The subject Greek comprises the study of the ancient Greek language, literature, and cultural history – in short, the study of a culture which dominated the entire ancient world and in which the roots of Western civilisation can be found. The study of this culture enhances our understanding of our own world. Knowledge of Greek is an important key to the interpretation of early Christianity, through a study of the vast Greek literature of the early Christian Church.
Latin was the language of the ancient Romans. Not only was it the lingua franca of the extensive Roman Empire, but for many centuries – in fact until the nineteenth century – it was the language par excellence of European scholars in almost every field of study. Indeed, the roots of our modern Western civilisation can be found in the Graeco-Roman world.
A study of Latin comprises not only the study of the Latin language and literature but also of Roman history and culture. It is, therefore, a subject that broadens one's intellectual horison. The cultural world of Rome forms the bridge between the ancient Greek civilisation and modern times and offers a valuable perspective on many facets of modern Western civilisation – architecture, urban planning, law, philosophy, theology, literature, art, history of art, history, politics, economics, etc. Since this study encourages comparative thinking, it creates the opportunity not only of seeing our contemporary world in better perspective, but it enhances self-knowledge and engenders a greater understanding and therefore a more tolerant attitude towards other cultures.
A course in Medical Terminology was introduced in 1997. At the moment there are more than 900 students registered for this semester course. Studying medical terminology is about the learning of Greek and Latin prefixes, suffixes and combining forms, which are the building blocks of this specialised terminology. Students are helped to understand the structure of Greek- and Latin-based medical terminology.
The course in Latin legal terminology and language was reintroduced in 2002 on request of a group of law students. Students who complete this course successfully, also receive a certificate from The Pretoria Society of Advocates.
Our department focuses on teaching Classical Hebrew, the Canaanite language of the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible is identical to the Old Testament of (Protestant) Christianity and it is therefore important for Christian ministers and pastors to be educated in Hebrew in order to be able to read and interpret the original text of the Scriptures. In the postgraduate modules students who choose to do so are also introduced to some other members of the family of Semitic Languages, such as Aramaic, Syriac, Ugaritic, Akkadian, and Arabic.
History of Ancient Culture
This is a fascinating course about the peoples of three continents, namely the Ancient Near East – i.e. Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt – ancient Greece and the vast Roman Empire. You will be able to study the culture, the social, political and religious development, the customs and beliefs, the literature and art of precisely those ancient peoples who had an immeasurable influence on the development of our own modern world. Their culture influenced modern man's view of religion, politics, science, medicine, law, literature, art, architecture and finally of himself.