Syriac language and culture


Syriac serto script

“Study for interest” When we study, speak and read the Syriac language we we encounter people over three millennia. We can explore a cultural world that is is Semitic in view and whose language is Semitic in character. This Semitic world belongs to the Near East and  often expresses very different cultural values to those with which we are familiar

Syriac is still spoken today, and read and sung in three dialects. The language was spread beyond the Near East by the East and West Syrian Churches during their periods of great missionary expansion between the seventh and tenth centuries. The language reached as far as China in the seventh century.


We have architectural evidence of a Nestorian monastery ‘of the enlightened religion’, founded around 640 in Hsiang.

Syriac remains the official language for liturgical, theological and canonical documents in these churches.

On these pages I intend to publish a bibliography and to inform readers of planned Syriac classes.

© James Leachman, O.S.B., written 13 November 2013