nl en

Reading Source Texts


Admission requirements

Regular MA admission requirements.

A working knowledge of Biblical Hebrew or another ancient Semitic language (e.g., Akkadian, Aramaic, Classical Arabic) would be very advantageous but not strictly mandatory.


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 that forms part of the linguistic and cultural fabric of Ancient Syria-Palestine. In the academic year 2015-2016, the course will consist of an introduction to Phoenician language and culture.
The course consists of a thorough introduction to the grammar of Phoenician and close-reading of a selection of inscriptions in the “Standard” dialect of Tyre and Sidon. We will also address a number of wider-ranging issues as they emerge from the primary sources, e.g., religion, royal ideology, and the spread of alphabetic writing.

Course objectives

Following completion of this course, students are able to independently study and interpret epigraphic texts written in Phoenician; they will also have acquired some insight into Phoenician civilization.


Semester 1 or 2: will be announced. Timetable to be arranged between student(s) and instructor.

For further information see the timetables on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load is 280 hours, of which:

  • Contact hours: 24 h;

  • Course preparation: 76 h;

  • Paper: 180 h.

Assessment method

  • Regular preparation (40%)

  • Paper (60%)

The final grade 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.



Reading list

Texts and bibliography will be distributed during class and/or made available via Blackboard. The grammar will be studied on the basis of H. Gzella, “Phoenician”, in: id. (ed.), Languages from the World of the Bible, Berlin and New York 2011, 55-75.


Please contact the study advisor.

Students are required to register for this course via uSis (5864KHA08R), the course registration system of Leiden University.


Prof. dr. H. Gzella


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