The courses meet 5 hours per week over two semesters.

To be admitted to the Licentiate program a candidate must either pass the qualifying examinations in Greek and Hebrew or successfully complete both semesters of the introductory courses in those languages offered by instructors of the Pontifical Biblical Institute. The purpose of the introductory courses in Greek and Hebrew is to prepare the student to take Greek A-B and Hebrew A-B-C and exegesis courses in New and Old Testament at the Biblical Institute.


The specific goals of the Greek course are as follows:

  1.  Mastery of the basic morphology of NT Greek.
  2.  Command of a fundamental vocabulary.
  3.  Knowledge of the more important points of syntax.
  4.  Ability to translate simple sentences from Greek and into Greek.
  5.  Facility in reading Greek out loud.

These specific goals are designed to result in the ability to read and understand the Greek text of the Gospels.


Course program:

Greek I-II (1st sem.):

Greek III-IV (2nd sem.):


Necessary books

Recommended books:

1. Lexicon

2. Grammars and grammatical reference tools:

N.B.: The students of the introductory courses may not require the above-mentioned grammars. However, they will be indispensable for the advanced courses in Greek.

The specific goals of the Hebrew course are as follows:

  1. Mastery of the basic morphology of OT Hebrew.
  2. Command of a fundamental vocabulary.
  3. Knowledge of the more important points of syntax.
  4. Ability to translate simple exercises into Hebrew, and more complicated exercises from Hebrew.
  5. Facility in reading Hebrew out loud.
  6. Familiarity with Hebrew in transliteration.

These specific goals are designed to result in the ability to read and understand simple narrative texts from the Hebrew Old Testament.


Course program:

The final examination of Hebrew II will include the final part of the grammar lessons, translation of a text from the Book of Judges without the use of a dictionary and translation of a text of prose narrative from another Old Testament book with the use of a dictionary.

Besides the daily classes, the students must attend a session with the professor to verify their progress in the course. Duration and frequency of these sessions will be determined for each student by the professor.


Necessary books

  1. T. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew (New York 1971).
  2. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Stuttgart 1967-77).
  3. A large dictionary of Old Testament Hebrew.

Exams and calendar

The introductory courses are yearlong, although for administrative reasons they are divided into two semesters. Thus it is not possible to take only a part of the courses in separate years.

For each of the introductory courses there are two official examinations: one at the end of the first semester and one at the end of the second semester. If a student does not pass the first semester examination he or she may enroll in the second semester course but must repeat the first semester examination during the session immediately following before taking the second semester examina-tion. The examination calendar will provide for this possibility. In any event, both examinations must be taken by the October session at the latest.

If a student fails to pass an examination twice, it is possible, with the Dean's permission, to take the qualifying examination.

Those who pass the examinations in only one of the languages must pass the other within 18 months.

Classes meet five times a week (Thursday excluded). Please note that the introductory courses do not always follow the calendar of the regular licentiate courses. A schedule of the classes and examinations will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Class preparation is always required. Two or three hours of preparation for each Greek class, and three or four for each Hebrew class are a customary minimum needed to profit from the course. It is therefore not advisable that students taking both introductory Greek and introductory Hebrew enroll in any other course.

Students from outside the Institute are welcome to enroll in the course but only on condition that they adapt themselves to the aim of the course in the context of the Biblical Institute. Such students are required to submit their academic programs either to the director of the introductory courses at the beginning of the academic year. Only with his approval will the student be allowed to register for the courses.

A student who regularly attends the entire introductory course and does not meet the course objectives (= does not achieve a passing grade in examinations) cannot repeat the course.


Observations for the first class:

It would be useful for the students who have not previously studied Greek or Hebrew to learn the Greek and Hebrew alphabets before the course begins and acquire the ability to write and read the letters.

N.B.: In order to take part in the courses of the Preparatory Year it is necessary to have a good working knowledge of either Italian or English.


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