Courses & Workshops/Nov 20, 2015

Dumbarton Oaks/ HMML Syriac Summer School 2016

Dumbarton Oaks/ HMML Syriac Summer School 2016 lead image

Dumbarton Oaks/ HMML Syriac Summer School 2016, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, July 10–August 6, 2016

Dumbarton Oaks in collaboration with the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library  (HMML) announces a new intensive four-week introduction to Syriac language and paleography in summer of 2016. The program, sponsored and funded by Dumbarton Oaks, will be hosted at HMML, located on the campus of Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. The summer school will include a long weekend in Washington, DC, to visit Dumbarton Oaks and other institutions in the area to learn more about their resources for Byzantine and Eastern Christian studies. The school will run from July 10 to August 6, 2016. The audience is doctoral students or recent PhDs who can demonstrate a need to learn Syriac for their research.

Approximately ten places will be available. All costs apart from travel to and from Saint John’s University (nearest airport: Minneapolis-St Paul) will be covered by Dumbarton Oaks.  During the summer school they will be charged no tuition fees, and will be provided with housing and meals. During the visit to Washington their travel expenses, accommodations, lunches, and entrance fees will also be covered by the program.

The program welcomes international applicants but does not sponsor J visas.

Course Offerings
The Summer School will consist of morning and afternoon sessions Monday-Friday, complemented by guest lectures and other learning opportunities, as well as social events and enjoyment of the beautiful 2700-acre campus with woods, lakes, and notable architecture.

Each morning session will be devoted to the study of Syriac language. The first two weeks will focus upon J.F. Coakley’s sixth edition of Robinson’s Paradigms and Exercises in Syriac Grammar (Oxford, 2013). Classes will entail grammatical instruction and review of forms. Prior familiarity with basic Syriac grammar is not a prerequisite but would be advantageous. The second two weeks will concentrate upon in-class reading of Syriac prose texts from the Peshitta New Testament, supplemented with short selections from Aphrahat, Ephrem, and Jacob of Serugh.

Each afternoon session will provide orientation in the reading of Syriac manuscripts of all periods from the major script-types. It will incorporate Syriac language learning alongside instruction in paleography and codicology. Examples will be drawn from HMML’s vast collection of digitized Syriac manuscripts. Students will have the opportunity to hone and challenge the language skills acquired in the morning sessions by reading snippets of text, including colophons, while gaining a foundational experience in deciphering Syriac manuscripts from various communities and time periods.

Following this intensive course, students will be fully equipped to continue reading on their own or to enter Syriac reading courses at other institutions.

Scott Johnson, University of Oklahoma (Syriac language)
Adam McCollum, University of Vienna (Syriac manuscripts)

Accommodation and Costs
Students will be housed in shared apartments on the Saint John’s University campus. Each participant will have a private bedroom and bathroom, with shared kitchen and laundry facilities. A meal contract at the student Refectory will be provided.

Requirements for Admission
Applicants must be enrolled doctoral students in good standing with a demonstrated need to learn Syriac for their research, or recent PhDs, including early-career faculty members, who can demonstrate the value of Syriac for their teaching and research. A basic familiarity with the Syriac alphabet and principal script-forms will be presumed. Those accepted into the program will be informed about resources to help them in their preparation.