Research Process


Contact KTBH

External links

Private Site

Welcome to the KTBH Project of SIL International


The vision of KTBH is to produce an interactive, hyperlinked electronic resource expressing the cognitive frames, domains and networks accessed by Biblical Hebrew Key Terms, in order to help translators to render these terms well in their target language. KTBH understands a Biblical Key Terms as follows: “A biblical key term is a word or phrase which occurs in the Bible and which points to a conceptual network of high cultural—often religious—significance. Such key concepts usually have a broad and complex network of relationships with other concepts. Because of cultural differences, these concepts are often difficult to communicate accurately and clearly in translation.” Thus some Key Terms and their corresponding concepts are more ‘key’ than others, and we have therefore selected a number of concepts which we consider key for Old Testament translation. KTBH aims to treat as many such Hebrew terms as possible, both at the level of individual terms (our database is based on lexical words, though our analysis is of terms, which often means also longer expressions) and at that of conceptual frames and domains.

Categories List

Key terms list


Some distinctives of KTBH are as follows:
A New Analysis of a Hebrew Term, The Semantics of Galah ('To go into exile'), by David Gray (reproduced by permission of the Tyndale Bulletin).

A survey of existing Biblical Hebrew Lexical Projects

KTBH is just one of a number of projects which deal with the semantics of the Biblical Hebrew lexicon, and we have surveyed the major concordances, linguistic dictionaries, theological dictionaries (e.g. NIDOTTE, TDOT, ABD) and lexical semantics projects (e.g. DBL, SAHD, SDBH).

A Short Bibliography of Hebrew Lexicography

KTBH Bibliography
de Blois, Towards a new Dictionary (2000) and Metaphors (2002)


Editorial Committee:


Coordinating Committee:

Computer Support:


The KTBH project was initiated by SIL-Eurasia Area in 2002, with a view to producing a resource for Old Testament translators equivalent to the widely-used New Testament Key Biblical Terms in the New Testament by Barnwell, Dancy and Pope. SIL International Translation Department adopted the project, and it was formally launched at a workshop at Horsleys Green, UK in January 2003.

This workshop was hosted by a team including Richard Hoyle, Murray Salisbury, Reinier de Blois, Barrie Evans, Steve Daley, and Andy Warren, and involved over 40 researchers from all over the globe, most of whom are active Translation Consultants with SIL, UBS or related organisations. The project was envisaged as fixed-term (3-4 years), with researchers signing up for particular lemmata and categories of Key Terms, which were administratively grouped under a Group Leader who was in turn responsible for frame write-ups. After some time, it became clear that the ambitious targets were not being met, due to the increasing sophistication of the specialist software and linguistic model being used, concerns about the usability of the end product, and the work situation pressures of practical translation consultancy.

In January 2006, a KTBH Production Workshop was held at Horsleys Green, with a smaller team of just 20 Researchers. With a better-developed data entry template and a consolidated Guide for Researchers, the team were able to produce a number of new entries.

We wish to thank Bryan Harmelink (MA (Texas) Linguistics, MAR (Westminster) Biblical Studies, PhD (Westminster) Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation) for his service on the Editorial Committee until 2006 and his continued support.

We wish especially to honour the contribution of Steve Bartram (1962-2007) whose skill and dedication in computer programming made this interactive website possible.


The KTBH Project currently functions by voluntary contribution of research from registered researchers. New applicants, who should ideally have some Bible translation involvement and a good knowledge of Biblical Hebrew, can register by contacting the Editor after reading the sample entries and the Guide for Researchers. They then sign up for a small number of terms from the main KTBH categories and begin research, using the KTBH data entry template with Paratext suite software.

Ongoing support and review is offered by an Editorial Committee member, who then passes on completed entries to the entire Editorial Committee (and, through the private website, to other Reviewers) for further review and final editorial approval at an annual meeting in January, before they are archived and posted (under the Researcher's name, unless he or she wishes it to be withheld) on the public website. Entries are then concurrently reviewed by Editorial Consultants, submitted to journals for publication, and translated into Easy English.

As soon as a reasonable body of material is available for a particular frame, the frame description may be written up by the Researcher or an Editorial Committee member.

It is hoped that this will be an ongoing project, with a rolling team of researchers, however, if a time comes when the Editorial Committee have nothing to review and approve, the January meeting will be cancelled; after a second year of little or no research activity, the project will be considered dead and referred for assessment to SIL International Translation Department.

Researchers are encouraged to involve the Editorial Committee in the process of publishing their work outside KTBH.

Research Guide (pdf)

Computer Requirements for Researchers

The main software used for the project is Source Language Tools for Paratext, currently version 6.1. This provides a good environment for analysis of the senses of a term and for writing an entry for that term. For copyright reasons, this software is restricted to those in Bible translation projects or closely related work. A researcher should register at the UBS website, citing KTBH as the project. Once the application is approved, UBS will issue a registration code, together with user id and password. Researchers will also need to acquire a current KTBH database and related files from christopher_samuel@sil.org.

The default fonts for the project are Ezra SIL for Hebrew, and Galatia SIL for Greek. In addition researchers will need to be able to type Unicode Hebrew and Greek; Keyman and MSKLC keyboards are available from the same sites. All this normally requires Windows 2000, XP or Vista. With some difficulty it may be possible to make it work under Win 98SE, but this is not recommended.


Extracts from Langacker 1990 and Taylor 1995 (pdf)

Contact KTBH

We welcome input on our project.

General Queries:

Joining the Research Team:

Email lists


KTBH entries should be referenced in the format: "בור, 'cistern', in KTBH www.ktbh-project.org"

External Links

(KTBH has no responsibility for the content)

A Semantic Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew (SDBH, the UBS project)
Jastrow's dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud and the Midrashic literature (post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, 1903)
The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906)
Lexicons for Biblical Languages, a Tyndale House technical note with many links (October 2003)

Bible Translation (Wayne Leman's site, with glossary, articles and links)
SIL publications and the Ethnologue
SIL home page

Private Site

Archives of the KTBH-research mailing list