SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Hebrew and Israeli Studies

As the UK's foremost institution for the study of Asia and Africa, SOAS presents a unique opportunity to study Hebrew and Israeli Studies against the wider geographical, historical and cultural background of the Middle East.

Among British universities SOAS's library contains the finest collection of volumes on Jewish and Israeli Studies, especially Modern Hebrew literature, and is therefore a great attraction for many scholars and researchers.

The Hebrew and Israeli Studies section of the NME department is very active in high-profile research and publication. Dr Tudor Parfitt is currently engaged in ground-breaking research into Judaizing movements in Africa and India. His recent project on the Impact of Mediated Genetics research on the Religious Identity of the Lemba won a prestigious AHRB award for Innovations in Research. Dr Colin Shindler published his third book on Israeli political history in 2001. In her research Dr Tamar Drukker, who teaches modern Hebrew language and literature, concentrates on medieval literatures and culture.

Three intensive programmes of study are currently on offer:

  • BA Hebrew and another subject (combined honours)
  • MA Israeli Studies

Both MA and BA represent exciting developments in the School's prospectus. The MA is a new interdisciplinary programme that explores the history, culture, politics, languages and music of Israel.

The four-year BA programmes were comprehensively modernized in 2002. The new syllabus offers an intensive grounding in Modern Hebrew language and literature that includes a year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (optional under present conditions). Students also benefit from exposure to cutting-edge research in allied topics, such as Dr Parfitt's award-winning project on Judaizing groups in Africa and India.

Courses in Israeli history and politics, the Palestinian issue and in Israeli literature and Jewish music make the new syllabus an exciting multidisciplinary experience.

A less intensive sequence of courses in Modern Hebrew can also be taken as part of the three-year BA Middle Eastern Studies (single honours) and BA Middle Eastern Studies and another subject (combined honours).

The department also runs a four-unit introductory programme leading to the Certificate in Modern Hebrew. In addition it teaches a "open option" course in Elementary Modern Hebrew, a suitable introduction for students enrolled on other degrees and for non-degree students.

The NME department is also home to the Centre for Jewish Studies.