Study Syriac with the professor who wrote the textbook


Our world-renowned summer intensive classes return on June 10-28, 2024. Beginning Syriac and Intermediate-Advanced Syriac will be offered as usual. Both classes are hybrid: held at Beth Mardutho’s campus in Piscataway, NJ and also offering a synchronous online option for distance learners. We highly recommend students attend in person, since previous students have progressed more quickly with the language and have enjoyed the collegial atmosphere of working on homework together.

Classes are supplemented by lectures from Syriac Studies scholars and field trips. The NJ/NY area is a hub for many different churches from the Syriac traditions. We usually organize a trip to a local Syriac Orthodox monastery, and students can choose to attend Syriac liturgy in order to interact with Syriac heritage communities, see their living traditions, and hear Syriac spoken and sung aloud.

I completed Syriac I last summer and decided to return for Syriac II since I am currently doing fieldwork on the Syriac Orthodox church. It has been quite challenging, but it has been very rewarding to be able to read Ephrem and Aphrahat after only five weeks! In addition to the number of talks on topics related to Syriac, Syriac-English, and Syriac translations, it has been particularly fun to compose poetry in Syriac.

Anna Hagar, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher, Radboud University

This class is more than meeting my expectations. The progress of Syriac I is more than I expected; the amount and depth of the language that we’ve come across is more than I was expecting. George adjusts the class to our progress, we have many interactions during class, and everyone gets a chance to ask questions and practice speaking.

Matthew Ng

Research Assistant, The Education University of Hong Kong

Syriac I: Introduction to Syriac

Instructors: George A. Kiraz and Hannah Stork

June 10 – 28, 2024

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST

On Campus and on Zoom (Hybrid)

Students with no prior experience in Syriac will learn introductory reading, writing, and grammar using The New Syriac Primer, 4th Edition and should be able to translate introductory texts by the end of the course using a dictionary.

First week: Students will learn the alphabet, basic reading, and gender and number distinctions.

Second week: Students will be introduced to verbs, prefixes, and suffixes and will be able to analyze texts.

Third week: Students will focus on reading, comprehension, and translation of texts from the Church Fathers and the Peshitta. Texts read in previous years include extracts from the Doctrine of Addai, the Story of Ahiqar, and the writings of Philoxenus of Mabboug. This course includes team translation activities.

Syriac culture will also be introduced using modern recitations of liturgical and secular songs, and students can meet members of the Syriac community on a field trip to a local monastery.

Classes will be held Monday–Friday, 3 hours per day. Students are expected to spend the rest of the day doing homework and preparing for the next day’s lesson.

Syriac II: Intermediate-Advanced Syriac

Instructors: George A. Kiraz and Hannah Stork

June 10 – 28, 2024

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST

On Campus and on Zoom (Hybrid)

This course is geared towards students who have already learned Syriac and would like to dig deeper into the grammar and nuances of the language. Each day we read texts, work through the grammar of Coakley-Robinson, and translate between Syriac and English.

The Syriac texts that we translate differ from year to year. The instructor sets them for the first week, but for the rest of the course, students pick texts of interest to the group. Previous readings have included extracts from the Peshitta, Acts of Addai, Kalilah and Dimnah, and poems by Ephrem, Isaac of Nineveh, and Michael the Great. Students will also be exposed to West Syriac, East Syriac, and Estrangelo manuscripts.

The Beth Mardutho library, one of the largest private libraries in the world on Syriac material, is at the disposal of the class.

Classes will be held Monday–Friday, 3 hours per day. Students are expected to spend the rest of the day doing homework and preparing for the next day’s lesson.

Visiting Lecturers

Every week a visiting scholar gives a lecture on their area of expertise within the Syriac tradition. Students are given the opportunity to interact with our lecturers and learn from their vast knowledge.

Previous lectures have included:

Mandaic Aramaic and the Mandaeans

The Importance of Syriac Studies to Other Fields

Early Syriac Literature

How to Research a Dissertation

Simion the Stylite and the Importance of Manuscripts in Research

Monastic Life

Syriac Liturgy

An Introduction to Old Syriac

Charles Häberl (Rutgers University)

Jack Tannous (Princeton University)

James Walters (Princeton Theological Seminary)

Adam Becker (New York University)

Dina Boero (The College of New Jersey and Princeton University)

Joseph Bali (St. Ephrem Seminary)

Ephrem Ishac (Graz University)

Alberto Rigolio (Durham University)

Tuition and Housing

Class fees for the 2023 year are $875 per student per course. This includes tuition, use of the research library, and snacks. Textbooks and accommodation are not included. 

Students are responsible for arranging their accommodation in or around New Brunswick. On occasion Beth Mardutho can connect students to community partners with available rooms; other students have found housing through AirBnB. We offer daily pick-up and drop-off from the New Brunswick Train Station for individuals who do not have personal modes of transportation.

Local Information

There is easy train access to New York (1 hour), Philadelphia (ca. 2.5 hours), and Washington, D.C. (ca. 4.5 hours) from the New Brunswick train station. We are minutes from Rutgers University, and Princeton University lies half an hour down Route 1. The closest airport is Newark International Airport which offers direct train service to New Brunswick (ca. 45 minutes). In the past, summer students have organized weekend outings to museums, theatre productions, and festivals.


To register, make the appropriate class payment via the PayPal link below. After registering, students taking Beginning Syriac should immediately purchase The New Syriac Primer, 4th edition and begin studying. All students are expected to prepare chapters 1-3 for the first day of class. This allows the group to hit the ground running.

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