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OIKOS course Classical Arabic

From:Mo 23-08-2021
Until:Fr 27-08-2021
Where:University of Ghent

This year, the University of Ghent organizes a 5 ECTS course in Classical Arabic for OIKOS for the first time!

About the course

Arabic was catapulted onto the world stage by the Arab-Islamic conquests of the 7th century CE. Within a few centuries, it was the international medium of science and communication. Substantive amounts of documentary, epigraphic and literary material from the three centuries following the initial conquests have survived. Of course, this expansion did not occur in a cultural vacuum, and Arabic came into close contact with Greek, among other languages. The amount and variation of Arabic material available from this period means that knowledge of Arabic will open up a vast body of primary material of interest to a wide range of scholars engaged in the study of the Classical, Late Antique, and Medieval worlds.


This course will offer a one-week, intensive introduction to written Classical Arabic. It is our aim to offer this course in person at Ghent University, if the Covid-situation allows. For students not able to attend in person, we will offer an online option.

The program will consist of a theoretical morning block, where we will introduce the script and grammar. In the afternoon you can choose to focus either on documentary or literary material. In the afternoon sessions we will read relevant texts to give you hands-on experience with the text type of your choice. Understanding the formulae and conventions associated with different genres is an important skill in learning to work with this material.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course you will have a basic understanding of Arabic grammar and script. This should enable you to

  • read simple texts with the help of a dictionary,
  • compare original documents to their edition to assess some of the choices made by their editors and translators.

Hands-on experience in reading primary source material will help you develop

  • reading strategies for dealing with different styles of script, and
  • reading strategies to access texts which meaning may not be immediately apparent (e.g. by recognizing genre-specific content structures and layout features).


Please contact the course teachers Dr Klaas Bentein and Dr Fokelien Kootstra for more information.

Costs for travel and accommodation

There is some budget available to compensate participating OIKOS students from The Netherlands for their expenses for travel to and accommodation in Ghent. Please contact the organizers about the possibilities.