Since its establishment in 2011, the Polis Institute has been dedicated to the revival of the ancient languages foundational to Western civilization as a way to revive Humanities in general. The campus is situated just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, where Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic have each dominated the land at various periods throughout history. The abundance of historic sites, museums, and archives in the surrounding area presents many unique research opportunities. Currently, our research focuses on two areas; Second Language Acquisition, and research on the history and living context of selected holy sites.
Secondary Language Acquisition
The Polis Institute employs a unique method of language teaching – the Polis Method, which is primarily based on total immersion in the target language, but also adapts in a creative way some techniques developed by various teachers and researchers since the 1970s. With the benefit of research projects as well as students in the Masters Programs, old ideas are constantly challenged while new ones are illuminated. Our classrooms are living laboratories in which to test the most promising techniques. Currently, our instructors are experimenting with Living Sequential Expression (LSE), a technique that was first conceived and developed at Polis, and inspired by the work of François Gouin. The Polis Method is constantly being refined as we incorporate new insights into Second Language Acquisition.
As a complement to the Polis Method of classroom learning, we developed and published a number of language textbooks. The Polis Institute Press continues to research and publish new books in line with our goals of reviving ancient languages and improving the teaching - and learning - of modern spoken languages. In 2018, the Polis Institute collaborated with the Ministry of Education on a program for teaching Modern Hebrew in Arabic speaking schools. The result was the publication entitled Ahat, Shtayim, Shalosh: Practice Book in Spoken Hebrew. This particular textbook has proven so effective, that its format is being adapted and translated into Coptic, Akkadian, Greek, Spoken Arabic, and Latin language textbooks.
Research on the History and Living Context of Selected Holy Sites
During the years 2016-2020 the Polis Institute partnered with the Saxum Foundation to provide research and materials for a multimedia visitor center at Saxum, in the village of Abu Gosh near Jerusalem. As part of that collaboration, the Polis Institute provided information pertaining to the history of Israel, certified the historical accuracy of displays at the center, and assisted in recording historical texts in various languages. In a separate project with the Saxum Foundation, the Polis Institute worked to mark and promote the Emmaus Trail – a walking path in which Jesus appeared to his disciples as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. A guidebook for the Emmaus Trail, featuring historic information about the trail as well as sites along the way, is soon to be released by the Polis Institute Press.
Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference
In addition to regular research projects, the Polis Institute organizes a biennial interdisciplinary conference that attracts researchers from around the world. Subjects such as The Library of Alexandria, or the Origins of the Alphabet, are explored in lectures and expert discussions, leading to a compilation of papers and a publication of a peer-reviewed monograph. Our current conference, From Logos to Person, is being co-organized by Johns Hopkins University, the University of Hamburg, and the University of Notre Dame