Saturday, December 15, 2007

Review: Williams Hebrew Syntax

Today, I reviewed Williams Hebrew Syntax at amazon. I have included the review below.

Beckman thoroughly revised and expanded Williams’ original work without losing it’s genius. He includes a concise and informative explanation for each grammatical category and gives a literal interlinear and idiomatic translation for every example. Beckman has helped all future Hebrew students with his extensive footnotes. For every category, he gives a footnote with the section number of the same category in the five major reference grammars—A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar, Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Gesenius, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, and Joüon. Thus, he made his grammar into an index of all grammars.

Despite these advances, I have one minor criticism. The authors do no include a separate section on hinneh, “behold.” This particle plays a key role in many constructions as evidenced in the grammar. However, the student must flip though the whole book to find these uses when they should be together. Perhaps the authors left this out to save space but they could at least include hinneh in the Hebrew word or subject indexes. I hope a future edition could correct this very minor oversight

I use this grammar every time I read Hebrew. When I arrive at a construction I need help with, I reach for William’s Hebrew Syntax first. Usually, I am satisfied with his description but if I need more I use his footnotes to quickly find the appropriate section in an advanced grammar. Beckman has made a grammar that is ideal for quick reading while also acting as gateway to more advanced study. I recommend all students buy Williams Hebrew Syntax and either Bruce K. Waltke and M. O'Connor An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax or Paul Jouon and T. Muraoka A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. With this combination, you can quickly look up constructions without flipping though thousands of pages and still have access to advanced information when you need it.

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