Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington
  • People
  •  
  •  

 

Course Description

Introduction to Imperial Aramaic (3 cr.)  Course description flyer
Christopher Beckwith
CEUS-T 398 Advanced Central Eurasian Language I #34266
TR 4:00-5:15 (Room TBD)

Meets with CEUS-T 598

Aramaic is a close relative of Arabic and Hebrew. It was used throughout the Achaemenid Persian empire and is one of the most important languages for the history and religious studies of antiquity, so it is called Imperial (or Official) Aramaic. As the language of part of the Old Testament Bible, it is called Biblical Aramaic. It is the language spoken by Jesus, so some passages in the New Testament are in Aramaic.

Students will acquire a functional basic knowledge of the language, including its alphabetic writing system, grammatical structure, and frequent vocabulary items.

Readings will include passages from the Books of Ezra, Daniel, and Jeremiah in the Old Testament Bible; from the New Testament Bible; from the Aramaic version of the Behistun Inscription of the Persian king Darius I; from the Aramaic version of the 13th Rock Edict of the Indian king Devānāmpriya Priyadarśi (Aśoka); and from the Aramaic manuscripts from Bactria at the time of its conquest by Alexander the Great.

No previous knowledge of a Semitic language is necessary, though experience learning another foreign language can be helpful.