NMC 1100 Y (=NML 220 Y)
INTRODUCTION TO ARAMAIC
The course is designed to introduce the student to the Aramaic language through selected readings and a study of grammar. First term: Ezra 4:8‑6:18; 7:12‑26; and selected Aramaic texts from the 5th/4th centuries B.C.E. Second term: Daniel 2:4‑7:28. Grammar will be studied with reference to Hebrew and Syriac. Because of the type of Aramaic studied, students of Akkadian and Egyptian should be interested. The course is valuable for students concentrating on Syria‑Palestine. Evaluation: based on class participation, at least two tests, and an essay.
NMC 1101 Y (=NML 421 Y)
EARLY SYRIAC TEXTS
As a first step in this course, Old Syriac inscriptions and contracts from Edessa and its vicinity (1st to 3rd centuries C.E.) are read. These texts belong to a late Aramaic dialect and, therefore, a description of the grammatical features of this dialect is given, as contrasted with Imperial Aramaic. As a second step in this course, sections from the Peshitta version of the Bible, namely the Pentateuch, are read and analysed. Comparison of vocabulary, expressions, and verb usages in the Peshitta and in the various Targumim will be made. Exegetical commentaries of the Bible, verse homilies and hymns, historiographical literature, and spiritual and mystical writings could also be read. Syriac literature is of interest to Near and Middle Eastern studies, religious studies, church history and theology, Jewish studies, classics, mediaeval studies, etc. Evaluation: based on class participation, one test, and an essay.
NMC 1102 Y (=NML 420 Y)
PALESTINIAN ARAMAIC TEXTS
This course is designed to enable students to undertake intensive study in the Palestinian dialect of Aramaic (Western Aramaic) found in the Palestinian Talmud and the Palestinian midrashic texts. This year we will begin our study with Tractate Niddah chapters 1 and 2. We will focus on Aramaic terminology and its function in the punctuation of the text. We will examine the way in which tannaitic material, especially Tosefta is used in text. Special attention will be paid to the parallels in the Babylonian Talmud to determine the mode and accuracy of transmission. Secondary literature and aids such as the Bar-Ilan database, concordances, and dictionaries will be introduced to the student.
NMC 1104 Y
ANCIENT ARAMAIC EPIGRAPHY
In this course students will read, translate and discuss a large selection of ancient inscriptions written in the various Aramaic dialects. Inscriptions dated between the 9th and 7th centuries B.C.E., originating mostly from Northern Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine, will be read first; inscriptions coming from Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia, dated between the 7th and 3rd centuries B.C.E. will be then dealt with; and later in the academic year students will read inscriptions from Palmyra, Edessa, and Hatra, dated after the 2nd century B.C.E. Evaluation: based on class participation, one major essay and one final exam.
NMC 1105 Y
SYRIAC HISTORICAL TEXTS
Selected texts from the extensive Syriac historiographical literature will be read in the original Syriac language and scripts and analyzed for style, grammar, and content. The texts will be taken from Syriac chronicles, of which there is a series culminating in the voluminous works of Michael the Syrian (12th century) and Bar-Hebraeus (13th century). Both are precious sources, mainly but not exclusively, for the history of the Crusades. Particular attention will be paid to the history of the Middle East and Byzantium from the 5th to the end of the 14th centuries. Students are expected to prepare the texts in advance for reading and analysis in class. Evaluation: based on class participation, one major essay, and one final test.
NMC 1106 Y
SYRIAC EXEGETICAL TEXTS
Selections from exegetical literature on the Bible will be read in Syriac and will be analyzed not only for their linguistic form and data, but also for their interpretive content. Extant literature includes commentaries on Genesis and Exodus by Ephrem the Syrian (4th century), as well as commentaries on all biblical books by Ishodad of Merv (9th century) and Dionysius bar Salibi (12th century). In addition, numerous “scolia” on individual passages have survived, such as those of James of Edessa (7th century) and, further, his Hexaemeron, a commentary on the six days of creation. In light of the chronological span of the literature, some attention will be paid to the development of Syriac interpretive tradition. Prerequisites: NMC 1100Y Introduction to Aramaic. Evaluation: class participation, a major essay, and a final examination.
NMC 1110 H (=NML 320 H)
Various texts in the Pentateuch dealing with ritual impurity, birth, Levirate marriage, marriage, and divorce in both legal and narrative sections will be studied using the following Targumim: Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan, and Neofiti. The Samaritan and Syriac Targumim will be collated as additional references. Midrashic sources of Pseudo-Jonathan and Neofiti will be discussed. A comparative study of the Targumim will be made in reference to grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and translation strategies. Solid background in Biblical Hebrew or Introductory Aramaic or experience with Eastern Aramaic from the Babylonian Talmud required.
NMC 1111 Y (= NML 359 Y)
Learning the syntax of Babylonian Aramaic and building vocabulary will be accomplished through study of the text of a Babylonian Talmud tractate and its traditional commentaries. Comparisons to Biblical Aramaic and other Aramaic dialects will be noted. Y. N. Epstein’s Aramit Bavlit will be the reference for grammar study. M. Sokoloff’s A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic is the required dictionary. Jastrow’s Dictionary of Talmud Babli, Yerushalmi, Midrashic Literature and Targumim may also be helpful. Strong Hebrew background and/or introductory Aramaic required.