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HEBR131 Introductory Biblical Hebrew 1

A paper for beginners covering the basics of Biblical Hebrew grammar and vocabulary, to enable students to read the Hebrew Bible in the original.

This paper is an introduction to the main original language of the Hebrew Bible, spoken and written in ancient Israel and Judah in the first millennium BCE and almost certainly well known to Jesus Christ. We cover the Hebrew alefbet, the vowel signs and the basics of Hebrew grammar and syntax (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and the 'waw' conjunction). This paper is essential for anyone wanting to understand the Bible well. It also lays a sound basis for learning other languages that belong to the same language family as Hebrew, such as Aramaic, Akkadian, Ugaritic and Arabic.

Paper title Introductory Biblical Hebrew 1
Paper code HEBR131
Subject Hebrew
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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HEBX 131
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Any student who would like to learn ancient Hebrew.

Dr Katie Marcar - email:

Teaching staff

Dr Katie Marcar - email:

Paper Structure
This paper will be assessed by:
  • Four assignments (5% each)
  • Two tests (15% each)
  • One final examination (50%)
Teaching Arrangements

Campus and Distance: Three 1-hour lectures per week.

The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

Distance students participate in the class via a desktop videoconferencing programme called Zoom (available free of charge). Classes are recorded, and students who are unable to join classes can download the videos and watch them later.


Required: Ethelyn Simon, Irene Resnikoff, & Linda Motzkin (1992).The First Hebrew Primer, Third Edition. EKS Publishing.

Highly Recommended: T J Murphy (2003) Pocket Dictionary For The Study Of Biblical Hebrew, IVP Academic.

Course outline

View the course outline for HEBR131

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will

  • Understand the main principles of the grammar of biblical Hebrew
  • Have acquired a broad core vocabulary of the most common words used in the Hebrew Bible
  • Have read and understood basic Hebrew texts from the Bible

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 16:00-16:50 9-14, 16-22
Tuesday 16:00-16:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
Thursday 16:00-16:50 9-14, 16-22