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Hebrew Literature: Song of Songs and Lamentations


Admission requirements

Biblical Hebrew 2 (5532VBH2) or the equivalent (please get in touch with the course leader well before the start of the course, if you are in doubt).


In this course, we will read two biblical books of poetry, the Song of Songs and Lamentations. We will discuss their complex literary structure as well as the many interesting grammatical and lexicographic features. We will discuss their composition (are they coherent texts by author or anthologies) as well as literary parallels from the Middle East in antiquity. Finally, we will discuss these texts impact in reception historical and critical terms.

The basis of our work will be the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (or Quinta as and where available). Other biblical texts will be provided ad hoc (Qumran, Samaritan Pentateuch) as appropriate and as desired by course participants

Course objectives

Knowledge and Insight

  • Understanding of Classical Hebrew Poetry

  • Understanding of questions of translation from Classical language into modern vernaculars in different contexts

  • Understanding of the literary history of Song of Songs and Lamentations

  • Understanding of the ancient Near Eastern contexts of Song of Songs and Lamentations


  • Reading and grammatically analysing Classical Hebrew poetry

  • Reading the apparatus of the BHS

  • Analysing the content of Classical Hebrew poetry


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Participation: 10%
Essay Proposal: 20%
4,000 word essay: 50%
Drawing of invented Phoenician inscription with short reflection: 30%

The final mark fort he course is established by determining the weighted average of the partial assessments listed above.


If the essay is not passed, a new attempt can be made at the following normal faculty deadline.

If the weighted average of the course is insufficient (lower than 5.50), the student may rewrite the essay (70%). The deadline for the resit will be set by the convenor of the course. This deadline will also count for those students who do not hand in the essay by the first deadline. They will not get another resit.

Inspection and feedback

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

Reading list

A reading list will be made available on the course’s brightspace site. Access to a copy of the BHS is necessary (can be accessed in the UB).


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory. General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in the context of Contract teaching (including taking examinations), e.g. about costs, registration and conditions.

Exchange students having questions regarding registration, may contact the Humanities International Office.



All other information.