Semester Program for Translators



 “Studying the TEXT and its CONTEXT”


The JCBT Biblical Hebrew language courses will be taught by linguists and senior translation consultants with an emphasis on Bible translation.

The JCBT specializes in presenting the land of the Bible as the comprehensive context which is essential to the understanding of the text.

Unique features of the program:

  • Five-month intensive, efficient study program
  • Specializing in the study of the land as the context of the text
  • Instruction by experienced Bible translation consultants
  • Accreditation by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Homelike setting in Judean Hills.

Program is already running
Registration is now closed
Registration to 2021 Semester program
Will open soon

The 2020 Semester Course is designed for Mother-tongue Bible Translators and Consultants-in-Training. It is offered in conjunction with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rothberg International School. Participants get a Hebrew University certificate of participation in Hebrew Bible translation studies.

Program Schedule: February 1 to July 5, 2020




A three-week intensive course at the Hebrew University language school (“Ulpan”). The student is taught to listen, speak, read and write, all of which greatly boost both learning and retention of vocabulary – since the revival of spoken Hebrew was deliberately based on Biblical Hebrew. The skills acquired will be enhanced by spoken Hebrew tutorials and also by practice in the dormitory setting.


JCBT hosht students from all around the world.
  1. The main course of the semester is the Modified Immersion Biblical Hebrew course (120 hrs). It was developed by an Israeli linguist, Eyal Nahum.  “Students will be expected to interact, read and write in BH, the only accepted means of communication in class. We believe that experiencing the living language is the key to deeply understanding it”. The course excels in creatively combining the study of grammar with practice in speaking and reading.
  2. Biblical Hebrew Readings and Grammar (90 hrs). The course includes extensive reading of texts while studying the advanced points of BH grammar. The finer points of the Masoretic text, such as accent marks, will also be taught. The course will be offered by an experienced consultant along with Hebrew University lecturers.
  3. Discourse Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (45 hrs). This course aims at the analysis of the various Hebrew narrative and non-narrative discourse texts for translation purposes. The course covers four main areas: 1. Hebrew discourse markers and connectors, 2. Participant reference, 3.Constituents order and prominence, and 4. Verb syntax. The aim is to help the translators identify discourse structures and features in the Hebrew language, determine their function, and then find ways of expressing equivalent meaning in their own languages. The course is taught by an experienced consultant.
  4. Biblical Hebrew Poetic Texts (60 hrs). This course helps students to develop skills in unfolding the layers of meaning embedded in the psalms, the prophets, and wisdom literature. The instructor will demonstrate how to analyze and synthesize a variety of texts, and the students will tackle the challenge of applying these principles and procedures. The course is taught by an experienced consultant.

II. STUDY OF THE LAND AS THE CONTEXT OF THE TEXT: Historical, Geographical, and Cultural Settings of the Hebrew Bible (120 hrs)

The course consists of 18 extensive field trips throughout the hills and valleys of the land. The trips enable the translator to experience the sites of Biblical stories and confronts the translator with the archaeological evidence of life in Biblical times.  


Students on a biblical field trip.

Over the semester the student experiences the agricultural seasons, the Biblical festivals and observes the flora and fauna of the Land that is mentioned in the Scriptures.

The Hebrew Bible readings on location enable the translator to understand the biblical text more accurately and more vividly. In fact, the land becomes a visual experiential dictionary of Biblical Hebrew terms.

The results are more accurate and vivid translations.

Lectures on cultural topics relevant to a translator are given by experienced JCBT instructors:  Dr. Halvor Ronning; Brian (Baruch) Kvasnica, MA; Ronit Maoz, MA, and other experts and visiting lecturers. 

This course is a learning experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world!


  • mother tongue translator or consultant in training (exceptions possible)
  • university or seminary studies
  • participation in a Bible translation project (exceptions)
  • recommendation by a consultant and a pastor
  • 48 years or younger (exceptions possible)
  • working knowledge of English
  • pass an exam in intermediate level Biblical Hebrew

How to Apply in Three Steps:

Step 1: Apply now. The application form is available here. Download the form to your computer and then fill it out using any PDF reader. Type your name for the signature.

This first step of the application is to be filled out on the computer and emailed back to us preferably now, but at the latest by August 30, 2019.

Please email your application form to


Students overlooking the Elah Valley – David and Goliath.

Step 2: Because space is limited, take the entrance test early. Acceptance to the program depends upon passing a JCBT test in Biblical Hebrew. 80% is a passing grade. The test is taken under a supervisor. The supervisor’s name and contact details must be sent to JCBT. The test will be sent to the supervisor and returned by the supervisor. The supervisor must return the test to JCBT by September 20.

Test results will be communicated no later than September 30

The test assumes the following knowledge of BH:

  1. Parsing of the regular strong verb as well as some verbs belonging to the irregular weak verbs. The parsing relates to knowledge of the seven paradigms of the verb.
  2. Knowledge of BH vocabulary which occurs more than 100 times in the Hebrew Bible.
  3. Knowledge of prepositions and pronouns (including noun and verbal prefixes and suffixes).
  4. Ability to translate short unseen Biblical Hebrew texts.

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Preparation for the test

JCBT is now requiring an intermediate level of Biblical Hebrew as a prerequisite. Accordingly, we suggest taking the entrance exam early so that there will be time to improve one’s level by further study and a second chance to take a similar exam.

Special opportunities exist for those who need or want to improve their level of knowledge of Biblical Hebrew in preparation for the test:

  1. Apply to JCBT to indicate your interest in the Bible Mesh online course in Biblical Hebrew ( ). JCBT will a) contact Bible Mesh for you, b) pay the tuition and c) send you the code for the course.
  2. Check the website

Write to their staff to see if there are student teachers available to teach Biblical Hebrew via Skype. They may even be able to send an Israeli teacher in person if a group is interested.

Step 3: While preparing for the test, please make sure that your Passport is valid through January 2021. This is a crucial prerequisite for international travel. Since the Hebrew University’s semester ends on July 2nd of 2020, Israel’s ministry of interior requires your passport to be valid 6 months after the completion of the program.  

NOTE: In order to give maximum time for further preparation to anyone who fails the test, we are setting the deadline of a second chance for the last submission of test results of a second test to Sept 15. This gives the candidate some three months of preparation time. Those who wait till this last deadline will need to submit all documents of step three also by Sept 15. Final decisions of acceptance will be communicated by Sept 30th.

Please email your application paper to


Downloadable PDF Forms

  • Semester Program Application form in English is found here and in French is found here. (Note: To be able to fill the form on your computer, please open it using Adobe Acrobat instead of a web browser.)
  •  A print-friendly PDF document of the Semester Program is available here.

1. A scholarship is available for qualified mother tongue consultants in training. 
2. The program and its dates are subject to change according to circumstances. 
3. Costs for the Semester Program are discussed here.