Course Overview

Module 1: Syro-Aramaic Language and Literature

Contact Hours

Type of courseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Orientation: Introduction to Syriac Studies1Lecture/Tutorial22
Syriac Language8Language course1385
Introduction to Syro-Aramaic literature1Lecture/Tutorial22
Introduction to Arabic literature in Syriac Christianity1Lecture/Tutorial11
Introduction to Semitic linguistics1Lecture11
Subtotal Module 11219145
Module 2: The Bible and Exegesis in the Syriac Tradition

Contact Hours

Type of courseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Introduction to the Syriac Bible1Seminar22
Syriac Exegesis: Old Testament2Lecture with exercises44
Syriac Exegesis: New Testament2Lecture with exercises44
Subtotal Module 2510244
Module 3: History of Syriac Christianity

Contact Hours

Type of courseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
History of Syriac Christianity in the Persian and East Roman Empire2Lecture with exercises33
History of Syriac Christianity at the time of the Umayyads and Abbasids2Lecture with exercises33
History of Syriac Christianity at the time of the Mongols in Central Asia and China1Lecture with exercises22
History of Syriac Christianity at the time of the Ottomans, the modern era and the present day2Lecture with exercises33
Subtotal Module 37113323
Module 4: Liturgical Science

Contact Hours

Type of courseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Introduction to liturgical science and the oriental liturgical tradition1Lecture with exercises22
West Syriac Liturgy2Lecture/Tutorial44
East Syriac Liturgy1Lecture/Tutorial22
Liturgy and the challenge in today’s world2Seminar44
Subtotal Module 461266
Module 5: Syriac Theology and Philosophy

Contact Hours

Type of courseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Early Syriac Theology (1st-5th Cent.)1Lecture22
Systematic Theology2Lecture with exercises44
Development and theology of Syriac spirituality and monasticism2Seminar44
Philosophy according to Syriac authors2Lecture with exercises33
Subtotal Module 57132443
Module 6: Syriac Christianity in Context

Contact Hours

Type of courseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Interreligious dialogue: Relationship with the Islamic world1Lecture with exercises22
Ecumenism: Syriac Christianity and other Christian traditions – Past and Present1Lecture wth exercises22
Syriac Christianity and today’s challenges: globalisation, integration, identitiy and nationalism1Seminar22
Subtotal module 63642
Module 7: Canon Law and Practical Theology

Contact Hours

CourseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
History and Development of Canon Law in Syriac Christianity2Lecture with exercises33
Specialisation in Canon Law: e.g. Current Synodal and diocesan decisions and their practical application1Seminar22
Pastoral Theology2Lecture with exercises33
Religious education pedagogy2Lecture with exercises33
Subtotal Module 7711326
Contact HoursECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Total compulsory modules478230221812
Master’s Thesis and Examination

Contact Hours

CourseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Master Thesis Seminar1Seminar22
Master Thesis221012
Master’s Examination66
Total Master’s Thesis and Examination1301218
Elective Module:

Contact Hours

CourseECTSSem 1Sem 2Sem 3Sem 4
Total Elective Modules88

Module 1: Syro-Armaic Language and Literature

  1. Orientation: Introduction to Syriac Studies (2 ECTS) 1 hour
  2. Syriac Language (13 ECTS) 8 hours  
    Intermediate and advanced language course. Aim to master the Syro-Aramaic language for Syriac literature. Understanding the history of Syriac, its structure, poetry and its research methodology and locating it within a wider context.
  3. Introduction to Syro-Aramaic literature (2 ECTS) 1 hour
    Research methodology, catalogues of Syriac manuscripts and printed works as well as related literature, codicology, grammar, lexica, series, periodicals, journals, bibliographic tools and manuscripts. Aim to be able to deal independently and scientifically with the sources of the Syriac tradition.
  4. Introduction to Arabic literature of Syriac Christianity (1 ECTS) 1 hour
  5. Introduction to Semitic linguistics (1 ECTS) 1 hour 

Module 2: The Bible and Exegesis in the Syriac Tradition

  1. Introduction to the Syriac Bible (2 ECTS) 1 hour
    The Bible in the Syriac tradition: The Peshitta, Syro Hexapla, Diatessaron, Syriac Curetonian, Sinaiticus, Philoxenus, Harclensis;
    Biblical manuscripts, lectionaries and their usage in the liturgy, printed editions and translations. Aim to become familiar with the fundamental contents of the Bible and how they were passed on in the Syriac Tradition.
  2. Syriac Exegesis: Old Testament (4 ECTS) 2 hours Classical exegesis e.g. literary-historic, allegorical, topological and anagogic interpretations.
  3. Syriac Exegesis: New Testament (4 ECTS) 2 hours The Bible in the Syriac tradition: Peshitta, Diatessaron, Philoxenian, Harclensis. Examination of the sources of New Testament exegesis: Biblical manuscripts, lectionaries and their use in liturgy, patristic writings, translations.
    Classical methods of Biblical exegesis:literary-historical, allegorical, typological. Principal Syriac Biblical exegetes and their methods: Aphrahat, Ephrem, Book of Steps, Jacob of Sarug, Philoxenos of Mabbug, Jacob of Edessa, Moses bar Kepha, Dionysius bar Salibi, Ishodad of Merv. Aim for students to gain knowledge of history and types of Syriac New Testament exegesis, the principal Syriac New Testament versions, especially the Peshitta, as well as the distinctive methods of major Syriac authors and Biblical exegetes.

Module 3: History of Syriac Christianity

  1. History of Syriac Christianity in the Persian and Roman Empire (3 ECTS) 2 hours
    Syriac Christianity in the Roman and Persian Empire in late antiquity, synods and councils in the area of tension between reception and opposition, the historico-political context. The dissemination of Syriac churches in Central Asia, China and India, in particular the Saint Thomas Christians. Understanding the development of Syriac christianity and the Christian churches within the wider framework of general historic development and understanding the interconnectedness of other areas of religion and culture. Being aware of the central aspects of the historic journey of the Syriac churches from the beginning until the present time.
  2. History of Syriac Christianity at the time of the Umayyads and Abbasids (3 ECTS)  2 hours Christians in the context of Islam and the Mongols. Encounters with the West: crusaders, Catholic and Protestant missions. Aim to understand the development of Syriac christianity and the Christian churches within the wider framework of general historic development and understanding the interconnectedness of other areas of religion and culture. Being aware of the central aspects of the historic journey of the Syriac churches from the beginning until the present time
  3. History of Syriac Christianity at the time of the Mongols in Central Asia and China (2 ECTS) 1 hour
  4. History of Syriac Christianity at the time of the Ottomans, the modern era and the present day (3 ECTS) 2 hours
    The challenge of Christians under the Ottoman Christians in the area of tension between the Ottoman Empire and colonial powers, ramifications of World War I on the contemporary situation of Syriac christianity worldwide.
    The role of the Syriac-Orthodox Church in ecumenism. Aim to understand and reflect upon the complex historical and contemporary developments of Syriac christianity in its countries of origin and in the pluralistic contexts in the diaspora.

Module 4: Liturgical Science

  1. Introduction to liturgical studies and the Oriental liturgical tradition (2 ECTS)  1 hour
    This course will introduce the main Syriac liturgical books (lectionaries, Shḥimo, Penqitho, Ḥusoyo, Ma’d’dono, Shbitho, etc.), in addition to key terminology in order to study these books and how they are used during the Syriac liturgical year. Aim is to understand the main concepts of Syriac Liturgical Theology in addition to acquiring the ability to analyse a few Syriac rites in the daily office hours and feasts.
  2. West Syriac liturgy (4 ECTS) 2 hours West Syriac liturgy and hymnology (mimre, madrashe, qole, onitho etc.), metre, stanzas, rhyme, rhythm, acrostics.
  3. East Syriac liturgy (2 ECTS) 1 hour
    East Syriac liturgy and hymnology (mimre, madrashe, qole, onitho etc.), metre, stanzas, rhyme, rhythm, acrostics. This course will cover the main Syriac commentators on Liturgy: Jacob of Edessa, George Bishop of the Arabs, Moses bar Kepha and Dionysius Bar Salibi, among others. Analyzing these commentaries is necessary to understand the shape of Syriac Liturgy and its development historically. Aim to achieve comparative knowledge about how the Syriac Fathers developed their understanding of the meaning of Liturgy in their various liturgical commentaries.
  4. Liturgy and the challenge in today’s world (4 ECTS) 2 hours Syriac sacramental theology and its ecumenical context. Aim: critical analysis of ecclesiastical practices and being able to contribute to their further development according to church guidelines.

Module 5: Syriac Theology and Philosophy

  1. Early Syriac Theology (1st – 5th Cent.) (2 ECTS) 1 hour Semitic poetic and symbolic theology of the early Syriac Church in hymns, mimre and madrashe.
  2. Systematic Theology (4 ECTS) 2 hours Through the centuries stories about saints have played – and continue to play – a crucial role in the religious imagination of many cultures. A formative period for the development of Christian traditions about holy men and women was Late Antiquity. In early Christianity, literature about women martyrs, desert monks and pillar saints was created in close alliance with biblical examples and classical rhetorical ideals. Understanding the hagiographic discourse is therefore a key to Christian spirituality and its dialogue with education and learning in the society.
  3. Development and theology of Syriac Spirituality and monasticism (4 ECTS) 2 hours History of monasticism and spirituality in the Syriac Orient, hagiograohs, acts of martyrdom. Selected theological topics of the Syriac renaissance.
  4. Philosophy according to Syriac authors (3 ECTS) 2 hours Reading and interpretation of theological, philosophical and natural science Syriac and Christian Arabic texts.

Module 6: Syriac Christianity in context

  1. Interreligious dialogue: Relationships with the Islamic world (2 ECTS) 1 hour  Past and present interreligious relationships in particular with Islam.
  2. Ecumenism: Syriac Christianity and other Christian traditions – past and present (2 ECTS) 1 hour  Past and present ecumenical relations, dialogue and agreements. Principles of inter-denominational and inter-religious learning.
  3. Syriac Christianity and today’s challenges: globalisation, integration, identity and nationalism (2 ECTS) 1 hour The challenges of globalisation and today’s migration, integration and identity difficulties.

Module 7: Canon Law and Practical Theology

  1. History and Development of Canon Law in Syriac Christianity (3ECTS) 2 hours East and West Syriac canon law. Aim: Understanding the development and history of Canon Law in the East and West Syriac Traditions; critically questioning canonical and synodal decisions as regards their feasibility in practice and contributing to their further development.
  2. Specialisation in Canon Law: current Synodal and diocesean decisions and their application (2ECTS) 1 hour Adopting ecumenical agreements (e.g. marriage law, baptism) and canonical decisions in the contexts of todays pluralistic society, and putting them into practice.
  3. Pastoral Theology (3 ECTS) 2 hours Pastoral situation of Syriac Christians in their countries of origin and the diaspora.
  4. Religious Education Pedagogy (3 ECTS) 2 hours Religious and cultural experiences in parishes, professional life and schools, questions concerning the connection between tradition and modernity, culture and religion. Didactic concepts in general and didactic approaches for religious educaiton, teaching methods, syllabi, teaching models and analysis of school books. Religious educations teachers in relation to church and state.