Section 5: Comparative Semitic and Arabic Studies

Chair: Daniel Birnstiel, Na'ama Pat-El

The study of the Near and Middle East in the past and present, as well as the study of the philologia sacra demand an ever-growing expert knowledge of the methods and theories of history, sociology and literature. In most academic institutions, however, these fields are considered separate disciplines. As a consequence, Arabists and scholars of Islamic studies will normally study Classical Arabic to a certain level, but rarely acquaint themselves with other Semitic languages, despite the importance of these with regard to the Biblical background of the Koran, as well as the linguistic and cultural setting of the Koran and Early Islam.

The section “Comparative Semitic and Arabic Studies” attempts to highlight the benefits of a linguistic and comparative engagement of Arabic with other regional languages and societies for an improved understanding of Early Islam and its literary heritage.