ACABS 484 - Aramaic, II
Section: 001
Term: WN 2009
Subject: Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies (ACABS)
Department: LSA Near Eastern Studies
Advisory Prerequisites:
ACABS 483.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The course offers an introduction to the study of Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, specifically that of the ancient city of Edessa (a.k.a. Urhai; modern Urfa), which became a common language for Christian communities in the east. Because it was used by many writers, Syriac is perhaps the best attested ancient Aramaic dialect; study of it allows greater insight into Aramaic as a language and into Aramaic's other manifestations in both the east and west. Due to its association with eastern Christianity, it might seem obvious that Syriac texts preserve much information concerning the early history of this religion. It might be less obvious, however, that Syriac texts also preserve accounts of important historic events, much poetry, magical literature, humorous tales, and scientific writing from the eastern end of the Roman Empire, as well as from the Sassanian Empire in Mesopotamia. In short, an ability to read Syriac will be an asset to those interested in understanding the thought-world of the Middle East during and after Late Antiquity. In addition, many texts of relevance to Jewish tradition are preserved in Syriac. Knowledge of Syriac allows students greater access to texts like The Wisdom of Ben Sira, The Odes of Solomon, and the so-called Apocryphal Psalms long-known from Syriac tradition, but also discovered in Hebrew among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

We will use, as our textbook, the 5th edition of Theodore H. Robinson's Paradigms and Exercises in Syriac Grammar (Oxford: Oxford University, 2003). Other material will be covered by handouts distributed once classes begin.

Student evaluation will be based on attendance, class participation, performance on quizzes, a mid-term, and a final exam. Students need not have any acquaintance with any Semitic language to take the course; all are welcome. Feel free to ask questions. Email me at

ACABS 484 - Aramaic, II
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
MW 2:00PM - 3:30PM
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