Near Eastern Studies

General Near East (Division 439)

100(101). Peoples of the Middle East. (4). (HU).

The Middle East is a major region of the world, stretching from Central Asia to North Africa and subsuming many different peoples, cultures, and countries, including Afganistan, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and the Arab countries. Middle Eastern Studies is a multi-disciplinary attempt to understand the many cultures and civilizations in the region, not only those of today, but also those of earlier times, since much of Classical Civilization as well as modern Western Civilization originates in the Middle East. As such, the study of the Middle East is a rewarding enterprise which can help much in understanding our own culture, how it came about, and what it is now. Lectures in the course will be given by several faculty from the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. Students will be introduced not only to a great variety of topics, but also to a great variety of disciplines and faculty. This four-credit course serves as an introduction to the civilization of the Middle East from its beginnings to the present day. No previous knowledge of the area is required. It aims to familiarize students with a region that has had a tremendous impact on the West and its civilization. There will be three weekly lectures, and one discussion class. Each lecture will be topical, and highlight particular aspects and issues of Middle Eastern culture and civilization, such as major historical developments, religious beliefs, cultural and scientific achievements, social issues such as women, tribes, and water resources. The lectures, together with the assigned readings, will serve as the basis for two hourly exams. Cost:3

201/Rel. 201. Introduction to World Religions: Near Eastern. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in ABS 200. (4). (HU).

See Religion 201. (Ginsburg and Williams)

442/Hist. 442. The First Millennium of the Islamic Near East. Junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

See History 442. (Lindner and Bonner)

445. Introduction to Ancient and Classical Near Eastern Literature. (3). (HU).

Our fascination with the Near East is not just limited to archaeological and historic records; these but suggest the outlines of life during humankind's cultural infancy. More than anything else, it is the literature of a people which reveal its heart and mind, its emotions and thoughts. This course opens the door for the contemporary student into the innermost life of ancient and more recent peoples living in the lands surrounding the Eastern Mediterranean. It identifies the popular forms of narrative and poetic expression, explains the social backgrounds of early Near Eastern literature, and considers its links with our contemporary Western literary traditions. Lectures and discussions focus on representative myths, stories and poems. The literatures covered in this course include (1) Ancient Near Eastern literatures: ancient Egyptian, Assyrian-Babylonian, Hittite, Iranian, Biblical leading to (2) Classical Near Eastern and Islamic literatures: Arabic, Persian and Turkish, and literary activity in Hebrew. Each literature is taught by a different faculty member. Student evaluation is by examination (graduates have to prepare an additional term paper). The required texts are specially selected, xeroxed and available in Course Pack form. There are no prerequisites, but NES 101 or some other background on the Near East is recommended. Cost:2 WL:3 (Stewart-Robinson)

450. Near Eastern Issues. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 Studies in Jewish Liturgy: The Literature of the Synagogue.
This seminar will draw from materials used in NEW 469 (Jewish History and Institions) and Hebrew 541 (Tannaitic Literature) to present the background and development of the Siddur, the standard anthology of Jewish prayer. The focus will be in the relationship between sacrificial cult and personal prayer. The goal will be to draw together the implementation of the biblical injunctions concerning the Passover in terms of the paschal sacrifice, the ban on leavening and the precept of reciting the narrative of the Exodus. The primary texts for this will be the Hebrew Bible, the Mishnaic tractate Pesachim and the Haggadah (Narrative) of Passover. Grade will be based on class participation and a term paper. Cost:1 (Schramm)

478/Jud. Stud. 478/Rel. 478. Topics in Modern Judaism: Modern Jewish Thought (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 9 credits.

An examination of selected 20th century thinkers and their response to the crisis of Jewish modernity: the breakdown of traditional Jewish culture and its system of meaning; the encounter with, and assimilation of, Western culture; the impact of the traumas of World War I and the Holocaust; and the contemporary quest for intimacy and "tikkun" (the attempt to "mend" the world). Primary focus will be on writers whose modes of thinking have often been called "existentialist": Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, A.J. Heschel, and the radical theologian, Richard Rubenstein. The literary creations of the seminal Hebrew writers Bialik and Agnon will be explored as well. In the final unit, students will have the option of studying the first full-length work of Jewish feminist theology, Judith Plaskow's Standing Again at Sinai. Previous course work in either Judaic Studies, Religion, or Philosophy is recommended. Two exams and a paper. Cost:3 WL:3 (Ginsburg)

Ancient and Biblical Studies (ABS: Division 317)

200. Religion of the Book: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Rel. 201/GNE 201. (4). (Excl).

For Fall Term, 1994, this course is offered jointly with Religion 201. (Ginsburg and Williams)

201. Elementary Biblical Hebrew. (3). (LR).

An introduction to the language and style of the Hebrew Bible, using Weingreen's Practical Grammar of Classical Hebrew as the text. Daily instruction on grammar with drills. Students are evaluated on the basis of daily homework assignments and weekly quizzes. Cost:1 WL:3 (Schramm)

280/Rel. 280. Jesus and the Gospels. (4). (HU).

The course will probe the gospels, including some non-canonical versions (e.g., the Gospel of Thomas), as sources to the life and teaching of Jesus. How reliable are the portraits of Jesus in the gospels, the oldest of which having been written some forty-five years after his execution? Through an acquirement of the different critical methods applied to the gospel texts by New Testament scholars, the students will be enabled to form a defensible answer to this question. Conjointly with the methodological instruction and exercises, there will be an impartation of the necessary knowledge about the religious, historical, and social world of Jesus, so that a correct interpretation of the texts can be obtained. The format of the course will consist of lectures by the instructor and mandatory discussion sessions conducted by a TA. There will be two or three exams and one paper. Cost:3 WL:4 (Fossum)

401. Intermediate Biblical Hebrew. ABS 202 or equivalent. (3). (LR).

This course is an introduction to the literature of the Hebrew Bible. Texts representing different literary genres and dating from different periods will be read in the original. Students will be introduced to the history of the text of the Hebrew Bible and the problems of its translation and interpretation. Special emphasis will be placed on refining the student's knowledge of Biblical Hebrew through the study of Hebrew syntax. Required books are (1) a copy of the Biblica Hebraica, and (2) a proper dictionary of classical Hebrew. (Krahmalkov)

403. Aramaic. ABS 202 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction to Imperial Aramaic through the reading of the Aramaic portions of the biblical books of Ezra and Daniel. Students will acquire a solid foundation upon which to build a further knowledge of other forms of Aramaic, such as Targumic and Syriac. books required are (1) a copy of the Biblica Hebraica, and (2) a dictionary of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. (Krahmalkov)

440/Anthro. 442/Hist. 440. Ancient Mesopotamia. Junior standing. (3). (HU).

This course will survey Sumerian, Babylonian, And Assyrian civilization from the first cuneiform documents (ca. 3100 B.C.) to the fall of the Neo-Babylonian empire (539 B.C.). Special attention will be paid to the following topics of social and political organization: the rise and nature of early Mesopotamian states; economy in Mesopotamia (redistribution and markets); rural and urban interrelations; Mesopotamian law; Babylonian and Assyrian relations; Mesopotamia and its neighbors (Israel and Persia); the collapse of the Mesopotamian civilization. One textbook and a course pack of readings will be the course's texts. Course grade is based on 3 hourly exams, short written reports on readings, and a term-paper. Cost:2 WL:3 (Yoffee)

483/Rel. 488/Class. Civ. 483. Christianity and Hellenistic Civilization. (4). (Excl).
Section 001 Jewish, Christian, and Gentile Responses to the Destruction of Jerusalem: a Multimedia Presentation.
The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. was a landmark in Jewish history. It caused the disappearance of some of the most influential Judaisms of the first century (i.e., the Sadducees and the Essenes), as well as a deep crisis in the apocalyptic movement, and the beginning of the end for Hellenistic Judaism. Two small Jewish groups, the Pharisees and the Christians, gave reasonable, yet competitive answers, so proving themselves to be the fittest to face the hostile environment. The religions they generated still flourish. First, we will look at the last records of apocalyptic Judaism (Apoc. of Abraham and 4 Ezra), and the monumental attempt made by Flavius Josephus to restore the respectability of the Jewish Hellenistic tradition against the derogatory portraits of Roman historians like Tacitus and Suetonius. Secondly, we will search the Rabbinic and Christian literatures for their opposite interpretations of the event, following the gradual and painful parting of their ways. Finally, we will survey the lasting influence of the event from the Middle Ages to the present time as witnessed in Christian and Jewish art (illuminations and paintings), music (oratorios and operas), literature (novels and dramas), and movies. (Boccaccini)

521. Introduction to Akkadian. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction to the literary language of the Babylonians and Assyrians. In the first semester (this course) the basics of Akkadian grammar will be rapidly presented. There will be weekly homework exercises and in-class recitation. Individual tutoring may be organized, as needed. There will also be an introduction to the cuneiform signs, the script of the ancient texts. The course grade is based on in-class recitations and a number of exams, including a final exam. (the second semester of this course progresses to reading of ancient myths from Mesopotamia in the original language and signs. Cost:2 WL:3 (Yoffee)

Arabic (and Berber) Studies (Arabic: Division 321)

Elementary and Intermediate Language Courses

101. Elementary Modern Standard Arabic. (4). (LR).

This is the first course of a two-term sequence in elementary Arabic. It is designed for non-concentrators and those who need Arabic to fulfill the language requirement. It provides an introduction to the phonology and script of Modem Standard Arabic and its basic vocabulary and fundamental structures. It offers combined training in listening, speaking, reading and writing. There will be focus on simple interactive communicative tasks involving teacher-student, student-student and group interactions. Reading and cultural skills are developed through simple short texts and situational dialogues. There will be daily written assignments involving supplying answers to certain drills and questions on reading comprehension passages, filling out forms and writing short messages and paragraphs. Evaluation will be based on class participation, weekly achievement tests, monthly comprehensive tests, and a final exam. Regular use of the language laboratory or recorded tapes for home use is required to reinforce class work and also to do the recorded assignments. Class meets 4 hours per week. Textbooks: (1) A Programmed Course in Modern Standard Arabic Phonology and Script by McCarus-Rammuny, (2) Elementary Modem Standard Arabic Part one by Abboud et al. (Lessons 1-10), (3) Course pack including supplementary cultural materials, dialogues, and special activities. Cost:1 WL:3 (Rammuny)

221(201). Intensive Elementary Modern Standard Arabic. (6). (LR). Laboratory fee ($16) required.

The sequence of Arabic 221 and 222 is designed for students concentrating in Arabic or those who expect to use Arabic at an accelerated rate. It is primarily intended for highly-motivated students who want to study Arabic for academic purposes. Arabic 221 starts with an intensive introduction to Arabic phonology and script combined with oral basic communication practice. This is followed by short reading selections and situational dialogues including basic vocabulary and fundamental grammatical structures. The course offers combined training in the four language skills, plus practice in using the Arabic dictionary. Course requirements include daily preparation of the basic texts and grammatical explanations, extensive oral and written practice utilizing newly learned vocabulary and structures, and written assignments. These assignments involve answers to certain drills and reading comprehension questions, filling out short forms and supplying short messages and biographical information. Class meets six hours per week for six credit hours. Course evaluation is based on class participation, daily written assignments, weekly achievement tests, monthly comprehensive tests and a final prochievement examination. Textbooks: (1) Programmed Course in Modern Standard Arabic Phonology and Script by McCarus-Rammuny, (2) Elementary Modern Standard Arabic. Part One by Abboud et al. (Lessons 1-15) and (3) Course pack including supplementary dialogues, activities and cultural material. Cost:2 (Khaldieh)

Literature, Civilization, and Advanced Language Courses

421(401). Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic. Arabic 222 or 201 or equivalent. (6). (LR). Laboratory fee ($7) required.

This course emphasizes the use of Arabic language. That is, students will develop the ability to: (1) communicate/speak in Arabic with native speakers of Arabic; (2) understand spoken Arabic; (3) read and understand selected readings taken from various genres of modern prose fiction and non-fiction as well as Arabic newspapers and magazines; and (4) enhance writing skills. Use of Arabic is emphasized throughout the whole course based on communicative approaches to learning. Course grade is based on class attendance and participation, written assignments, tests and quizzes, and a final exam. Required text: Peter Abboud, et al., Elementary Modern Standard Arabic Part II (lessons 30 45) and Cultural supplementary course pack. Successful completion of Arabic 421 will fulfill the LS&A language requirement. (Khaldieh)

430. Introduction to Arabic Linguistics. Arabic 422 or equivalent, or competence in general linguistics. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introductory survey to the phonology, morphology, and syntax of literary and dialectal Arabic. It is designed to accommodate the Arabic concentrators with little training in linguistics and linguistics concentrators with no knowledge of Arabic. Class will be devoted to lectures and discussions. Course grade will be based on homework problems arising from class discussion and a final exam (no term paper). No textbook, but a reading list will be distributed.

501. The Arabic World: Culture and Civilization. Arabic 422 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

The objectives of this course are to develop fluency and accuracy in understanding, speaking, and writing modern standard Arabic, and to expand students' awareness of Arab-Islamic culture, and civilization. The course is based on a variety of literary texts and authentic cultural audio-visual materials including slides, video cassettes, and films. The course materials reflect not only the literary but also the cultural, social, and political trends of contemporary Arab society. Occasionally, students are required to read outside topics and give brief presentations. Requirements include daily preparations, weekly written compositions, monthly tests, and a final paper in Arabic. The course meets three hours per week for three credits. The course grade is based on classroom preparation and performance, written reports, monthly tests, and a final paper. Textbook is Advanced Standard Arabic by Raji Rammuny, Parts One and Two. (Rammuny)

521. Medieval Arabic. Permission of concentration adviser and instructor; primarily for graduate students. (3). (Excl).

An elementary introduction to Classical Arabic, the language of the Koran, traditions of the prophet Muhammad, pre-Islamic and later medieval Arabic poetry. The course begins with the alphabet, study of verb paradigms, and the most important syntactic structures. After about six weeks, students will begin to read easy selections from medieval Arabic prose. This course is for absolute beginners; no one who has studied any Arabic, or who comes from an Arabic-speaking background will be admitted.


Elementary and Intermediate Language Courses

201. Elementary Modern Hebrew. (5). (LR).

Development of basic communication skills in Hebrew. Reading, writing and grammar. Class discussion and readings in Hebrew. Class and language laboratory drills. WL:1

301. Intermediate Modern Hebrew. Hebrew 202 or equivalent. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Hebrew 311. (5). (LR).

The focus of instruction will be on the four language skills, with a continued emphasis on oral work and writing. Review of morphology and syntax. Continued emphasis on oral work and writing skills. Cost:1

Literature, Civilization and Advanced Language Courses

401. Advanced Hebrew. Hebrew 302 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

The course materials consist of texts from Modern Hebrew prose: fiction and non-fiction. Writing and speaking skills will be enhanced through a series of related assignments. Review of basic language structures and enrichment of vocabulary are among the objectives of the course. Evaluation of work will be based on active participation in the course, timely completion of assignments, quizzes and a midterm and a final examination. Cost:1 WL:3 (Bernstein)

403. Hebrew of the Communications Media. Hebrew 302 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

The focus of the course is Hebrew of the Media and discussion of contemporary political, social, and cultural issues in Israeli press and television news broadcasts. Reading, listening, and writing assignments are accompanied by a discussion of the issues. Evaluation of the work will be based on active participation in the course, timely completion of assignments, and four written tests. Cost:1 (Coffin)

451. Modern Hebrew Fiction: The First Half of the 20th Century. Hebrew 402. (3). (Excl).

Texts will be selected from a variety of Hebrew writers of the 20th century. Basic literary concepts and methods of analysis of texts will be covered in this course. Reading selections will reflect a variety of genres of Modern Hebrew literature. Evaluation of work will be based on active participation in the course, timely completion of assignments, and midterm, and a final examination. (Bernstein)

545. The Literature of the Hebrew Bible. Hebrew 402 or equivalent. (2). (Excl).

The copious reading of a wide variety of texts from the Torah, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, with emphasis on literary structure. Class performance and a term paper will be the basis for the grade. Prerequisite: the equivalent of two years of prior Hebrew language study. (Schramm)

553. Modern Israeli Fiction. Hebrew 402 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

The focus of the course will be on contemporary Israeli literature. The theme for the Fall term is Women in Israeli Literature - focusing on works of fiction, poetry, and film. The course is conducted in Hebrew. Evaluation of the work will be based on active participation in the course, timely completion of assignments, and two written tests. Cost:1 (Coffin)

Iranian Studies (Iranian: Division 398)

Elementary and Intermediate Language Courses

201. Elementary Persian. (4). (LR).

Persian has been called the French of the Near/Middle East. Certainly, Persia/Iran has been in the news. Persian is an Indo-European language, related to English, etc. Its literature, as in other arts, is a major part of Near/Middle Eastern and Muslim tradition. Persian 201 is the first term of a four term sequence. It takes the student through to the basic mastery of the skills of reading and writing, and of comprehension and speaking. Cultural as well as communicative skills are emphasized. By the end of the term the student should be well versed in these skills. Individual student by the instructor to polish and improve the student's Persian language skills. The objective is language use. Students who have special needs, such as those acquiring the knowledge of Persian for reading purposes, only, or for communicative skills, only, will be given special attention, and special sessions. Similarly, students of Iranian heritage, who may know some Persian in its colloquial form, will find the linguistic and cultural content of this course stimulating.

401. Intermediate Persian. Iranian 202 or equivalent. (4). (LR).

Persian has been called the French of the Near/Middle East. It is an Indo-European language, related to English, etc. Lack, or partial lack, of the knowledge of the monumental historical achievements of Iran is not only due to inadequate coverage by the media, but also to some first and second generation Iranians' failure to inform their children. This course invites students with interest in world affairs, and those children, and emphasizes not only language, but culture. Iranian Studies 401 continues 201/202. Its objective is to lead the student to the improved mastery of the four language skills, viz. comprehension, reading, and speaking and writing. During the course, the student will learn higher levels of language registers, will be exposed to samples of Persian patterns of communicative skills via dialog, samples of expository prose, and of literature. Emphasis is on the use of Persian in these four skills. In addition, multi-media exposure, including video and news material via SCOLA and other means are utilized. Persian is the language of the class, with occasional discussions of linguistic matters in English. Cost:1 WL:1 (Windfuhr)

Literature, Civilization, and Advanced Language Courses

541. Classical Persian Texts. Iranian 402 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor.

This course involves the reading and literary analysis of texts from major authors of the classical period (ca.950-1500) and includes basic skills in reading aloud and the use of the rules of prosody in scansion and interpretation of poetry texts. It will include shorter or longer passages from such writers as Ferdowsi, Nezami, Rumi, Sa'di, Hafez, Bayhaqi, Nezami-ye Aruzi, and others, according to the interests of the class and the instructor. There are midterm and final exams. The texts are in the form of a photocopied course pack.

551. Modern Persian Fiction. Iranian 402 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course is designed for students on the advanced level of Persian, and speakers of Persian with interest in the humanities. This course is a 'hands-on' introduction to contemporary Persian fiction. Following a general overview, the focus will be on the interrelation of intellectual and literary developments up to the present. Selected literary pieces in the Persian original, with translations where available, and secondary readings will be provided. Discussions will focus on the language of and literature itself, as well as on the dominant themes of the cultural and political matrix in which the text originates. Students will take turns in discussing assigned texts, authors, or topics. Grades are based on class participation, presentations, and a term project. The language of the class is Persian, with occasional discussions of 'technical' linguistic and literary matters in English. Cost:1 WL:1 (Windfuhr)

Turkish Studies (Turkish: Division 493)

Elementary and Intermediate Language Courses

201. Elementary Turkish. (4). (LR).

Part of the departmental sequence in modern Turkish language, this course aims at introducing and providing the opportunity to practice the basic structures of Turkish. Although it specifically focuses on enhancing spoken proficiency, reading and writing skill will be emphasized through written assignments. Students are evaluated on the basis of class participation, achievement on the weekly quizzes, a midterm, and a final examination. The required text is H. Sebuktekin Turkish for Foreigners) available in departmental office).

401. Intermediate Turkish. Turkish 202 or equivalent. (4). (LR).

Part of the departmental sequence in modern Turkish, Turkish 401 is offered only in the Fall Term and Turkish 402 only in the Winter Term. The course is designed for students who have completed either Turkish 202 or its equivalent as determined by the instructor. It emphasizes futher study of Turkish grammar and stresses development of comprehension, and oral and written expression through the use of selected materials relating to Turkish culture and collected in a course pack. A strongly recommended text for the course is G.L. Lewis' Turkish Grammar (Oxford University Press, 1967 or later editions). Student evaluation is based on class performance, written work, a midterm and a final examination. Cost:1 WL:3 (Stewart-Robinson)

411. Introductory Ottoman. Turkish 202 and permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

Part of the sequence of courses required of concentrators, MA and PHD candidates. The objective is to have speedy access to the printed word in Ottoman Turkish in the Arabic script. Method of instruction is through the study of texts while reviewing the Arabic and Persian elements in the language. It is intended for those studying Turkish for the purpose of reading Ottoman texts and archives. Cost:1 WL:3 (Stewart-Robinson)

Literature, Civilization, and Advanced Language Courses

501. Modern Turkish Readings. Turkish 402 or equivalent. (2). (Excl).

Since this course is part of the departmental sequence in modern Turkish, admission to it is dependent on satisfactory completion of Turkish 402 or its equivalent as determined by the instructor. It is designed to further develop reading and comprehension competence in a variety of modern Turkish styles; newspaper and learned articles, political tracts, government publications, etc. The method of instruction is through recitation including preparation, reading and oral or written translation of texts in class or at home with discussion of grammar, style and content. Students are evaluated on their class preparation, a midterm and a final examination. Among the texts used are A. Tietze's Advanced Turkish Reading and a collection of xeroxed materials. Cost:1 WL:3 (Stewart-Robinson)

lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.