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image of Jesus Christ
image of the burning bush
images from ms. of De civitate Dei

Grammar: Hebrew Names

One of the great problems faced by Christian writers was what to do with Hebrew names. Biblical Hebrew does not have a case system comparable to that of Latin or Greek; for example, Hebrew uses a small particle (-et) in order to indicate the direct object of a verb, rather than an accusative case ending.

This meant that when Hebrew names are inserted into traditional Latin syntax, there is a problem: every noun in Latin has a case, a number, and gender -- but Hebrew nouns and names do not have case. A few Hebrew names, such as the name of Moses, the name of Jesus, eventually were given case endings in Latin, but for the most part, Hebrew names do not have case endings in Latin. The adjectives that modify the Hebrew names do have gender, number, and case, which can often help you to deduce the case of the Hebrew name.

I have tried to note the case of Hebrew names whenever they occur in the text.

Occasionally there are also Hebrew plurals used in the Vulgate Bible; I have also tried to note these in the text where they occur.


Modern Languages 4970 / MRS 4903: Medieval Latin. Spring 2003 Online Course at the University of Oklahoma. Visit for more info.
Laura Gibbs, University of Oklahoma - Information Technology © 2003. Last updated: December 29, 2002 7:12 PM