The Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is one of the university's oldest departments, and was established in 1926 as part of the Institute for Asian and African Studies and the foundational core of the university. The first faculty of the department were largely German-trained scholars, including Prof. Josef Horowitz and Prof. Gotthold Weil, who were joined by scholars of a variety of fields including Prof. L. A. Mayer, Prof. Levi Billig, Prof. D. Z. Baneth, and Prof. S. D. Goitein.
In the century since its founding, the Department of Arabic Language and Literature has trained many generations of Arabists and Islamists - students who have, over the decades, served in important positions in the civil service, the field of education, and in teaching and research in Israel and in the world. The department remains at the forefront of Arabic language and literature departments in Israel and, indeed, the world.
Department staff and students meet regularly for the Baneth-Kister seminar, in which junior and senior researchers alike present their current research. The department is well-known as the home of Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, a well-known and internationally acclaimed journal for in-depth studies in the fields of Arabic and Islam. Significant past publications that are the fruit of teams staffed by department faculty and students include the Concordance of Arabic Poetry edited by Prof. A. Arazi and Prof. S. Masalha as well as the edition of al-Jabarti by Prof. S. Moreh.
A departmental team headed by Prof. M. Milson is currently involved in a project creating an online Hebrew-Arabic dictionary, on the foundation of the printed dictionary by Prof. D. Ayalon and Prof. P. Shinar. The dictionary is already available online and provides a singularly reliable and comprehensive source for words from many layers of the Arabic language. Click here to see the dictionary, which is constantly developing and improving!
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