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Introduction

In short, the genesis of this series of textbooks could be described as a quintessential example of the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

After teaching groups of non-academic students in South Africa and later in China, I realized that one of the greatest challenges I faced was to reassure the learners that biblical Hebrew was not insurmountable. Practically, this meant that only the material students needed to find the best literal
translation should be presented to them in the initial learning phase. It has been argued that current textbooks generally fail to achieve this goal. The reason for this is articulated by Cook and Holmstedt:

"Our concern for classroom pedagogy is based on the simple observation that many of the textbooks on the market provide the student with entirely too much information. We found ourselves instructing our students to skip entire sections in some of the textbooks we used."
(Cook & Holmstedt, 2009, p. i)

I was sharing this sentiment while teaching, and I found myself forever busy preparing handouts, focusing on the bare essentials, and avoiding pedantic material and controversial issues. The notes I took during this time later formed the core of this series. It is my sincere hope that my attempts at presenting the technicalities of biblical Hebrew in a more digestible form will enable especially the less academically inclined to progress more rapidly toward their goals.

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