Aramaic Languages (Aramaic, Syriac) A

lglor1641  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

Aramaic Languages (Aramaic, Syriac) A
9 credits
30.0 h + 15.0 h
Q1 and Q2

  This biannual learning unit is not being organized in 2017-2018 !

Schmidt Andrea Barbara;

The course is given in alternation with LGLOR 1642, level I.2.
Main themes
Initiation into the history of Aramaic languages, with the focus on Aramaic-Syriac.
The course gives an overview of the main historical and geographical features of the development of the Aramaic languages and writing systems in the Middle East from the 1st millennium B.C. until modern times. It then focus on the Aramaic-Syriac alphabet and language, which became prevalent in the 3th c. replacing other Aramaic dialects as the main literary language. The course deals with the palaeography, and the lexical and syntactical system of Syriac. It explains the use of basic tools (dictionaries etc., and tools on the web). At the end, simple vocalised texts of diverse literary genres will be read and translated.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


At the end of the course, the student will have a knowledge of the basic system of Syriac grammar. He will be capable of reading and translating, with the help of tools, elementary texts.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The family of Aramaic languages belongs to the Western group of Semitic languages. Aramaic is attested since the 2nd millennium B.C. and gave rise to a range of languages and dialects in the Middle East: Old Aramaic known from inscriptions, Imperial Aramaic (biblical texts in the Old Testament, papyri from Elephantine), and Middle Aramaic (Targums, Qumran etc.) used by various people of the Ancient Orient like Jews, Nabateans, Mandeans etc. In the Christian era, Syriac became the main Aramaic language in the Orient. It has developed a broad and varied literature since the 2nd c. As a written language, it was also used by Christianised non-Semitic people in Central Asia, China and India. Aramaic-Syriac plays a pivotal with the Coptic and Arabic literatures (Arabic-Christian and Islamic texts) on the one hand, and the Greek and Caucasian literatures, on the other.
The course will explain the alphabet and grammar of Aramaic-Syriac. At the end, simple vocalised texts of diverse literary genres will be read (biblical, apocryphal and historical texts, poems).
Teaching methods
For each class, students must prepare exercises or texts. Their works are reviewed and discussed in the next class. The exercises and other material can be downloaded in Moodle (registration required).
Evaluation methods
Continuous evaluation, with an oral exam at the end of each semester. The student has to prepare a text seen in class and give a translation and grammatical explanation.
Other information
-    - S. Brock et al. (ed.), The Hidden Pearl. The Syrian Orthodox Church and its Ancient Aramaic Heritage, vol. I et II, Roma 2001
- J.F. Healey, Leshono Suryoyo. First Studies in Syriac, Piscataway 2005;
- L. Costaz, Grammaire Syriaque, Beyrouth 1952  (réimpr. 1964);
- J. Payne Smith, A Compendious Syriac Dictionary, Oxford 1903 (multiples editions)
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Studies

Minor in Oriental Studies