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Unlocked Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon (UHAL)


The goal of this project is to create an up to date lexicon for biblical Hebrew and Aramaic that is openly licensed and freely available. English is the initial target language but the goal is that this resource would be translated into the Gateway Languages as well.


Initial Inclusion in tC

Once the UHB is included in tC we need to get the Strongs and BDB (Brown-Driver-Briggs) entries avialable to tC users.

The data to make this happen is available in the Open Scriptures Hebrew Lexicon project. In particular, the BDB XML file, the Strongs XML file, Augmented Strongs numbers Index XML file, and the Lexical Index XML file.

BDB Completion

Before the revision starts, it would be good to finish the digitization of BDB. Currently, all of the entries exist in the XML file but they are not all complete. Software to help with this process is needed.

Gloss Revision

The first major stage of the revision process will be to update the glosses found in BDB and Strongs to reflect modern English and modern Hebrew and Aramaic scholarship. This process will involve reviewing each entry in multiple lexicons and revising the entry as needed.

Corpus Driven Revision

The second major stage of the revision process will be to revise the entries using a corpus linguistics / computational linguistics approach. This will involve reviewing each word as it occurs in context ("keyword in content"), with the aid of software to help facilitate the process.

The result of this revision will be a corpus-driven advanced learner's Hebrew-English and Aramaic-English lexicon.

For details about this approach, see Todd L. Price, Structural Lexicology and the Greek New Testament: Applying Corpus Linguistics for Word Sense Possibility Delimitation Using Collocational Indicators, Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages 6 (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2015).

Project Details

An important part of our Bible translation checking software is the ability for the translators and editors to look up Hebrew and Aramaic words or phrases in a reliable lexicon. Again, we are faced with the problem that Hebrew and Aramaic lexica in the public domain are very much out of date and modern lexica are bound by copyright restrictions. In an effort to solve this difficulty we are developing our own Hebrew lexicon.

The lexicon will provide:

  • Glosses (English translation equivalents in one or a few words)
  • Definitions (explanation of what the word or phrases can mean)
  • Principal parts, irregular forms, etc.
  • Examples (examples of verses where this meaning is found in the OT or extra-biblical Hebrew or Aramaic sources)
  • Strong's and TWOT numbers for all lexical entries
  • Links to UHB, UHG, and UAG.

The starting point for the lexicon will be The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (BDB), specifically the Open Scriptures Hebrew Lexicon.

Volunteers are needed to:

Work with the Project Coordinator to update BDB through a comparison with the corresponding lexical entry in the following lexica:

  • Blois, Reinier de, Enio R. Mueller. Semantic Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew. United Bible Societies, 2016. < >
  • Clines, David J. A., David M. Stec, and Jacqueline C. R. De Roo. The Concise Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. Sheffield: Sheffield Pheonix Press, 2009. Note: this is an abridgement of The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (DCH).
  • Holladay, William, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1988. Note: this is an abridgement of HALOT, listed below.
  • Kaufman, Stephen A., and Joseph A. Fitzmyer. The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon. Cincinnati, Ohio: Hebrew Union College, 2000. < >.
  • Koehler, L., W. Baumgartner, and J.J. Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Translated and edited by M.E.J. Richardson. 2 vols. Leiden: Brill, 2001.
  • Putnam, Frederic C. A Cumulative Index to the Grammar and Syntax of Biblical Hebrew. Winona Lake, Ind: Eisenbrauns, 1996. Note: this reference work is extremely helpful in correlating OT passages to grammars that reference them.
  • Swanson, James A. 1997. A Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems Inc.
  • Van Pelt, Miles V. Basics of Biblical Aramaic: Complete Grammar, Lexicon, and Annotated Text. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2011.
  • Wigram, G.V., The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament . Nashville: Broadman, 1980. Note: this is a dated resource like BDB but is still useful for comparison purposes.

Requirements for contributors

Agreement with our Statement of Faith:

Agreement with Translation Guidelines:

Agreement that your work will be released under a CC BY-SA ( ). See

Must have at least one year (two semesters) of OT Hebrew and/or at least one year (two semesters) of OT Aramaic

Access to as many of the above mentioned lexica as possible

Preferences (though not required):

Attendance at workshop for training (5 days/1 week) how to proofread and edit UHAL

Access to biblical software highly recommended (preferably BibleWorks, Logos or Accordance)

It is highly recommended that the volunteer be familiar with the following works on lexicography:

  • Ayto, J. R. “On Specifying Meaning: Semantic Analysis and Dictionary Definitions.” Pages 89-98 in Lexicography: Principles and Practice. Edited by R. K. K. Hartmann. ALS. London: Academic, 1983
  • Barr, James. The Semantics of Biblical Language. [London]: Oxford University Press, 1961
  • Blois, Reinier de, Enio R. Mueller. Towards a New Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew Based on Semantic Domains . SBL, 2000. < >
  • Burkhanov, Igor. “Pragmatic Specifications: Usage Indications, Labels, Examples; Dictionaries of Style, Dictionaries of Collocations.” Pages 102-13 in A Practical Guide to Lexicography. Edited by Piet van
  • Sterkenberg. TLRP 6. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003
  • Geeraerts, Dirk. “Meaning and Definition.” Pages 83-93 in A Practical Guide to Lexicography. Edited by Piet van Sterkenberg. TLRP 6. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003
  • Landau, Sidney I. Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography. 2nd ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2001
  • Louw, Johannes P. “The Analysis of Meaning in Lexicography.” Filología Neotestamentaria 6, no. 12 (November 1993): 139-48
  • Oppentocht, Lineke, and Rik Schutz. “Design of Dictionaries.” Pages 215-27 in A Practical Guide to Lexicography. Edited by Piet van Sterkenberg. TLRP 6. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003.
  • Wendland, E., and Eugene A. Nida. “Lexicography and Bible Translating.” Pages 1-52 in Lexicography and Translation: With Special Reference to Bible Translation. Edited by Johannes P. Louw. Cape Town: Bible Society of South Africa, 1985

The Project Coordinator will provide the volunteers with the text of UHAL to be edited. To learn more about this project, see For more information contact Jesse Griffin at