mac. The SESB has the standard critical apparatii for the BHS and the NA.

      The upcoming ninth version BibleWorks will have the full Center for New Testament Textual Studies Critical Apparatus! BW’s 8 already had Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the New Testament and Tischendorf’s textual apparatus plus the The Text Of The Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, by Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett.

      However, this Post was not about software, but about an actual book! I am looking forward to the release of the, Hebrew Reader of BHS.

      George Athas,
      Is that a photo of the Tikkun Korim printed by K’tav house on your banner?

      • I just saw the BW9 app. It looks great. Who would have imagined this 10 years ago. Now… if they could just teach students of Biblical Greek real Biblical Greek and not the modern form of Biblical Greek that has become the mainstay like the NA27

  4. I’ll be studying Hebrew next year in college and am really looking forward to it: I love languages. I’d be interested in reading your book when it’s published.

  5. I am excited to hear about this release! Will it be comparable to the UBS readers edition hardcover and/or paperback? Any thoughts of compiling these into one volume? I know I will benefit thoughout my future studies and worship for the work you are doing now. The Greek reader has a fantastic layout and studying not a daunting task. Keep up the good work

    • Yes, Dave, it will be comparable. It’s not my call as to whether they could be made into a single volume, but I suspect not. The BHS Reader will itself be a large volume in its own right, so a combined edition might just be too cumbersome. But as I said, it’s not my call.

      Thanks for your encouragement!

  6. Any update on a release date? I’m holding off on purchasing a hebrew reader, as I assume this one will be superior to the Zondervan version.

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