This course is discontinued

REL3181 – Religious texts in original languages

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Religious texts in original languages is a discipline to support Religious studies (and a number of other studies allowed) with sources in various historical languages.

As is well known, a certain philological training is a prerequisite for studying any historical religion and culture.

The courses are based on a running seminar, where texts are studied in a scientific way. The purpose of the course is better understanding of such cultures, as resulting of deep readings involving both linguistic and cultural analyses.

The courses offered each semester may vary, but the utmost is done to cater for the various interest of students on any level, from bachelor students, master or doctoral students.

Languages offered so far during the seminar include Sumerian, Akkadian, Syriac, Hethite, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese.

Professor Jens Braarvig is responsible for the courses, and can be contacted to discuss any semester’s programme.

Learning outcome

The course provides the students with practical training relating to historical religious texts in their original language and aims to enable the students to use such written material in their studies.

Students are trained in lexicographic, grammatical, hermeneutical, and philological methods. Other religious-historical methods will also be covered.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

It is highly recommended to have some proficiency in the language in the which the text is originally written.

A good command of English.


Seminars are usually given on a weekly basis throughout the semester. For details on the seminars, see information on the semester web page.

Participation in the seminars is compulsory.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The grade is based on a semester project that the student completes, under supervision of their advisor.

The project must be 13–15 pages in length (approximately 2300 characters per page).

The topic of the project is assigned by the teacher at the beginning of the semester.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. If you would prefer to have the exam text in English, you may apply to the course administrators.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodiske emnerapporter

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Facts about this course






Offered last time Autumn 2017


Offered last time Autumn 2017

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)