September 23rd, 2020


The third day of the Annual Interdisciplinary School of Oriental Studies, Ancient Greek and Egyptology began with a lecture from Associate Professor Mădălina Vârtejanu-Joubert (INALCO, Paris), titled A Presentation of Ancient Hebrew and of Ancient Hebrew Sources. In it, Professor Vârtejanu-Joubert highlighted the place of Hebrew among Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) languages, discussing its timeline and evolution as well as existing linguistic sources, through an incursion through proto-sinaitic writing, the proto-Canaanite alphabet, paleo-Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew and a presentation of sources such as inscriptions (on objects, ostraka, lapidary inscriptions), scrolls (Papyri Elephantina, Ketef Hinnom, Qumran, Papyrus Nash) and codices (Aleppo, Leningrad). The subsequent seminar took the form of a case study of three documents: the inscription at Kuntilet Adjrud, an ostrakon from Lakish and the Decalogue found in the Nash Papyrus, which featured a variation in the order of Biblical Commandments. The seminar emphasised the ways in which we can understand the concept of canon in the history of Judaism and also discussed scribal practices, the significance of particular textual details and ideological subtleties, the proper ways to translate Ancient Hebrew and a review of widespread translations.

The practical course given by Dr Ana-Maria Răducan (IASLCC) St Symeon, the New Theologian – Hymns of Heavenly Love focused on Hymn 1 by St Symeon, the New Theologian, a 10th-century Byzantine monk and mystic from Constantinople. The students read and translated the original text, coming into contact with a sample of Byzantine poetry of Divine inspiration written in a very personal register. At a linguistic level, the passages illustrated different particularities of Middle Byzantine Greek. Conceptually, the text evidences both the ineffability of mystical contemplation and the representation of Heavenly Paradise – allegorically depicted as an ostentatious and sensory Imperial ceremony from the Byzantine court, well-known to and much-wonted by the returning audience of this charismatic monk. His message was addressed to a society which piously sought Salvation and the rewards of the Afterlife, yet at the same time lived involved and passionate earthly lives.


No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment