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Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures

Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures is a specialization of the Master’s programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations. This Master programme is unique in the Netherlands in the breadth of its subject matter, the historical periods covered and the multidisciplinary approach of its study. Characteristic for the Master is its focus on reading ancient texts in their original languages, and discussing the different interpretations the texts allow. The student may specialize in one of four tracks:

Click on “More info” below for more details about the programme or visit our website


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Students may choose courses up to a total of 30 EC

Historical Grammar of Hebrew and Aramaic 10
Advanced Biblical Hebrew Grammar 10
Reading source texts 10
Cultural History of Aramaic 10

Second semester

Hebrew Belles-Lettres 10
MA thesis Classics and Ancient Civilizations 20

More info

Structure Specializations Master’s thesis Requirements for graduation Students’ Counsellor: Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures


The Master Classics and Ancient Civilizations (1 year, study load: 60 EC) offers a comprehensive teaching programme which comprises all cultures of the Mediterranean sea in antiquity. The programme introduces a wide variety of research methods: traditional philology with its intimate knowledge of languages and texts, while still indispensable, is enriched by social history and economic theory, comparative literature, the study of religion in an anthropological perspective and, of course, archaeology and material culture.


The Master has four specializations, all of which focus on reading ancient texts in their original languages and discussing the interpretations these texts give rise to. Ranging from the sources of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and the Roman Empire to the medieval texts in Neo-Latin, Coptic and Hebrew: Assyriology, Classics, Egyptology, and Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures.

The specialization Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures in Leiden is offered by the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, which uniquely offers a thorough education in both languages. Students are not only enabled to study Classical Hebrew (Biblical, Qumran, Rabbinic) and various Aramaic dialects in their 3000-year-old history, but also to immerge in Modern Hebrew language and literature and present-day Israeli society. In addition to the Master’s thesis (20 EC), the programme includes four courses of 10 EC each: Historical grammar of Hebrew and Aramaic, Cultural history of Aramaic, Hebrew Belles-Lettres, as well as Reading source texts.

For more information on the other three specializations, see Classics and Ancient Civilizations.

Master’s thesis

The thesis for the Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations is worth 20 EC, and contains a maximum of 20,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. More information about the official regulations regarding the MA thesis (attachment of the Teaching and Examination Regulations).

Assyriology and Hebrew and Aramaic languages and cultures: The Master’s thesis must be representative of the student’s ability to acquire knowledge on any topic covered by the degree programme and to process this knowledge in an academically sound manner, as well as presenting it in writing in accordance with generally accepted academic practices. The aforementioned topic generally implies working with primary sources in the original languages.

Requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 60 EC programme of their specialization and have completed their Master’s thesis as a component of that programme.

Students’ Counsellor: Assyriology, Egyptology, Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures

Dr. M.F.J. Baasten Phone:+31 (0)71 527 2257 / 2960 Office hours: Monday and Thursday