Readings in Syriac

Photo of Ephrem CarrIL: SY411;
Ateneo di Sant’Anselmo 01143 Letture di testi liturgici siriaci II
KULeuven: pending accreditation

Taught byProf. Ephrem Carr



This course presumes familiarity with the alphabet and formation of words so that the majority of class time may be spent reading texts. During the first two weeks we review the verbal forms of the present and perfect tenses, personal pronouns, the various usages of nouns and adjectives. The teaching method is to recognize these forms in the texts read together in class. At the end of the course each student will be prepared to describe and explain short readings from the Syriac New Testament and to produce translations of the texts.


Students enrolling for credit at KU LeuvenPending accreditation

This course is taught at Ealing Abbey, London for four weeks during the month of July for the following academic year. It is completed before enrolment at KU Leuven at the end of August. To enquire please write to: il AT liturgyinstitute DOT org. After successfully completing this course at Ealing, you may thereafter enrol for this course at KU Leuven to receive KU Leuven study points / ECTS credits.

Only 26 contact hours are required for 4 ECTS at KU Leuven, although 30 contact hours are offered in this course.


Dates: 4-29 July 2017 (Saturdays and Sundays are free days)


Hours: 8:30-10.00

The course anticipates the student will spend 60 hours in personal reading and study.


Location: Benedictine Institute (at Ealing Abbey)
74 Castlebar Road Ealing London, W5 2DD, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8862 2156 Fax: +44 (0)20 8862 2133
For further details or to register contact the Centre at:
E-mail: il AT liturgyinstitute DOT org


Previous knowledge

This course provides an initial review of the materials taught in Beginning Syriac and then a continuation of reading Syriac texts. Thus, this course presumes familiarity with the alphabet and formation of words so that the majority of class time may be spent reading texts.



Basic Exercises in Syriac Grammar following the Serto, West Syrian form and readings in the Syriac New Testament.


Course Material

♦    J.F. HEALEY, First Studies in Syriac (Birmingham University Semitic Study AIDS), University of Birmingham, Birmingham 1980 (available here).
♦    Robinson’s Paradigns and Exercises in Syriac Grammar, 6 ed. rev. J.F. Coakley, Oxford UP, Oxford 2013.


Course activities

♦     Study of basic grammar: verb forms, nouns, pronouns, adjectives.
♦     At the end of the course the student should be able to read in Syriac and translate simple texts from the New Testament.


Evaluation description

Examination type: ongoing (40%) and oral (60%) with written preparation.

When?: The ongoing assessment is based on daily preparedness for class and participation.The oral exam is consucted during the final class session.

Evaluation type: The ongoing assessment is based on daily preparedness for class and participation. For the final exam the instructor provides a text from the New Testament written in Classical Syriac for the student to parse and translate. The student will have thirty minutes to prepare the text for the oral exam. Class notes and materials may be used in the preparation, other than translations of the scripture.

Explanation: The ongoing assessment is based on daily preparedness for class and participation. The final assessment is based on the student’s clarity of understanding and translation of the Syriac text assigned.

Second opportunity to sit the exam: Because this is an intensive summer course, the opportunity for a second exam is by appointment and depends upon the availability of the instructor.


Notes: Students must be over 18 years of age.

This course is designed for all the students to begin together. Once the course has begun, new students may not join in subsequent weeks.

This course is held in the mornings and may be taken alone or in conjunction with our courses offered during afternoon sessions.

If students enrol in two concurrent courses, they may wish to prepare for the intensive schedule by reading suggested texts before the course begins.

The instructor will arrange with the students to be available regularly for some time in the Study Centre and is also available by appointment.


Dates: Block I and II

Students auditing this course (no exams, no marks, no credit) may:

Enrol for the first week only: 3-7 July 2017
or for the first two weeks: 3-14 July 2017, weekdays
or for the first three weeks: 3-21 July 2017, weekdays
or for all four weeks: 3 – 28 July 2017, weekdays
Note: Saturdays and Sundays are free days. 

Students taking this course for credit (pending) at KU Leuven are to register for the complete four-week course, although they are required to attend only 26 contact hours to obtain for 4 ECTS at KU Leuven.

Students are invited to attend the annual St Bede Lecture, to be held on Saturday afternoon 8 July.



Non-residential day students are welcome.

Limited accommodation is available through Ealing Abbey house for guests or other religious houses or nearby.

Residential students may arrange to arrive on Saturday 1 or Sunday 2 July or before the session begins at 11:00 on Monday 3 July 2017.

Residential students may arrange to depart after the session ends on Friday or on the following Saturday.


This course is proposed for accreditation by KU Leuven

A link to the course descriptor at KU Leuven is not yet available.