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Northwest Semitic Epigraphy


Admission requirements

Regular MA admission requirements.


The subject matter of this course changes every time it is offered. It is usually devoted to an in-depth study of epigraphic material in a Late Bronze or Early Iron Age Northwest Semitic language, such as Ugaritic, Phoenician, etc.
The course consists of a thorough introduction to the grammar of the respective Northwest Semitic language and close-reading of a selection of texts. Regardless of the exact subject matter, we will also address particularly important topics relating to Semitic Linguistics at large, such as the workings of the nominal and the verbal system, problems of comparative reconstruction, and the evolution of Northwest Semitic. A working knowledge of Biblical Hebrew or another ancient Semitic language (e.g., Akkadian, Aramaic, Classical Arabic) would be very advantageous.

Course objectives

Following completion of this course, students are able to independently study and interpret epigraphic texts written in the respective Northwest Semitic language; they will also have some idea of how to make responsible use of comparative Northwest Semitic evidence.



Mode of instruction


Course Load

10 EC = 280 hours

  • Contact hours: 24 h

  • Course preparation: 76 h

  • Paper preparation: 180 h

Assessment method

  • Regular preparation (40%)

  • Paper (60%)


Not available

Reading list

To be determined in consultation with the participants.
For some background information, students should take a look at H. Gzella, “Introduction”, in: id. (ed.), Languages from the World of the Bible, Berlin and New York 2011, 1-13.


Registration via uSis


Prof. Dr. H. Gzella