The Ancient Hebrew Letters
(Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet)

Teaching the Ancient Biblical Hebrew Language of the Bible Through the Study of the Ancient Hebrew Alphabet, Culture and Philosophy.

בְּרֵשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ 
Genesis 1:1

Have you ever wanted to read the Hebrew Bible in its original language? Believe it or not, this is not an impossible goal as the Hebrew language is a fairly simple language.

Have you ever heard the expression, "Lost in the translation"? This is very true for any literary work, even the Bible itself. If you want to really "know" what the Bible says you need to learn how to read it in its original language.

In a short amount of time and a little dedication on your part you will be able to master the following lessons and within a short time you will be translating the Hebrew Bible for yourself rather than relying on a translator.

Just to show you how easy it is, let me introduce you to the word הָאָרֶץ (The far left word in Genesis 1:1 above). The הָ is pronounced "ha" and is commonly used as a prefix to words meaning "the". The word אָרֶץ is pronounced "arets" and means "land". Now put them together and you have הָאָרֶץ (ha-arets) meaning "the land". 

Sound interesting? You can start learning to read this beautiful language today with the free lessons available here. Also, if you get stuck or have any questions along the way you can click on the "email" link at the top of any of the lessons and I will be more than willing to help you out.

Hebrew Alphabet

Five of the above letters have different form when it appears at the end of word. These letters are called the "final" letters (sophit in Hebrew). 

Hebrew Alphabet, final letters

Several of the letters in the alephbet are very similar and can easily be confused with other letters. This is very common at the beginning but soon you will be able to make the distinction between these letters without difficulty. Below is a chart with these letters and you may want to refer to this chart on occasion during the lessons. 

Commonly mistaken letters
Modern and Ancient Hebrew

The pronunciation of some of the consonants and vowels have changed over the centuries but this does not affect the meaning of words so we will learn to pronounce them according to the modern Hebrew. Modern Hebrew pronunciation is also divided into two parts, Ashkenazie and Sephardic. Since Sephardic is the pronunciation adopted by the State of Israel, we will also use this pronunciation.

The Hebrew Vowels

In modern Hebrew vowel pointings called "nikkud" (nikkudot in the plural) have been added to words to provide the vowel sounds for each word. The chart below lists these vowel pointings and will be learned in the accompanying Hebrew lessons. These vowel pointings are used in Biblical texts, Prayer books, Hebrew Grammar books and children books but are not normally used in Hebrew writings such as in novels, newspapers, signs, etc. 

Hebrew Vowel Pointings