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Hebrew Bible Exam




The examination in Hebrew is in two parts, written and oral.


A. Written Exam


The written exam should be requested from the examiner, Rev. Bruce Buchanan. The exam is to be proctored by a church officer convenient to the candidate, and has a time limit of 5 hours.

Text: The exam will be a passage from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. The text is not pre-announced to the candidate.

Resources allowed: The candidate may use a lexicon, Hebrew grammar, English Bible, personal notes, and commentaries. However any tool that parses the words in the text is not allowed. This prohibition includes electronic devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. If the candidate wishes to use a commentary it should not include parsings of the text.

The candidate will produce a provisional translation of the text by:

Parsing a number of the verbs, infinitives, and participles as required.

Resolving the syntax for all participles, infinitives, and nouns in the construct state.

Writing out a provisional translation which resolves questions of grammar and syntax.

Developing a simple outline of the passage. The candidate will show understanding of the content of the passage, how it flows, and where major breaks fall.

Stating the central thought of the passage, following from the exegetical work.

The candidate will provide a basic short word study, no more than a paragraph in length, of a single word in the passage whose meaning is crucial to understanding the whole.

Finally the candidate will make some preliminary homiletical observations on the passage as directed.

The completed exam is to be given to the proctor, who will mail it to the examiner. The examiner will forward the exam to the committee with his recommendation on the scoring of the exam.



B. Oral Exam


In the oral Hebrew Examination the candidate will read and translate a short passage from the Hebrew Bible. The text is not pre-announced to the candidate. The candidate may use his own copy of the Hebrew Bible or one may be provided. The exam is given in committee and normally the exam may be expected to take about 45 minutes.

The candidate may be asked to parse the verbal forms, nouns and adjectives. Depending on the text selected, the candidate may be asked to make observations on the grammar and syntax of verbs, the verb paradigms (binyanim), or other features of the text. The candidate may be asked to give the dictionary form of words and to discuss the major cantillations (te'amim) and pronounciation of the text.

If there are ketiv/qere variants, the candidate may be asked to explain and resolve textual issues as appropriate.

Attention may be drawn to exegetical issues presented by the passage, and to homiletical possibilities which may appear.

This is not an exhaustive list. The purpose of the oral examination is to see if the candidate is familiar with the Hebrew Bible, and is capable of sound exegesis.



  See also the Greek New Testament Exam

  See also B. B. Warfield on the Languages and Pastoral Ministry