Introduction To Ge’ez

Introduction to Ge’ez

2024 Dumbarton Oaks/HMML Summer School

Introduction to Ge’ez

In partnership with Dumbarton Oaks, HMML will host an intensive three-week course as an introduction to the Ge’ez language and paleography in the summer of 2024. This course is intended for doctoral students or recent PhDs who can demonstrate a need for Ge’ez in their research. Priority is given to students who lack opportunities to continue studying Ge’ez at their own institutions. The program welcomes international applicants but does not sponsor J visas.

  • Funder

    Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC
  • Location

    The 2024 course will be taught on the beautiful campus of Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.
  • Course level

    Introductory level
  • Course length

    Three weeks
  • Dates

    July 8 to July 26, 2024
  • Course size

    Up to 10 students
  • Eligibility

    Open to all individuals who have a need for Ge’ez in their research.
  • Application deadline

    February 23, 2024
  • Cost

    All costs are generously funded by Dumbarton Oaks.

    Participants must pay their own travel costs to and from Collegeville, Minnesota, USA
  • Accommodations

    Students will be housed in dormitory apartments on the Saint John’s University campus. Each participant will have an air-conditioned, private bedroom and bathroom, with shared kitchen and laundry facilities.

    A meal contract at the college Refectory will be provided.
Syriac Classroom EMML 9001 Syriac Classroom

Course overview

Sessions are held Monday–Friday in the morning (9am-12pm) and afternoon (2-4pm). Total instruction time equals 75 hours. In this course:

  • This course offers intensive, in-depth training in the Ge’ez language.
  • The goal of the course is to give students a strong foundation in Ge’ez grammar and paleography.
  • Students will learn through lessons and guided readings, as well as workshops featuring Ge’ez manuscripts housed at HMML.
  • By the end of the course, students will be able to transcribe directly from Ge’ez manuscripts and accurate translate brief texts from Ge’ez into English.
  • Students should be prepared for up to three hours of independent work in addition to course hours each day.


  • No Prerequisites

Required Material

  • Classical Ethiopic in 20 Lessons by Aaron Butts (unpublished, 2020)
  • Comparative Dictionary of Ge’ez by Wolf Leslau (Harrassowitz, 2010)
  • Introduction to Classical Ethiopic by T. O. Lambdin (Harvard, 1978)

Faculty for 2024

  • Guest faculty: Dr. Jeremy R. Brown, Cataloguer of Ethiopian Manuscripts, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML), Collegeville, Minnesota; Dr. Hamza M. Zafer, Lecturer in African Studies, Princeton University
  • HMML staff: Dr. Josh Mugler, Curator of Eastern Christian and Islamic Manuscripts.

Application deadline

  • February 23, 2024

Application submission

  • Letter of no more than two single-spaced pages describing the applicant’s academic background, including language skills, and a description of why learning Ge’ez is important for the applicant’s future research and teaching. Please address the letter to Dr. Columba Stewart, HMML Executive Director.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • For those who are currently doing graduate study, please include a transcript of graduate school coursework. This is not required for those who have completed a PhD.
  • Two letters of recommendation.


  • Send all materials as email attachments to
  • Include “Ge’ez 2024 Summer School” in the subject line.

Letter of recommendation authors

  • Letters of recommendation should be sent directly from the author of the letter to HMML. Please send the letter as email attachment to
  • Include “Ge’ez 2024 Summer School” and the applicant’s name in the subject line.

Selection criteria

  • Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of previous academic achievement, demonstrated need for intensive study of Ge’ez, and research promise.

Notification of acceptance

  • All awards will be announced by March 8, 2024.
  • Students accepting a place in the course will need to notify HMML by March 22, 2024.
  • Alternates, if space becomes available, will be announced March 25, 2024.


About Dumbarton Oaks: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection is an institute in Washington, D.C., administered by the Trustees for Harvard University. It supports research and learning internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through fellowships and internships, meetings, and exhibitions. Located in residential Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks welcomes researchers at all career stages who come to study its books, objects, images, and documents.

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