I used your “Living Biblical Hebrew for Everyone” to teach myself Biblical Hebrew. I thought your method simply amazing. I am a physician, who has never had any facility for languages but with your programme, I was able to learn enough to read the book of Ruth with ease.
– Greg, D.
– Jordan D.
I have followed Dr. Randall Buth’s pioneering method of teaching biblical Hebrew since the Summer of 2005, when I observed it first hand in Israel for an entire month. I began using it in my own classes at Eastern University that same year, and will never go back to the old style method that I first used to teach Hebrew at Calvin Theological Seminary in 1981. Buth’s “Ulpan” method is the cure for the universal problem in Europe and America of students studying biblical Hebrew grammar and vocabulary–only to lose it after graduation. This method works: students learn biblical Hebrew as a spoken language and have a great time doing so. They do not just learn about the language. Instead, they internalize the language and so they retain it. Buth’s students have gone on to success in Hebrew at the best graduate schools and seminaries in the world. I also know some happy housewives who have learned to read and enjoy the Bible in Hebrew, and have greatly enriched their local Bible studies thereby.
Buth’s method is grounded in cutting-edge linguistic and language-learning expertise. I believe his method is needed to keep knowledge of the biblical languages, Hebrew and Greek, alive in the Western world and its churches. Why is this method not more widespread? I think it is because it is hard for teaching traditions and teachers to change their old paradigms. It also requires a great investment on the part of the teacher to become competent enough in speaking Hebrew to teach it in this utterly natural way. May the day come when more and more of our Bible language teachers make this investment, for the good of their students and their communities of faith.
– Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, PhD (Professor of Biblical Studies, Eastern University)
(from a recent post on a Koine Greek chat group) If you like fresh, ripe peaches with juice that runs down your chin when you bite into them, try “Living Koine Greek” by Randall Buth, available to order from http://www.biblicalulpan.org. Start with the first volume and go on from there. You will learn faster, have more fun, and remember it longer.
(Full disclosure: I have no relationship to biblicalulpan.org except that of satisfied customer.)
I am amazed at how much I am already internalizing by focusing on both reading out loud and listening to the Buth readings without following along in the text! It’s only been an hour and I can see a vast improvement. This is very exciting! I can’t wait to continue in this course.
– Cory D.
My four weeks in your ulpan was the highlight of my summer. I wish I could have done that for the entire three months I was in Israel. I actually got a comment from one of my Hebrew professors yesterday that I’m reading Hebrew like I just got back from Israel.
– Shawn F.
I was interested enough in the program to take a break from pastoring and move my rather large family across the country for two months. The class far exceeded my expectations and has done what any class on Biblical languages should do, namely, increase one’s joy in studying the word and deepen one’s appetite for doing so. I am thoroughly enjoying studying God’s word in Hebrew now.
– Chad G., pastor
As a language development specialist, I found the methods techniques and strategies of Beginning Biblical Hebrew: “Jonah” (HEB101) relevant, effective, and in keeping with language acquisition research. The instructors used Total Physical Response, realia, demonstrations and skits in a tactile rich environment which stimulated kinesthetic spacial, auditory and interpersonal learning. The teachers created a visual rich environment that included opportunities for “hands on” discoveries. A stress free atmosphere was cultivated as the affective filter was kept to a low level. The class consistently maintained a climate for safe error corrections as students were encouraged to participate without fear of failure. All attempts were encouraged without admonition for perfection. The preproductive silent period was honored while students developed their receptive vocabulary. Expressive vocabulary was allowed to develop at the student’s comfort level when he/she felt ready for oral participation.
I recommend the course without reservation for anyone interested in leaning Biblical Hebrew in an enjoyable and effective manner. The principles and methodology of language acquisition are successfully used through modeling, demonstrating and role playing. Interaction, communication and comprehensible input are key to this engaging learning experience. All learners can benefit form this approach to learning Biblical Hebrew.
– Heather Brown, Language Development Specialist
While taking the Hebrew 101 Jonah course last January in Israel I came to a few realizations.
Not even wild horses could drag me to learn Biblical Hebrew through the traditional dry, and lifeless style with which it is commonly taught in seminaries! I simply would not be able to do it. But to run around the room, stand on my chair, to describe and even act out all sorts of scenarios with props, all in Biblical Hebrew, was fun and what I have learned will stick with me forever. Learning Biblical Hebrew has passed from a daunting task to a joyful experience.
– John K.
I am very much enjoying working my way through the Greek materials I ordered through the website and looking forward to tackling Hebrew when I’m finished with the Greek material. This is definitely a superior way to internalize and master Greek and Hebrew than the traditional methods I have used in college courses and since in self study.
– Randy B.
I have been listening to Randall’s Greek and Hebrew recordings now for about 1 ½ years and am convinced… that we would all learn Greek better, retain it longer, and actually use it more if we learned it the way he teaches it. I hope to be able to integrate his materials into the classroom.
– Gerald P.
As a Bible translator with Wycliffe, I have been in multiple “second-language-learning” situations and am very familiar with TPR (“natural”) type approaches, and have used them in my own teaching in various venues. It was very nice to be on the receiving end of such competent execution… It is the best controlled immersion experience I can imagine, since the level of language the student is exposed to is monitored and pitched slightly above maximum comprehension… For me, the biggest sell for this course is the fact that after only a couple of weeks’ instruction I was able to understand 80-95% of the explanations of the archaeological sites we visited in Hebrew. I don’t know many traditional courses that can boast of such results. Methodology aside, the real success of the course is ultimately dependent on the teacher’s ability to shoot from the hip, to constantly circumlocute and think creatively and strategically using the props at hand, and in this regard I cannot say enough good about the teaching staff. An important dynamic is contributed by the presence of more than one teacher in the class, so that they can play off each other’s knowledge and ideas and keep the class moving and lively. In my opinion, this is crucial. Kudos, kudos, more kudos and a hearty tov me’od!
[a year later...]
I was just sitting here in hot old Yarina… reading Genesis in Hebrew, and time after time I will hit a word that upon sounding it out, it all of the sudden sounds familiar, and a veritable flood of memories overwhelms me from last summer…almost to the point of tears. I don’t think I have ever had an experience that has lingered in such ways before, so long after it’s all over. Sigh. Thanks for that gift.
– Rick F., International Translation Consultant, SIL
I just wanted to make a comment about your teaching materials “Living Biblical Hebrew”: I am a language teacher and I find them just excellent, outstanding!
– Peter T.
I’m just finishing up the Living Biblical Hebrew curriculum (part 2) and want to say ‘thank you’! I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning in this way.
– Carmen I., Seminary student
And I have been using Dr. Buth’s materials every day (except for a couple days missed) since December 24, 2008, a relatively short span of time [writing on Feb 2, 2008], and I am still doing the picture lessons. But I feel like I have already internalized a good bit of the beginning pieces of the language and am extremely eager to progress to fluency!! – Georg Hagedorn (CMV, Düsseldorf)
This is excellent material and in my opinion the most effective way to learn a biblical language.
– Ben P.
In course one, you find yourself understanding hundreds of Biblical Hebrew and Greek words, without learning them though English – and even before you know how to pronounce the alphabet. When you do learn to sound out words, for the first time, you have that child-like experience you had on your mother’s knee – “wait a second, I know this word already!” There is no hurry to learn, but it is quite inspiring, and your understanding just grows. One of the coolest things is nothing you learn is a waste! The bible is the one book you can guarantee you will still be reading when you are 80 (with the right specs). You’re never too old to start this course. This course is just a grand excuse to find out what God is like and has been a great help in teaching of the bible through playmobible.com.
I always thought learning Biblical Hebrew and Greek would be far too difficult – it was the domain of professional scholars and language experts and not for the rest of us mere mortals. With the Living biblical Hebrew and Greek courses, you discover very quickly that learning biblical languages is not as difficult as you had imagined. It was quite a joy to learn that within about a year I could understand many parts of the bible in the original, and I was surprised at the pace I learnt all those odd looking letters.
– Kalman K.
Not only was it fun, I am amazed at how much I learned. As I continue to study Hebrew at seminary in the states I am very thankful for the huge head start that I received that makes the traditional way of learning Hebrew almost bearable. This is not to say that this approach is a miracle worker, it still requires a lot of action on the behalf of the participant, but you will have actually learned some Hebrew, not just learned about Hebrew. While learning a lot of Hebrew was my goal at this Biblical Ulpan, it was also far more than that. The friends, the fellowship, studying God’s Word in the land that most of it was played out and written down are also priceless opportunities. I would recommend this study to anyone.
– Steve D., Seminary Student
After spending the summer in Israel in the intensive Biblical Ulpan, I came back to the States to begin a biblical languages based exegesis graduate program at Wheaton College. Although I had only had 6 weeks of Hebrew in my life, I thought I would try the Hebrew proficiency exam ‘just for fun,’ and to see how well my studies there had lined up with other students here. I tested out of the first full year of Hebrew! My roommate, who studied 3 years of biblical Hebrew at an American Bible school, is amazed at how much vocabulary I know and can use easily in various situations–she is now using my Living Biblical Hebrew CDs and textbook to see if she can catch up! The more I sit in Hebrew class here, the more thankful I am that I received such a strong foundation internalizing the language in Israel.
– Lindsay M., undergraduate student
I wish I could now go to university and study Hebrew full time because it has grabbed me so much. I’m still going through the Jonah text and my reading is improving. I’ve conducted an evening service at church and talked about the course and did the first Jonah drama. There is a demand among the churches where I serve and I will be putting together a course of sorts soon. I sense the desire to learn Hebrew is spreading in many lives.
– Alan M., pastor
Doing the Text and Land course provided the incredible experience of combining both the story and the place, and gave me a much better picture of what happened. I’ll never forget the story when David’s wives were taken, he attacked with 400 men, fought all night, and annihilated everyone…except the 400 that rode away on camels;-) It’s so fun to pick up on little things like that when reading the original.
– Geoff C., graduate student
“There are all sorts of toys and props we use and fun activities we do… really, we just play and have fun in Hebrew; we aren’t even allowed to take notes! We play hide and seek, Simon says, the teachers make fools out of themselves in front of the class, etc. Yesterday we all dressed up like an army and attacked the other class– all the Israelis we passed looked at us very strangely as we marched to their classroom with silly clothes, toy swords, plastic baseball bats… I lead the procession with a shofar (ram’s horn trumpet)!”
– Jeffrey Q., undergraduate student
I heard about the Ulpan from a friend who had begun her Hebrew studies in the traditional way, and she strongly recommended that I look into the Living Language method. When I first found out that we would be singing and dancing and speaking in class I thought, “All right, speaking is one thing, but dancing is another; let’s be serious.” However, looking back, associations that were made with the words which are in the Bible and the songs, plays, and highly animated teaching style have stuck; and will not be quickly forgotten. It was fun, and I am unable to picture myself beginning the language in any other way. To learn as a child was not only more efficient and easier, but also made the language to me what it was to Moses and Isaiah: alive.
– William K., graduate student