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Comparative Semitics


Admission requirements

This course is meant for second year Research MA students who already have completed the course Historical Grammar of Hebrew and Aramaic.


An introduction to the historical grammar of Biblical Hebrew on the basis of a detailed philological study, with special emphasis on the evolution of phonology and morphology.

Course objectives

A better idea of the evolution of Hebrew in its linguistic setting during the first millennium BCE and some experience with a thorough philological study of difficult texts, including matters of phonology, morphology, syntax, textual criticism, and contextual interpretation.


See timetable available on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load is 280 hours, of which:

  • 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 presentation (10%);

  • Paper (90%).


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.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

To be communicated during class.
For some background information, students should take a look at H. Gzella, “Ancient Hebrew”, in: id. (ed.), Languages from the World of the Bible, Berlin and New York 2011, 76-110. Research MA students should also study id., “Northwest Semitic in General”, in: S. Weninger et al. (eds.), The Semitic Languages, Berlin/New York 2011, 425-451.


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.


Dhr. Prof. H. Gzella


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