WHY A GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ANCIENT PHILOLOGY OR NEAR EASTERN LANGUAGES?
Western Civilization has developed around two principal sources: the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Helleno-Roman culture. Over centuries, these sources have shaped our cultural vision and greatly contributed to the building of our modern world. In our multicultural ever-changing environment, many of us long to become more acquainted with our own heritage, with the roots and the growth of Western thought.
Jerusalem, the city of the Bible, the cradle of monotheism, and the melting pot of the Semitic and Hellenistic heritages, is a unique place to discover the roots of our civilization through the study of languages. The Polis Institute is currently the only place in the world where a student can study ancient and modern Middle Eastern and ancient Western languages, all as living languages.
Most of the writings from Ancient and Medieval times can only be read in their original language: Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, or Arabic. They have never been translated into any modern language. Furthermore, many specialists in the Humanities lack full command of ancient languages. It becomes increasingly difficult to find translators of ancient texts or even a scientific article where the author quotes a text from Antiquity that has never been translated into modern language before. Hence, 21st century individuals finds themselves estranged from their cultural roots.
Polis - the Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities, comes to fulfill this need. With two MA programs, offered by worldwide, renowned professors from European, American, Israeli, and Palestinian universities, the Polis Institute is currently the only place in the world where students can study the main Ancient languages of the West and the Middle East (Greek, Latin, Biblical Hebrew, Classical Arabic, and Classical Syriac) as living ones.
WHY AT POLIS INSTITUTE ?
WHY IN JERUSALEM ?
Polis was founded in 2011 by a group of language scholars who aimed to give their students effective tools for reading original texts, but the origin of our methodology hails back to 2001 with the pedagogical work of our Director, Prof. Christophe Rico. The Institute has already offered courses in Ancient Languages (Biblical Hebrew, Ancient Greek, Aramaic, Classical Syriac, Sumerian, and Latin) to students from the five continents. For our masters programs, Polis has recruited professors who are at the forefront of research and who will assure our students a good basis for future work in the field.
The Institute has developed a pedagogical vision which consists of teaching Ancient Languages as living ones. From the first day, the student is submerged in the language being taught, which is the only spoken language in the classroom. This approach applies the most recent language acquisition techniques (TPR, TPR storytelling, story-building, etc.) to ancient languages and gives the students concrete tools for a direct and intuitive understanding of ancient texts. The students quickly become able to read directly in the original language without translations or reliance on a dictionary or grammar book. For Ancient Greek, the method has been theorized in a book, Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language. The French original edition has been translated into several languages and adapted for teaching Biblical Hebrew, Arabic and Latin.
Learning languages in a multicultural environment
As the founding stone of Monotheism and a meeting point for Semitic, Hellenic, and Roman heritages, the City of the Bible has always been considered the cultural reference of the Western world. It exhibits a cosmopolitan character expressed through a myriad of cultures, languages and religions. It is not surprising therefore to find in it students coming from all corners of the world, all wishing to improve their knowledge of the languages of the Ancient World.
Through its international staff and the multiple contacts it has with universities all around the world, Polis wants to promote a dialogue with academic institutions abroad in order to make student exchanges easier. Being an international institution in a multicultural city, Polis emphasizes the importance of the academic connections of its students over the world.
As a part of the 'Total Immersion' method students are invited on weekdays to have Greek lunch with their instructors. The only rule during these lunches is that only Greek may be spoken. At this lunch, one can hear students talking about what they did the day before, discussing the news, telling a story, or just asking for the milk, all in Ancient Greek.
Proximity to Semitic and Classic Cultures
The exceptional proximity to historical and archeological sites as well as to important research centers in these fields offers a considerable advantage in getting acquainted with the Ancient World.