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BT739 Biblical Aramaic



What is it?

This course focuses on learning the language of Biblical Aramaic.  Most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, but large portions of Ezra and Daniel are in Aramaic, along with a few words or phrases scattered throughout the rest of the Bible.


I’m spending about 4 or 5 hours a week on this class.  Usually an hour or so a day.  Often less.  I’m a morning person, so I’m usually done my Aramaic work before breakfast.

This is an independent Study.  For this class that means I have the syllabus and books and am basically on my own.  I may email the professor if I have questions, but otherwise just need to contact him when I’m ready for the final exam.  I know of one other student who is doing this course at the same time as well.

The class mainly consists in working through a 32 chapter book (Greenspahn’s Introduction to Aramaic).  Each chapter has homework exercises and vocabulary to memorize.  There are three quizzes and a final exam.

This works out to about 3 chapters a week. I do one chapter on Monday, one on Wednesday, and one on Friday.

Since this is a language learning class, I’m studying vocabulary using my usual method.  For new words, I take whatever words will be introduced in the chapters the next week.

This requires about 5 or 10 minutes of reading (short chapters), followed by homework.  The homework consists of some exercises (writing out paradigms, parsing words, translating simple phrases), and then translating an Aramaic text (Ezra, Daniel, etc).  Sometimes, I would only do half the translation, then save the other half for the next day.  (I figure I have two days for each chapter).

I’ve actually already studied Aramaic a bit on my own before Seminary, using a different book (by Van Pelt), so luckily this class feels more like a review for me.


Where it fits:

I entered the MA in Biblical Languages having already taken five semesters of Greek and four semesters of Hebrew in College.  Only four classes are needed for the MA, but I’m only allowed to have three classes as advanced standing.  This class covers the requirement for a fourth language class.

Stuff I’m using:

Blank Vocabulary Cards: Boxed Set/1000

An Introduction to Aramaic

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia ( Bhs ): PAPERBACK EDITION

The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon: With an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic : Coded With the Numbering System from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible Complete and Unabrid Edition by Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, Char

Basics Of Biblical Aramaic: Complete Grammar, Lexicon, And Annotated Text

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