Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher:
Prof. Joosten’s book, The Verbal System of Biblical Hebrew, is an excellent contribution to the study of Biblical Hebrew grammar. The mastery of the verbal system and its rules constitutes an essential basis for the proper grasp of biblical Hebrew morphology, syntax, as well as semantics. Moreover, a clear description of the biblical Hebrew verbal system leads to a more precise under-standing of verbal systems from later periods of the language, which, although different from the biblical system, are based upon it to a considerable extent.
I can think of no other biblical scholar of Prof. Joosten’s stature who is as capable of investigating the subject. In this book Joosten presents students and scholars of Biblical Hebrew with a reference work whose absence has long been felt. I have no doubt that this is one of the most important books on Biblical Hebrew that has appeared in recent years.
Moshe Bar-Asher is Emeritus Professor of Hebrew at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and president of the Academy of the Hebrew Language.
Prof. Takamitsu Muraoka: The verbal system of biblical Hebrew has been a daunting challenge for Hebraists, Bible scholars, and comparative Semitists. Already in ancient versions we see translators struggling with it. Good understanding of the verbal system is of vital importance not only for grammarians, but also for exegetes. In the past one and half a century or so some significant advances have been made, thanks to the discovery of new texts
in Hebrew and cognate Semitic languages and developments in general linguistics, even the dis-covery of totally new languages such as Ugaritic and Eblaite. Not a few scholars have made use of these new data and applied new linguistic perspectives in order to elucidate the Hebrew verbal system as a whole and various aspects of the system. Joosten is one such. With his profound expertise in Biblical Hebrew, the Hebrew Bible, Classical Syriac and the Septuagint he presents here an impressive synthesis of the modern studies of the Hebrew verbal system. It goes far beyond a mere critical survey of the past and present studies, but Joosten has conducted his own research on the subject over the past two decades or so. This book is focused on the classical prose of Genesis up to Kings, though more than cursory attention has been paid to later texts and poetic texts. The analysis and present-action of data is commendably lucid, backed up with plentiful examples. The author’s use of technical terms, some not part of the common parlance of Bible scholars, is user-friendly and not off-putting.
Joosten is modestly aware himself that he has not said the last word, but has broadened our horizon. We have here an essential reading not only for Hebraists and Semitists, but also for anyone seriously interested in the Hebrew Bible.
Takamitsu Muraoka is Emeritus Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature, Israelite Antiquities and Ugaritic at the University of Leiden, Netherlands
Prof. Geoffrey Khan: This book is a truly excellent description of the Biblical Hebrew verbal system. It offers a comprehensive coverage of the functions of the verbal forms in classical Biblical Hebrew prose, with extensive additional chapters on the distinctive features of Late Biblical Hebrew and poetry. It takes into account all the major approaches to the verbal system in modern scholarship and offers numerous original insights based on a close engagement with the original source text. One of the outstanding qualities of the book is its clear and readable style of presentation, which makes complex grammatical concepts accessible to a wide readership. For all these reasons, it is without doubt one of the most important books on the verbal system that has appeared in recent decades and is likely to become classic work in the field.