My thoughts on HALOT

HALOT is the premier reference tool for the study of biblical Hebrew. This two volume set became an indispensible tool for me as I was completing my Hebrew language studies for my Master of Divinity degree. The usability of HALOT is superior to BDB in that the entries are alphabetical rather than by root. This aspect of HALOT’s design makes it user-friendly.

 

BDB is a good tool for the study of biblical Hebrew but HALOT features more up-to-date scholarship and therefore more comprehensive information for study and teaching. Anyone with a working knowledge of biblical Hebrew would greatly benefit from owning and using this tool. I have the hard copy but it is also available through Bible study software such as LOGOS, Accordance, and Bible Works. Though I have not used the electronic editions, I am sure that the search feature would be a benefit. Personally, I like owning the hard-copy two-volume set because I like books (I am different, I know) and I like to write notes in the margins.

 

HALOT is the premier English lexicon on the market. The translators of the Holman Christian Standard Bible promoted their translation as a reliable translation partly because it had been produced from the latest and best tools, such as HALOT. This is also a selling point of the NET Bible. The translators involved in the process of producing these fine English translations were happy to announce that HALOT had been a primary tool in their translation work.

 

The two-volume set features an opaque page and a clearly readable font. There is also a fair amount of space in the margins for handwritten notes. The set is also smythe sewn, which is a huge plus considering the amount of use such a resource should enjoy.

 

This resource is thoroughly indexed with relevant abbreviations and an extensive bibliography, which would be useful for further depth of study. The progress in linguistics have made such a volume necessary and HALOT does not disappoint. It contains information and cross-referencing to Arabic, Aramaic, Ethiopian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Egyptian.

 

There are other lexicons available. BDB has been the old standby for years, partly because it was the best tool available. One of the main reasons someone would choose BDB over HALOT would be economic. HALOT is an expensive tool and BDB is not. This would also be one of the reasons for settling for Holladay’s concise intermediate lexicon, along with the size of Holladay (small one-volume resource). When taking everything into account, you will get what you pay for – BDB is not the most up-to-date resource and Holladay is not comprehensive. HALOT is more expensive, more up-to-date, more comprehensive, and a superior reference tool for studies in biblical Hebrew.

 

I highly commend HALOT to you. It is a valuable resource for students, pastors, and scholars.

 

Chris Terry

pastor and student

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