Semitic Programme

Slot 1: Introduction to Northwest Semitic Languages (9.30-11.00)

Agustinus Gianto (Rome)

This course covers the following areas:
1. The place of Northwest Semitic languages within the Semitic languages.
2. Ugaritic as the oldest directly attested Northwest Semitic language.
3. The "Canaanized" Akkadian of the Amarna Letters: a case in language contact.
4. Mechanisms of language change in the 1st century BC Northwest Semitic Languages:  Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic.

Short Bibliography
W.R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine 1000–586 B.C.E., Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 1985.
A. Gianto, “Ugaritic”, in: H. Gzella (ed.), Languages from the World of the Bible, Berlin – New York: De Gruyter 2011, 28-54.
A. Gianto, “Amarna Akkadian as a Contact Language”, in K. Lerberghe – G. Voets (eds.), Languages and Cultures in Contact. At the Crossroads of Civilizations in the Syro-Mesopotamian Realm, OLA 96, Leuven: Peeters, 123-132.
H. Gzella, “North-West Semitic in General", in: S. Weninger et al.(eds.), The Semitic Languages. An International Handbook, HSK, Berlin – New York 2011: De Gruyter, 425-51.
J. Huehnergard, “Afro-Asiatic”, in: R.D. Woodard (ed.), The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2008, 225-46.

Slot 2: The Joy of Biblical Hebrew Poetry (11.30-13.00)

Agustinus Gianto (Rome)

This course provides a step by step guide to discover:
1. Ways of enjoying Hebrew poetry.
2. How to appreciate the language and imagery of Archaic Hebrew Poetry.
3. Reading the Psalter for pleasure and enlightment.
Participants with different backgrounds in Hebrew are welcome.

Short Bibliography
R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry, New York: Basic Books 1987.
L.A. Schökel, A Manual of Hebrew Poetics, Rome: PIB [GBPress] 1988
W.G.E. Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry: A Guide to its Techniques, New York: T&T Clark  2005.

Slot 4: Introduction to Ancient North Arabian (16.00-17.30)

Ahmad Al-Jallad (Leiden) 

Ancient North Arabian is an umbrella term covering the pre-Islamic epigraphic material composed in the Dadanitic, Safaitic, Taymanitic, Hismaic, Hasaitic, and Thamudic (B-D, Southern) scripts. These inscriptions are concentrated in western two-thirds of the Arabian Peninsula, from the Syrian Desert to Yemen. Most of these inscriptions were produced by nomads, suggesting widespread literacy among these populations. As such, this corpus provides invaluable documentary evidence for the historiography and linguistic geography of Arabia in the pre-Islamic period. The earliest ANA inscriptions have been tentatively dated to at least the middle of the first millennium BCE. It is impossible to determine when the ANA inscriptions end, but the most common guess is the 4th century CE. The exact relationship between ANA and Arabic is unclear and awaits serious investigation.

The ANA inscriptions are written in a consonantal alphabet most closely related to the Ancient South Arabian script. Dadanitic is the only ANA script used for monumental inscriptions, and the Hasaiticinscriptions are found almost exclusively on gravestones. The remaining scripts are known from informal graffiti. The majority of the ANA corpus consists of onomastic, but important narrative inscriptions, sometimes containing historical information,are also attested. A famous Taymanitic inscription, for example, mentions aNbndmlkbbl "Nabonidus, king of Babylon", referring to the monarch’s occupation of the oasis in the mid-6th century BCE. Safaitic inscription sometimes mention outside peoples and events, including Roman political events and conflicts with/among neighboring peoples.

This course will introduce the scripts and writing systems, grammar, and the main textual material of the ANA corpus. Although knowledge of a Semitic language is not a prerequisite for this class, it can be helpful. Students will learn how to produce tracings from original photographs and commentaries on the inscriptions. We will also look into the matter of dialect variation within Safaitic, the best attested ANA language/script. Students completing this course will have a working knowledge of the language and formulae attested in the different ANA scripts, and will have commented on inscriptions based on original photographs.

Introductory Bibliography  
Al-Jallad, A. forthcoming.A grammar and chrestomathy of Safaitic.
Macdonald, M. 2000. "Reflections on the linguistic map of Pre-Islamic Arabia."Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 11:28–79.
———. 2004. "Ancient North Arabian." In Roger D. Woodard, ed.,The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages. Cambridge: CUP, 488–533. Reprinted in Roger D.Woodard, ed.,The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia, Cambridge: CUP, 2008, 179–224.
Macdonald, M. and G. King. 1999. "Thamudic." In Encyclopaedia of Islam (revised edition), vol. X, pp. 436–438. Leiden: Brill.
Müller,W. 1982. "Das Altarabische und das klassische Arabisch."InW. Fischer (ed.), Grundriß der Arabischen Philologie, vol. I. Sprachwissenschaft, pp. 17–36.Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert. 
Sima, A. 1999.Die lihyanischen Inschriften von al-Udayb (Saudi-Arabien). Epigraphische Forschungen auf der Arabischen Halbinsel 1.Rahden/Westf.: Leidorf.
———. 2002. "Die hasaitischen Inschriften." In N. Nebes (ed.), Neue Beiträge zur Semitistik, pp. 167–200.Jenaer Beiträge zum Vorderen Orient 5.Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Winnett, F. and G. Harding. 1978. Inscriptions from Fifty Safaitic Cairns. Near and Middle East Series 9. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Winnett, F. andW. Reed. 1970. Ancient Records from North Arabia. Near and Middle East Series 6. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.