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Reading Source Texts


Admission requirements

No prior knowledge of Aramaic or Semitic languages is required.


This course will introduce students to Classical Syriac, historically the most important language of Middle Eastern and Indian Christianity. Classical Syriac is a variety of Aramaic, a Semitic language that dominated the Near East before the rise of Islam. The vast Syriac literature not only attests some of the earliest bible translations and bears witness to heated theological debates from Late Antiquity, but also forms the intermediary through which many Greek works from Classical Antiquity were preserved, allowing them to later be translated into Arabic. Hence, the study of Classical Syriac is useful to anyone interested in Semitic languages and linguistics, the history of Christianity and the biblical text, Syriac Christianity more generally, the formative background of Islam, or the reception of Classical literature in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be familiar with Classical Syriac grammar and be able to read and comment on Syriac texts with the aid of reference works such as a dictionary.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


  • Participation

  • Written examination with essay questions

  • Paper


  • Participation (10%)

  • Written examination with essay questions (10%)

  • Paper (80%)

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.

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

Students should obtain a copy of J. F. Coakley's Robinson's Paradigms and Exercises in Syriac Grammar, Oxford University Press (ideally fifth edition or later). Additional literature will be provided by the instructor.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


Not applicable.