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Cultural History of Aramaic


Admission requirements

Regular MA admission requirements.


This course encompasses the study of literary, epigraphical and archaeological sources for the cultural history of communities writing in Aramaic. The precise topic varies from year to year. In 2014-2015 the subject of this course will be Jewish Magical Texts from Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. In this course students will be introduced into the vast world of Jewish magic as manifest in texts from Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. Aramaic is – together with Hebrew – an important language for the Jewish magical tradition. In addition to general literature on magic and Jewish magic in particular, students will read magical texts from Late Antiquity (amulets and magical bowls) and the Early Middle Ages (in particular materials from the Cairo Geniza). These texts will be read in the original languages, Aramaic and Hebrew.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be familiar with important issues related to the Jewish magical tradition – such as the role of the Hebrew Bible in Jewish Magic and the Rabbinic attitude towards magical practices – and will be able to study original Jewish magical texts from late Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages.


Please consult the timetable on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website

Mode of instruction

Lecture and seminar

Course Load

280 hours (10 ec):

  • 28 hours in class

  • 78 hours of class preparation

  • 54 hours for the preparation of the oral presentation

  • 120 hours for the writing of the paper

Assessment method

Assessment and grading method (in percentages):
Oral presentation (40%) and paper (60%).

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


Not applicable. Documents will be exchanged through Dropbox.

Reading list

The reading list will be handed out during the first class.


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University.
“General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. M.L. Folmer


The course will be taught in Dutch or English, depending on the first language of participating students.