This week's book giveaway is in the OCMJEA forum. We're giving away four copies of OCM Java EE 6 Enterprise Architect Exam Guide and have Paul Allen & Joseph Bambara on-line! See this thread for details.
I guess that Chapter 1 gives you an idea of what Spring and Hibernate are. So I don't think any prior knowledge is needed, although I think it'd be better to fully understand how Spring works before stepping in Spring Persistence.
* Chapter 1: An Introduction to Hibernate and Spring
o Persistence management in Java
+ The mismatch problem
# Identity and equality mismatch
# Mapping object inheritance mismatch
# Mapping more complicated objects
o Object relational mapping
o Hibernate as an O/R Mapping solution
+ Other O/R Mapping solutions
+ Hibernate versus other frameworks
o Hibernate architecture
o What is Spring
+ Inversion of Control container
+ Aspect-oriented programming framework
+ Data access abstraction
+ Transaction abstraction
+ MVC web framework
+ Testing support
You can use the book and learn Hibernate and Spring, even if you don't have any prior knowledge on these areas. It provides a step-by-step path from beginning discussions around Hibernate and Spring to advanced topic around persistence.
Spring Persistence with Hibernate