This unit introduces students to the Syriac language as a basis for enhanced study of patristic literature preserved in Syriac, Peshitta (the standard Biblical text in Syriac) and for future study of the Syriac language. The primary focus of this unit is foundational Syriac vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Translation of selected biblical texts into English is an important component of this unit. The focus will be on consonant unvocalized text written in Estrangelo script. Nevertheless, the students will also become familiar with Serto script.

Unit code: AL1700A

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Languages

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate knowledge of basic Syriac vocabulary


Identify the fundamentals of Syriac grammar and syntax


Translate basic Syriac texts using lexicographical aids


Pre-recorded lectures, real time zoom tutorials, exercises, supplemented with some face to face classes.

Indicative Bibliography

Brock, Sebastian P. "Introduction to Syriac Studies," in: J. H. Eaton (ed.), Horizons in Semitic Studies: Articles for the Student, University Semitics Study Aids 8; Birmingham: Department of Theology University of Birmingham, 1980, 2-8.

Brock, Sebastian P. "The Development of Syriac Studies," in: K. J. Cathcart (ed.), The Edward Hincks Bicentenary Lectures, Dublin: University College Dublin, 1994, 94-113.

Hallam, Steven C. Basics of Classical Syriac: Complete Grammar, Workbook, and Lexicon, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.

Jennings, William. A Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament Peshitta, Oxford, At the Clarendon Press, 1926.

Muraoka, Takamitsu. Classical Syriac: A Basic Grammar with a Chrestomathy, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005.

Nöldeke, Theodor. Compendious Syriac Grammar: With a Table of Characters by Julius Eutling, London, 1904.

Payne Smith, Robert. A Compendious Syriac Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon 1903.

Thackston, Wheeler M. Introduction to Syriac. An Elementary Grammar with Readings from Syriac Literature, Bethesda, Maryland: IBEX Publishers, 1999.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Multiple Choice Quizzes or Tests

8 exercises. Equiv. 2000 words.

Written Examination

Equiv. 1000 words

Written Examination

Equiv. 1000 words


Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 20 Oct, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-10-20 10:50:08 +1100