“Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary,” Three Months in.

Putting together Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary by Conceptual Categories: A Student’s Guide to Nouns in the Old Testament was NOT fun. Like Santa, I spent a summer making lists and checking them twice—and then three and four times, and then a fifth time for good measure.

Since this debutante came to the ball (Amazon) three months ago, then, it’s been satisfying to watch her woo the suitors (reviewers). One professor in my program, known for not being easily satisfied, raved to me about how well put-together the resource is. I used it myself when writing a paper on gendered imagery in the Song of Songs. That paper won a departmental award!

Zondervan was generous in sending out several review copies to known biblio-bloggers. The first to take the bait, Jacob Cerone, writes:

My only complaint about the guide is that I didn’t have it at my disposal almost a decade ago when I started learning Hebrew.

Then John Kight at Sojourner Theology:

Pleins has done a great service to students of the Old Testament and I sense that his approach will be utilized more broadly in the coming years. … I couldn’t recommend it more highly!

Lastly, prolific blogger Phil Long at Reading Acts put up his review:

This is a fascinating resource for anyone who has already acquired the basic vocabulary of the Hebrew Bible … The book is both a unique and useful reference for students of the Hebrew Bible.

Phil has over 3,000 subscribers—this was a big endorsement. When he posted his review, I watched the book’s Amazon Best Sellers Rank spike upwards from the 300,000s to the 42,000s over the next few days! Thanks, Phil!

Still, at times I explain the book and I get a quizzical look: so what? What’s the purpose? How can it deepen exegesis?

Answering this question, I’ve prepared a series of blog posts on how to use the book to deepen studies of biblical imagery, historical linguistics, and archaeology. They’ll be starting soon over at the LAB—The Logos Academic Blog. I’ll be linking to them here when they start.

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