ACABS 491 - Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies
Section: 002 Reading Aramaic
Term: FA 2008
Subject: Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies (ACABS)
Department: LSA Near Eastern Studies
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Undergrad and Grad
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In part, what makes Aramaic interesting is that its study reveals not only the Arameans themselves, but also the peoples, cultures, and religions of those who adopted their language. The Elephantine papyri reveal the nature of Jewish life in a Persian military colony, at the southern extreme of Egypt, as well as the life of Arameans at the neighboring outpost of Syene, and the Persian officials who administered this region. In later periods Jewish writers used Aramaic to translate and/or adapt material from the Hebrew Bible. These translations and adaptations constitute part of the corpora of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Targums are Aramaic translations of the Bible, including many additions and supplements to the biblical books, that were written after 200 C.E.

Beginning with the administrative texts and letters and literature of so-called Imperial Aramaic, this course traces the ascendancy of this important Near Eastern language in Jewish groups who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Aramaic translations of Scripture, called Targums. We will be reading texts from each of these corpora in order to familiarize students with these important dialects of Aramaic and to cement their knowledge of the relevant grammar and vocabulary.

Texts will be distributed during class in the form of handouts. Supplemental readings will be placed on reserve.

Student evaluation will be based on attendance, class participation, and performance on a final exam. The prerequisite for the course is ACABS 483 Aramaic I, or an equivalent course. Questions are welcome. Email me at

ACABS 491 - Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (SEM)
Note: MEETS W/ACABS 591.001
003 (SEM)
M 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Note: MEETS W/ACABS 591.002
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