– Cory D.
– Kalman K.
I used your “Living Biblical Hebrew” 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 program, I was able to learn enough to read the book of Ruth with ease.
– Greg, 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.
My biggest obstacle with Buth’s material was that I was going to have to change my accent after using the Erasmian for nearly four years. Four years of repeating those flash cards to myself out loud with the Erasmian pronunciation! I thought I would have to relearn all of my cards. I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and do it. During my transition I felt that I didn’t know ANY pronunciation because I was confusing and overlapping them. It was frustrating. But after just a few months I had pretty much mastered his pronunciation and I did NOT have to relearn my vocabulary. My brain automatically knew that when I heard ἐτοιμάζω with Buth’s system, it was the same word as “he-toy-madzo”, without ever having to repeat all the words with his system. Buth’s material was truly a WAKE UP call. I realized I hadn’t been actually learning Greek those past years. I was learning to decode Greek into English with the use of glosses, and in many cases “choosing the gloss that best fits the context”. That’s what [Author 1] and [Author 2] teach you to do! It was disappointing, but exciting starting new again with a new sense of direction. But in short, I truly learned more GREEK with Buth’s picture book and audio than with all the other books combined. I have been going through his 2a book recently and have 2b on the shelf waiting. But more importantly, I have been implementing his methods myself while reading through Acts. I am 1) not getting in a hurry, 2) reading out loud slowly at first, 3) grasping the full meaning of each sentence, 4) reading each sentence up to 15 times out loud while “thinking” in the language, 5) then reading it faster and with emphasis and emotion with regards to meaning. Since doing this I have noticed that more and more I am able to come to a brand new passage, zip through several verses in a row at full speed and grasp the full meaning, read it with proper emphasis and emotion, without even having to slightly think in English, just like someone would read in their native language.
– Jordan D.
This is excellent material and in my opinion the most effective way to learn a biblical language.
– Ben P.
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
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)
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 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
“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
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.
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
– Randy B.
– Heather Brown, Language Development Specialist
– Carmen I., Seminary student
– Georg Hagedorn (CMV, Düsseldorf)
– Alan M., pastor
– Geoff C., graduate student
– Mel Sanford, a grateful student