Transmitting a Heritage: The teaching of Ancient Languages From Antiquity to the 21st Century

16 and 17 April 2018, At Polis Institute

Call For Papers



Polis – The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities is pleased to announce our 4th Interdisciplinary Conference: Transmitting a Heritage – The Teaching of Ancient Languages from Antiquity to the 21st Century (La transmission d’un héritage – l’enseignement des langues anciennes de l’Antiquité à nos jours), which will be held on the 16th and 17th of April 2018, at the Polis Institute in Jerusalem.


April 16-17, 2018


Polis Institute, 8 HaAyin Het, Jerusalem


General Information

+972 (0) 747011048

Secretary of the Conference

Michael Kopf MA

Confirmed Lecturers

Randall Buth, The Benefits of Full Immersion in Teaching Ancient Languages.
Eleanor Dickey, Greek Teaching in Republican Rome: How Exactly Did They Do It?
Nancy Llewellyn, Learning and Unlearning for the Renewal of Latin Teaching.
Milena Minkova, Various Dimensions of the Universality of the Latin Language.
Jason Pedicone, Philological vs. Second Language Acquisition Based Pedagogy: What’s at Stake?
Christophe Rico, Narrative TPR Applied to Pedagogy of Ancient Languages: A 19th-Century Breakthrough (François Gouin, 1831–1896).
Eran Shuali, A Short History of the Teaching of Hebrew at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Strasbourg from the 16th to the 21st Century.
Terence Tunberg, History of the Spoken and Extempore Use of Latin after the End of the Western Roman Empire.


The Cours de Linguistique Générale revisited: 1916-2016 

31 March and 1 April 2016, At Polis Institute

The Cours de Linguistique Générale was published in June 1916, three years after the death of Ferdinand Saussure. The text, which is based on the class notes of Saussure’s students, marks the beginning of general linguistics. Ever since its publication, this work has become a reference book for language sciences and humanities in Europe and all over the world. Since the first translation of this work (into Japanese, in 1928) the book has been translated into some 30 different languages: it has deeply marked all linguistics schools in the first half of the 20th century before becoming the inspiration of European structuralism.


The Polis Institute held an international conference on March 31 – April 1, 2016, in Jerusalem, to mark the centennial of the publication of this seminal work. The conference had interdisciplinary character, gathering specialists who explored the background and influence of the CLG, the concepts and dichotomies developed in this book, and the specific relations between sign and meaning. The presenters' papers and proceedings from this conference will be published soon.



The Library of Alexandria

8th & 9th January, 2015, At Polis Institute

In January 8 and 9, 2015, Polis Institute held an international conference on the Library of Alexandria that gathered philologists, historians as well as specialists of the Septuagint and of the Greek literature.




Jan Joosten (Oxford University)

Hélène Fragaki (Open University of Cyprus)

Emmanuel Friedheim (Bar Ilan University)

Anca Dan (CNRS, France)

Etienne Nodet (EBAF)

Christophe Cusset (Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon)

Sylvie Honigman (Tel Aviv University)

Agnès Favret (Université d'Angers)

Daniela Dueck (Bar Ilan University)

Eran Almagor (Independent Scholar)

Christophe Rico (EBAF-CNRS & Polis Institute)

 The Library of Alexandria is a piece of intellectual history which, through its mythos, has come to exemplify ancient scholarship and which raises innumerable tantalizing questions. Where were the Alexandrian libraries located within the Egyptian city? What texts, and what kinds of texts, were kept in these libraries? What caused the fire(s) that destroyed parts of the libraries, and exactly how much was lost? Why do ancient historians and other authors say little—in some cases, nothing—about such conflagrations?


Because the city of Alexandria had several libraries—the main one linked to the “Mouseion” in addition to a few smaller libraries, including the library of the “Serapeum”—the written accounts often confuse details concerning one or another act of destruction. Fires affecting the coastal area of Alexandria, and therefore only damaging one branch of the library system, were confounded in contemporary and later accounts. Even the number of volumes contained in the libraries varies wildly from account to account: The lowest estimates give 40,000 scrolls, whereas others give up to 700,000.


The topics of the conference touched on and drew connections among these open questions. Some scholars presented the known and deducible facts as to the libraries’ construction and approximate location within Alexandria. Others discussed the community of Jewish scholars in the city, and their and the libraries’ possible connection to the production of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Tanakh. Still others culled written histories of the libraries’ according to their accounts or silence, especially with respect to damage incurred by fires.


After each presentation, there followed a period for questions and discussion on the topic presented. The presenters' papers and proceedings from this conference have been published by Polis Institute Press.


The Origins of the Alphabet

February, 21st - 22nd, 2013 at Polis Institute

Despite the fact that writing has arisen independently many times in various different regions of the world, including Egypt, Sumer, China, and Mexico, the concept of the alphabet was invented only once, somewhere between Egypt and Phoenicia, with all known alphabets going back to this single source. While it is possible, up to a certain point, for scholars to provide an answer as to how the alphabet came about, it is much more difficult to understand the cause of its origin: why did it come about? In February 2013 Polis – the Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities invited some of the leading experts studying the origins of the alphabet to Jerusalem for an interdisciplinary debate on this topic. Although the birth of the alphabet has been the subject of numerous international conferences and symposia, studies offering a linguistic, sociological or psychological perspective on the development of writing are extremely rare.

More information about the Proceedings, here.


8 HaAyin Het St.

9511208 Jerusalem.
Tel: +972 (0)74 7011048

Fax: +972(0)74 7021931