Aramaic Languages (Aramaic, Syriac) B

lglor1642  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

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

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2017-2018
Schmidt Andrea Barbara;
None, preferable LGLOR 1641.
Main themes
The course gives an overview about the main historical and geographical features of the development of Aramaic languages and writing systems in the Middle East from the 1st millennium B.C. until pre-modern times. It focus in the first semester on Syriac-Aramaic language. The course deals with the different writings. The linguistic and syntax system will be refreshed by reading various texts (biblical, historical apocryphal, poesy). The use ofbasic lexical tools will be explained. In the 2nd semester, the course explains the alphabet, the morphology and syntactical system of ancient Aramaic. Simple vocalised texts will be read (parts from Daniel, Esdras et Targums) by use of the basic tools. Students have to do exercises for each course in Ancient and Syriac Aramaic in preparing the reading of texts.

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


At the end of the course, the student will have acquired a better knowledge of ancient Aramaic and Syriac languages and literatures. He will be able to read, translate and analyze texts of simple (and average difficulty.


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: Ancient 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 2nd c. Syriac became the main Aramaic language in the Middle Eastreplacing former Aramaic dialects. It has developed a broad and varied literature and was used beyond the Near East by Christianised people in Central Asia, China and India. Aramaic-Syriac plays a pivotal role 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 explores the various Aramaic writing systems, as well as the linguistic and syntactic features. Students will become acquainted with texts of different centuries so that they get a good idea about varieties of Aramaic language and literature.
Teaching methods
For each class, students must prepare texts. Their works are reviewed and discussed. The exercises and other material can be downloaded in Moodle (registration required).
Evaluation methods
Oral exam at the end of each semester. The student has to read and translate a text and to answer to grammatical problems.
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
Araméen ancien :
        - F. Rosenthal, Grammaire d'araméen biblique, Paris 1988;
        - H.D. Neef, Arbeitsbuch Biblisch-Aramäisch, Tübingen2009 (2e éd.);
        - T. Muraoka, A Biblical Aramaic Reader, Louvain 2015;
        - M. Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and      
            Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, Leipzig 1903 (multiples
Syriaque :
      - - J.F. Healey, Leshono Suryoyo. First Studies in Syriac, Piscataway
       - L. Costaz, Grammaire Syriaque, Beyrouth 1952 (réimpr. 1964);
       - J. Payne Smith, A Compendious Syriac Dictionary, Oxford 1903
           multiples éditions)
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