Hebrew (Classical)


In the Classical Hebrew major, you will learn how to translate and understand texts in Classical Hebrew. The Classical Hebrew texts are primarily from the Bible, but over the course of your major, you will have the opportunity to study all the varieties of pre-Modern Hebrew, from the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls to that of ancient inscriptions, the Mishnah, and medieval commentators on the Bible. In addition to the study of texts in Hebrew, you have the option to add other units of study, especially from the Biblical Studies program. By the end of your major you will have mastered the ability to translate a wide variety of Classical Hebrew texts and will be aware of the academic resources available to support high level study of these texts. In addition you will have acquired specific skills for understanding the meaning and style of each of the varieties of texts.

Study plan

A major in Classic Hebrew requires at least 36 senior credit points including 24 credit points from core units of study.

Junior units of study (1000 level):
In your first year you complete two junior units: HBRW1111 Hebrew Classical B1 and HBRW1112 Hebrew Classical B2. These are the foundation for senior units of study by teaching the skills necessary to translate Classical Hebrew texts. They are beginners’ level units which lay the groundwork of grammar and translation skills by working with Biblical texts of a relatively easy level, generally narrative.

If you have more advanced skills you will need to consult the Department to be placed in the appropriate senior unit.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level):
In second and third year you take senior units of study which build on the basic skills taught in junior units. You complete four core units of study: HBRW2623, HBRW2625, HBRW3601, HBRW3602. These units of study continue the study of Biblical texts by looking at different genres not only for their linguistic and stylistic features but also with an eye to understanding how each genre communicates its meaning, covering prophetic (HBRW2623), Psalmic (HBRW3601), legal (HBRW2625) and non-Psalms poetic (HBRW3602) texts. In addition to the study of biblical texts these core units work through each of the attested varieties of pre-Modern Hebrew, focusing on the distinctive linguistic features of each group of texts compared to Biblical Hebrew, as well as the current scholarly debates in the study of each: Mishnaic Hebrew (HBRW2623), Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) Hebrew (HBRW3601), ancient inscriptions (HBRW2625), and Medieval Hebrew (HBRW 3602). These units of study are offered in a two year rotation. Whichever sequence you follow, you will experience a progressive increase of knowledge not only about each individual type of Hebrew literature, but also in the depth of your understanding of the methodological issues in studying literature in Classical Hebrew as a whole.

To complete a major, you need to add two more senior level units of study to the four core units. This can be done either by drawing on the Core Biblical Studies units (BBCL2603, BBCL2607, BBCL3601, BBCL3602), or units in Hebrew (HBRW2631 and HBRW2632) or Syriac (HBRW2651 and HBRW2652).

Visit the Hebrew (Ancient) subject area page in the online handbook for more information.

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Further study for major

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year in the Bachelor of Arts, or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

Related subject areas

Hebrew (Modern), Jewish Civilsation, Thought and Culture

Our courses that offer this major