programs

Biblical Hebrew

Multnomah University offers one of the finest Hebrew programs in the country. Designed for long-term retention, our program focuses on helping you understand how the language works and then providing a solid grounding in Hebrew by having you read as extensively as possible. Whether pursuing Hebrew Studies as a career or simply for personal enrichment, you will never regret the time you spend learning Hebrew and the insights it gives you into the biblical text.

These seminary programs require you to take biblical language classes:

  • MA in Biblical Studies (MABS)
  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
  • Master of Theology (Th.M.)

If you want to earn one of these degrees, consult with your academic advisor about how a Hebrew concentration will fit into your program.  

MU Hebrew Concentration

This program is designed to help you become an informed reader of the text. Two years of Hebrew form the backbone of our program. After the two years of prescribed courses, all Hebrew elective classes will be open to you.

Courses

  • First-year Hebrew Grammar - Learn the basics of Hebrew grammar and translate extensively from the story of Joseph (a graded reader), Ruth, Jonah and portions of Esther.
  • Second-year Hebrew Reading - Learn to find and express the meaning of a text through exegesis and thoughtful translation. Translate passages from the life of David (I-II Samuel and Psalms) and Ecclesiastes.
  • Third-year Hebrew Exegesis Seminar - This is our pride and joy, our capstone course. In a seminar setting, you will discuss the translation, interpretation, and significance of Isaiah, Deuteronomy, or Job (based on a three-year rotation).
  • Advanced Grammar & Composition - Develop and internalize your Hebrew skills through the study of Hebrew morphology, grammar and syntax. Practice composing narrative and poetic texts in Hebrew.
  • Issues in Exegesis - Develop an understanding of how textual criticism, comparative philology and literary theory apply to the analysis of biblical texts.
  • Aramaic - Learn the basics of Aramaic grammar and translate the Aramaic sections of Scripture as well as selections from ancient inscriptions, Elephantine papyri and Targums.
  • Extra-biblical Hebrew seminar - Trace Jewish interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Targums, Midrashic texts, Babylonian Talmud and medieval rabbinic commentators. Attention is given to texts relevant to the study of the New Testament.

Note: Consult with your advisor to ensure that you fulfill the appropriate advanced elective requirements for your program. 

What if I really struggle learning languages?

Then you are exactly the kind of student that makes us love our jobs — because we know you can learn Hebrew! Probably the greatest difficulty for students to overcome is their fear of languages in general. We could explain to you how we introduce an oral component from the first day, encourage the community learning environment, teach students how the language works rather than just force mass memorization, or put you right into the text so that the joy of reading the Word affects you immediately, but the truth is — you just have to trust us. You are not the only person who believes they struggle with languages, but we have never had one who hasn’t learned to read. In fact, some of those who absolutely fall in love with Hebrew would tell you that they are not language people at all. We promise all our students that, if they will trust us and will work hard, they will be able to read Hebrew.

If I am a super geek, why would I love this program?

Because it’s awesome. We are crazy excited about our jobs and, as a result, there will never be a dull moment in our classes. While we have designed a program that will enable even a language-challenged student to learn to read, it is also flexible enough to push you as far as you want to go in your learning. It is not uncommon for a student to far exceed our rigorous course expectations. We meet with advanced students outside of class on a weekly basis to read and dialogue. There are groups of students who regularly meet to read together —even over the summer months. Students who excel and have a heart for teaching are invited to become part of our tutoring program, and we incorporate tutors, TA’s, interns and practicum students into the teaching process wherever possible. This year our students in the advanced courses will get to work with Dr. Kutz on a previously unseen Dead Sea Scroll fragment and will be included in his publication on that project.

Meet Your Professors

  • Dr. Rebekah Josberger Dr. Rebekah Josberger Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament
  • Dr. Karl Kutz Dr. Karl Kutz Biblical Languages Chair, Bible and Biblical Languages