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Old Church Slavic Language and Culture


Admission requirements

BA degree in Russian Studies, Slavic Languages and Cultures, or Linguistics (Indo-European).


Old Church Slavonic is considered the starting point for the historical comparative study of the Slavic language family. On the one hand, it is one of the most important sources for the reconstruction of Proto-Slavic, on the other hand it is the forerunner of regional writing traditions (e.g., Middle Bulgarian, Croatian-Glagolitic, Russian Church Slavonic), which makes it an important component of the various modern Slavic written languages. This is definitely also true for Russian, in which the Church Slavonic writing tradition has left deep marks in the modern standard language.

The course offers a high-pace introduction to the grammatical structure and cultural history of Old Church Slavonic. Much attention is paid to reading and analyzing Old Church Slavonic texts during the sessions.

Course objectives

The ultimate objective of this course is to be able to read Old Church Slavonic texts with the help of a dictionary, in particular:

  • Identify and explain grammatical forms and constructions correctly, thus being able to produce a translation which accounts for the original wording of the text;

  • Identify and evaluate orthographic variation, including its relation to the underlying phonological system and its development during the Old Church Slavonic period;

  • Identify and elaborate on the cultural-historical context of the texts.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


  1. In-class participation and weekly preparation of readings in Old Church Slavonic.
  2. An examination in which knowledge of Old Church Slavonic is tested on the basis of two types of texts:
    a. Texts read during the course of lectures.
    b. During the same examination further knowledge of Old Church Slavonic is tested on the basis of a reading dossier, which the student has prepared independently.


  • In-class participation: 20%

  • Examination, part 2a: 30%

  • Examination, part 2b: 50%


One resit of part 2 (examination).

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

As textbook for the course we use: Jos Schaeken & Henrik Birnbaum, Die altkirchenslavische Schriftkultur: Geschichte – Laute und Schriftzeichen – Sprachdenkmäler (mit Textproben, Glossar und Flexionsmustern) (= Altkirchenslavische Studien II, Slavistische Beiträge 382). München: Sagner, 1999.
NOTE: This textbook is in German, but all relevant data and materials will also be made available in English.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats.


Not applicable.