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Hebrew

Hebrew has been in use for over three thousand years, making it one of the very few languages that is attested both in ancient and modern times. It is best known as the language of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), which is a collection of books that were written between about 1200 BCE and 150 BCE. Following the Roman invasions into the biblical lands in the first two centuries CE, Hebrew fell out of use as a spoken language by around the 3rd century CE. It remained in use, however, as a literary and liturgical language among the Jews, and there is a huge corpus of Hebrew literature from that period, through medieval times, and into the modern era. In the late 19th century, Hebrew was revived as a spoken language, and today has about 5 million native speakers in Israel and abroad.

Hebrew is a Semitic language, related to Arabic, Aramaic, Akkadian, Phoenician, Ugaritic, and Amharic. Its alphabet of 22 letters, which reads from right to left, is closely related to the Phoenician script, which was the source of the Greek alphabet, and in turn our own Roman alphabet.

HEBR 151, offered every other year, is an introduction to Biblical Hebrew. Like courses in Greek and Latin, Biblical Hebrew is focused on grammar and reading, with the aim of learning to read the ancient (biblical) texts. This course is followed by HEBR 152, 451, and 452. HEBR 451 and 452 are mainly reading courses. For those interested in Modern Hebrew, the spoken language of the State of Israel, we offer HEBR 001 every fall semester, followed by 002, 003, 401, and 402.

 

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Biblical Hebrew

HEBR 151 (CAMS 151, J ST 151): Introductory Biblical Hebrew Fundamentals of Biblical Hebrew grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.

HEBR 152 (CAMS 152, J ST 152):  Intermediate Biblical Hebrew Intermediate study of Biblical Hebrew grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.  Prerequisite: HEBR 151

HEBR 451:  Advanced Biblical Hebrew Translation and analysis of selected readings in Biblical Hebrew texts; attention will be paid to grammatical as well as literary details. 
Prerequisite: HEBR 152 or equivalent

HEBR 452: Readings in Biblical Hebrew Translation and analysis of selected readings in Biblical Hebrew texts; attention will be paid to grammatical as well as literary details. 
Prerequisite: HEBR 451 or equivalent

HEBR 494:  Research Project Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis.

HEBR 494H: Research Project Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis.

 

Modern Hebrew

HEBR 001: Basic Modern Hebrew I An introduction to modern Hebrew in its written and spoken forms; oral and aural work stressed.

HEBR 002: Basic Modern Hebrew II Continued study of grammar; emphasis on improving oral-aural facility, with increased attention to reading and writing. 
Prerequisite: HEBR 001

HEBR 003: Intermediate Modern Hebrew Grammar, reading, composition, and oral and aural exercises. 
Prerequisite: HEBR 002

HEBR 401: Advanced Hebrew--Conversation Emphasis Development of oral proficiency through discussions focusing on issues in contemporary Jewish culture.

HEBR 402: Advanced Hebrew--Reading Emphasis Readings in representative works of traditional and modern literature; practice in composition; study of aspects of Jewish culture.

Student Testimonial

“The day I changed my major to Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies was one of the happiest of my college career.  Even before switching to CAMS,  I was interested in what the department had to offer. (...)
An undergraduate advisor suggested LATIN 003 as a way of easing into college life, as I had taken Latin classes throughout high school and had performed well on the Advanced Placement exams.  The beginning was rough, but I enjoyed the challenge of translating Latin prose and the information that the texts conveyed.  Although I pursued an Advertising degree during my first two years of college, I continued to sign up for Latin courses, and by the end of my sophomore year, I had realized that Classics, not Advertising, was the right major for me. In addition to the Latin courses, I also studied the ancient civilizations of Rome, Greece, and Egypt in the CAMS major.  All of these classes were interesting, educational, and taught by knowledgeable faculty members.   The CAMS faculty is always helpful; they provide insight into the class material and make suggestions for outside reading during office hours and after class.  When I wrote my senior thesis for the Honors College, I received much help from the CAMS faculty while researching and writing the thesis.  Now that I have received my diplomas from Penn State, both in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Spanish, I have decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Education.  I have been accepted at the Complutense University of Madrid, one of the oldest universities in Europe, to study secondary education, specializing in classical languages.  I am confident that the education I received at Penn State, notably in the CAMS department, will aid me greatly in my postgraduate studies and in securing a teaching job, whether in the United States, Spain, or elsewhere.”

Celia Meehan
2010 CAMS graduate

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