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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.


An introduction to the North-West-Semitic small-corpus languages from Transjordan (Moabite, Ammonite, and others) on the basis of a grammatical introduction and a detailed philological study of selected inscriptions. This class also serves as an introduction to Semitic epigraphy.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students have familiarized themselves with the linguistic features of the Semitic languages of Transjordan and their cultural-historical background and have acquired general philological skills to study unvocalized texts independently. They are able to explore this independently in a broader historical-comparative context by consulting the available literature.


Timetable to be arranged between student(s) and instructor.

Please consult the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • 13 tutorials of about 2 hours (26 hours);

  • preparing lectures, including reading and assignments (127 hours);

  • preparing written exam or writing a paper (127 hours).

Assessment method

  • Oral participation and preparation of texts to be studied in class (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.

Exam review

Students will be invited to discuss the results of the oral participation and preparation of texts, and the paper individually with the teacher, as soon as the results have been published.


Blackboard will be used for additional study materials

Reading list

To be communicated during class.

For some background information, students should take a look at:

  • K. Beyer, “The Languages of Transjordan”, in: H. Gzella (ed.), Languages from the World of the Bible, Berlin and New York 2011, 111-127;

  • H. Gzella, “Peoples and Languages of the Levant During the Bronze and Iron Ages”, in: M.L. Steiner and A.E. Killebrew (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant, Oxford 2013, 24-34.

  • Research MA students should also study H. Gzella, “Northwest Semitic in General”, in: S. Weninger et al. (eds.), The Semitic Languages, Berlin/New York 2011, 425-451.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.


Dhr. Prof. H. Gzella


MA students will be expected also to study bibliography on more specialized grammatical and historical topics.

Research MA students will be expected to read additional secondary literature and to choose a paper topic that requires more original research than one-year MA students.