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Old Church Slavic Language and Culture


Admission requirements



Old Church Slavic is considered the starting point for the historical comparative study of the Slavic language family. On the one hand, it is one of the most important sources for the reconstruction of Proto-Slavic, on the other hand it is the forerunner of regional writing traditions (e.g., Middle Bulgarian, Croatian-Glagolitic, Russian Church Slavic) which makes it an important component of the various modern Slavic written languages. This is definitely also true for Russian, in which the Church Slavic writing tradition has left deep marks in the modern standard language.

The course offers a high-pace introduction to the grammar and cultural history of Old Church Slavic. In broad outlines, the subjects covered in the course are successively: the cultural-historical context; periodization and source material; orthography; internal phonological developments; the present tense and Leskien’s classification of the verb; aorist, imperfect and other verb forms; nominal forms; pronominal forms and “mixed” declension; participles.

Much attention is paid to reading and analysing Old Church Slavic texts during the sessions. We start reading Luke 11: 1-13 ( the Our Father) according to the Codex Marianus (pp. 158-160 of the “Textproben” of the textbook; see below). Each week, students thoroughly prepare a number of verses and other texts which will be discussed in class.

Course objectives

The ultimate objective of this course is to be able to read Old Church Slavic texts with the help of a dictionary.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  1. In-class participation and weekly preparation of readings in Old Church Slavic.
  2. A written examination in which knowledge of Old Church Slavonic is tested using the texts read during the course of lectures. Central to the examination is not so much translation as is the ability to identify forms (aorist, imperative, u-stems, class V verbs, etc.). Questions on orthography, historical phonology and the cultural-historical context will also be posed.


  • Participation 20%

  • Written exam 80%

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


One resit of assessment parts 2

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Although we will use a German textbook in class, no knowledge of German is required (summaries and additional materials in English are available). The textbook is: Jos Schaeken & Henrik Birnbaum, Die altkirchenslavische Schriftkultur: Geschichte – Laute und Schriftzeichen – Sprachdenkmäler (mit Textproben, Glossar und Flexionsmustern) (= Altkirchenslavische Studien II, Slavistische Beiträge 382). München: Sagner, 1999. See: Jos Schaeken


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies


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