I have recently finished my grammar book on Biblical Hebrew, and I would like to get a grammar that would help me start to read rabbinic literature, specifically, the Talmud, and the commentaries of the Rishonim.

I have "An Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew" by Miguel Perez Fernandez, but I do not know if this will suffice, since I know a good portion of the Talmud is in Aramaic. Also, I do not know how different the language of the Talmud is from the language of the Rishonim.

The only other book I know of on the subject is "A Grammar of Gemara and Onkelos: An Introduction to Aramaic." Is this a good book (also, what is the difference between the normal version and the expanded version, if you know)?

If not, what are books you would recommend?


1 Answer 1


Fernandez's grammar is a good introduction to Early Rabbinic Hebrew, i.e. the Tannaitic Hebrew of the Mishna and Tannaitic midrashim. Although Fernandez is in some ways an update to M.H. Segal's Grammar of Mishnaic Hebrew, Segal's work remains more thorough, accurate, and clear. In French, a good book is La Langue Des Sages by Sophie Kessler-Mesguich. Note that none of these grammars treat the Hebrew of the Amoraim and later Rabbinic Hebrew.

Another resource you may find useful is Marcus Jastrow's dictionary. It contains both Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic entries. It covers the vocabulary of both early and later Rabbinic Hebrew.

As for an Aramaic grammar to aid in reading Rabbinic literature, T. O. Lambdin's An Introduction to the Aramaic of Targum is a good place to start. Here is an online version, albeit with Babylonian pointing: http://www.4shared.com/web/preview/pdf/aE6jRBpV

For Talmud study, Frank's grammar is highly oversimplified but may suffice for some purposes. Bar-Asher Siegal's Introduction to the Grammar of Jewish-Babylonian Aramaic is a far more informative work. You may find David Marcus' Manual of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic a good practical text to start with.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .