A Hebrew Reader for Ruth

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"Vance has done a great service to Hebrew students wanting to make the transition from textbook to the biblical text. The book is warmly recommended."--Review of Biblical Literature

Anyone who has taught Classical Hebrew knows the importance and the difficulty of helping students make the transition from completing exercises in an introductory grammar to reading the biblical text on their own. Training students to use the reference grammars so that their learning of Hebrew can continue independently is particularly difficult. It is with this in mind that Hebrew Reader for Ruth was created.

Hebrew Reader for Ruth presents the complete Hebrew text of the book of Ruth, a verse-by-verse translation, and an analysis of every word, including morphology, meaning, and syntax. Further, utilizing all of the standard reference grammars, Vance references every discussion of Ruth found in them, usually including the discussion itself in quotation or in summary.

The book of Ruth makes an excellent first text for students of Classical Hebrew, with its interesting story and standard grammar (including a number of feminine verb forms), and Hebrew Reader for Ruth is intended for classroom and personal study. Worksheets are also available to facilitate and reinforce learning by providing space for students to parse each form and translate each verse.

The Author

  1. Donald R. Vance

    Donald R. Vance

    Donald R. Vance, associate professor of biblical languages and literature at Oral Roberts University, studied Northwest Semitic Philology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and received a PhD in Biblical Interpretation from the Joint...

    Continue reading about Donald R. Vance


"This volume places a valuable tool in the hands of the teacher of Classical Hebrew for use in the college classroom. The Reader is designed to help bridge the gap between elementary grammars and their exercises and the biblical text itself that often still appears daunting to the student after the foundational year of Hebrew study. It provides training in the use of reference grammars, so as to fit the student to be out on his or her own, translating and exegeting the biblical text. . . . This reviewer learned much from the discipline of working through the Hebrew text of Ruth using the reader. The volume lends itself for use as a textbook in a semester length study of the text of Ruth by the intermediate student of Hebrew."--Reformed Theological Review

"The aim Vance pursues is to provide teachers with a textbook guide so as to simplify students' first approach to ancient Hebrew. The choice of Ruth is quite appropriate for this because of its length, narrow semantic field, and running, captivating story. Workbooks are also available on the Internet, so that the vocabulary and grammar taught can be fixed by piratical exercises. Oftentimes, the original language of the Bible is disregarded because of its difficulty and lack of books planned specifically for beginners. The best way to teach is to catch the learner's interest, and nothing seems better to do it than the fascinating, easy-to-read story of David's ancestors with this useful linguistic and grammatical assistance. Now Vance's edition helps students to attain a thorough reading comprehension--but there still remains the hardest duty for teachers, i.e. showing their students the way to probe into the infinite wealth of this fabulous tale."--Association of Jewish Libraries

"The complete Hebrew text of the book of Ruth is here followed by a formal and grammatical analysis of each Hebrew word, often with reference to standard Hebrew Grammars. . . . Bound to be a classic for the academic classroom--and very useful for those who prefer to work through the text without a teacher."--International Review of Biblical Studies

"Vance has done a great service to Hebrew students wanting to make the transition from textbook to the biblical text. The book is warmly recommended."--Review of Biblical Literature

"Those who work their way through a verse first without the Reader, and then look to the Reader for confirmation and correction and further instruction, will develop their Hebrew skills more surely than those who just read the Reader, but any apprentice Hebraist can derive benefit from Vance's work."--Reformed Theological Review

"[Vance's] experience in the classroom is evident in this study of the Hebrew text of the book of Ruth written primarily for students attempting their first analysis of a complete classical Hebrew text. The book of Ruth is ideal for such a venture as it is short enough for students to enjoy the challenge of grappling with a complete text. The author recognizes his readership may not have developed confidence in reading a full Hebrew text, but he helps them to put into practice the fundamental grammar that they have learned. One of the attractive features of this book is its layout, which is ideally suited for close textual analysis. Each verse is laid out clearly so that students unfamiliar with the more complex pointings can navigate the text easily. . . . One of the more valuable elements of the book is the way in which several translations of a particular word or phrase are suggested. . . . The emphasis throughout remains, however, on understanding the text rather than on a comprehensive analysis of points of translation. What distinguishes this book from other reference grammars is the way in which Vance introduces the student to the wealth of lexica and reference works now available. His bibliography may not be extensive but his citation of key commentators . . . add[s] significantly to the translation and the exploration of the text. Traditional grammatical terminology and its uses for interpreting the text are clearly presented. This allows less-experienced students to grasp the essentials. More advanced scholars will appreciate the unbiased translation as well as the numerous critical references."--Irish Theological Quarterly

"As an introductory course to Biblical Hebrew, the choice of the Book of Ruth is a judicious one, since it does not present major difficulties. This Hebrew Reader of the Book of Ruth is a valuable tool 'for individual study and for classroom use,' as stated in the Preface. . . . For each single verse, the Hebrew text is given, followed by an English translation and a word for word explanation of the Hebrew. References to grammars and dictionaries are provided, whenever necessary or useful for further study. The Hebrew font selected is clear (dots and accents are easy to read). The explanations are accurate. . . . The Hebrew Reader by Vance is definitely to be recommended."--Theoforum

"The great value of Vance's work is the inclusion of links to standard reference grammars and other well-known tools. In many cases these links include a summary or quotation from the source cited. By conveniently collecting these references in one place, Vance's work will save busy students a great deal of time."--Bibliotheca Sacra

"I agree with Vance's pronouncement that Ruth is an excellent choice as a first text for introductory students. . . . The work has the advantage of the availability of workbook sheets on the Internet."--Journal of the American Oriental Society

"[A]n excellent resource for the teacher and student, especially the independent student."--Seminary Studies

"I believe that the author is on to something for the beginner. . . . I will recommend it to my students."--Hebrew Studies Journal