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The present volume is designed to offer such assistance as the subject renders desirable and feasible. It seeks to profit by the experience of previous efforts, and to avoid the defects which have proved injurious to the student's sure and regular progress.
It contains all that is necessary in order to acquire the broad outlines of the language; but it contains no more, that an abundance of detail may not encumber the first and most difficult steps of the beginner.
It observes an arrangement so strictly systematic and graduated, that it may, or rather must, be followed, closely and steadily, from section to section; and it absolutely refrains from irregular anticipations, so that the learner may be enabled, almost spontaneously, to understand the character and organism of the language. In this respect, we hope that the study of Hebrew, like that of the classical languages, will be found to subserve one of the highest ends of education—the logical training of the reflective powers, and to partake, in some measure, of the strictness of mathematical sequence. This method of treatment is, indeed, more especially favoured by the wonderful consistency of Hebrew inflection, but it is, to a certain extent, also applicable to the Syntax, which, however simple and rudimentary, is so distinctly pervaded by unity of principle that it would be difficult to separate the general laws on which the structure of the language rests, from the individual modes of expression, which follow from those laws by the easiest deductions. The Syntax has, therefore, almost completely been included in this introductory volume.
We have thus tried to simplify the subject matter without curtailing its dimensions, and stating the rules with the utmost plainness, to meet the capacities of the youngest beginner, without repelling students of maturer years or more advanced attainments.
But as experience proves that rules are insufficient unless at once fixed in the mind by example and practice, all the chief sections are accompanied by exercises, the selection of which required the greater care, as it is not always easy to find in Hebrew an adequate number of illustrations unobjectionable in every respect, and involving no anomalies that might perplex the learner.
All the examples actually occur in the Books of the Hebrew Canon, in a few instances slightly modified or adapted ; and fictitious forms and phrases, which imperceptibly vitiate the feeling for the genius of the language, have been scrupulously excluded. Thus, it is hoped, every step which the scholar advances in the Grammar, will yield to him some addition to a practical acquaintance with the Old Testament, the fathoming of which, it may be presumed, is his principal aim in devoting his zeal to the Hebrew language.'
For it should not be forgotten, that the Grammar is only the vestibule of the temple which enshrines the literature; it is, indeed, true that “the Scriptures cannot be understood theologically, unless they shall first have been understood grammatically”;a but an exact and comprehensive acquaintance with the treasures of the Bible, its facts and ideas, is the end to which every exertion should contribute ; and the very examples which the student finds in the Grammar, should make him feel the wealth of information stored up in the Scriptures, and should urge him to hasten to that inexhaustible mine of religious and historical knowledge. For this reason, the present volume concludes with selections, varied in character and contents, taken from all divisions of the Hebrew Bible; and they are furnished with the necessary aids of notes, references, and vocabularies.
The Second Part of this work completes and fills up the outlines drawn in the First. It embodies the exceptional forms and constructions, points out their divergence from the fundamental rules or principles, and endeavours to explain the nature of the anomalies ; and forming a Grammatical Thesaurus of the Hebrew Tongue, it is intended to guide and assist the student in a critical analysis of the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Preface prefixed to it will be found a more detailed account of its scope and character, and there we have also pointed out how it should be used in connection with the First Part.
A Key to the Exercises, which has been published, will prove useful to private students, and may facilitate the task of masters.
The author has repeatedly been requested to prepare an abridged edition of this First Volume, but he has found it impossible to act on the suggestion. The matter has, throughout, been so selected and arranged that each section forms the indispensable preliminary to the following portions, and hardly a single rule could be omitted without destroying that completeness of system which it is a main
Scriptura non potest intelligi theo- | matice. — Noldii Concordantiae parlogice, nisi prius intelligatur gram- | ticularum ; Praef.
object of this work to impress upon the student's mind. For it is such systematic knowledge alone that can be of any value to him, not only from a scientific, but even from a practical point of view; he will not only better understand, but more rapidly acquire, the Hebrew language, if he tries to penetrate into its intricacies step by step, and his patience at the outset is sure to be rewarded by so regular a progress afterwards, and by such an intelligent familiarity with the idiom, that he cannot fail to reap from his efforts the greatest profit and satisfaction; whereas those who, at the commencement of their studies, are content with using meagre and desultory abridgments, and allow themselves to be deceived by specious and illusory accomplishments, commonly obtain no more than dim and misty notions of the language, utterly worthless for an independent and critical investigation of the Scriptures. If anywhere, the golden maxim of“ festina lente" claims attention in this instance, and those that would rear a permanent edifice, should not build their foundations on sand. The author is convinced, that this First Part, whether used with or without a master, may be easily worked through in a moderate space of time; and this is happily no longer a vague hope, for results may be referred to which prove that the adopted method is simple enough to be readily understood and followed even by young and imperfectly prepared pupils.
Of the experience thus gained we have conscientiously availed ourselves for this new edition, and while the whole volume has been carefully revised, the earlier sections especially have undergone many alterations which, it is hoped, will help still more to smooth the student's path, and to lead him over the somewhat steep and rugged ground of the first elements to the sunny elevation, where he will feel the Divine presence breathing in the eternal words of Scripture.
M. M. KALISCH.
LONDON, December, 1874.
$ 31. Paradigms for the Inflexion of Ncuns
Exercises XX. XXI. . . .