Department of Arabic Philology

Tuesday, 27 December 2016 19:59
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Department of Arabic Philology © FAAS

The Head of the Department: Redkin Oleg I.

Languages taught: Arabic, Aramaic, Egyptian Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Modern Hebrew, Old Hebrew, Saudi Arabic, Syrian Arabic.


  • Arabic Grammar
  • Arabic Linguistic Texts
  • Arabic Phonology
  • Arabic Prosody
  • Aramaic Language
  • Arabic and Classical Arabic Prose
  • Business Correspondence in Arabic
  • Classical Arabic Poetry
  • Diplomatic Correspondence and Protocol in Arabic
  • Documents in Classical Arabic
  • Egyptian Colloquial Arabic
  • Ethnolinguistics of Southern Arabia
  • Iraqi Colloquial Arabic
  • Field Recordings of Arab Folklore.

The teaching of Arabic at St. Petersburg University dates back to the 1820s. Among the founders of Arabic studies in St. Petersburg was O. Senkovsky, a celebrated scholar, author, and journalist.

From 1840 until 1861 Arabic at the University was taught by the Egyptian shaykh Muhammad Tantawi, who had come from Al-Azrah University in Cairo. Tantawi wrote accounts of Petersburg and Russia along with plenty of other materials that have attracted little scholarly attention. He also – for the first time in Europe – embarked on the study of the Egyptian dialect of Arabic.

In the 1850s, Arabic was also taught by A. K. Kazembek, the first dean of the Faculty of Oriental Languages.

The Department of the Arabic Language and Literature was organized by M. Navrotsky.

V. F. Girgas, another prominent scholar, joined the Department in 1865. He published a whole range of Arabic anthologies, which are still used to teach students today. His student V. Rozen is rightfully credited as the father of the Russian school of Arabic studies, whereas his colleagues and followers N. Ya. Marr, V. V. Bartold, and I. Yu. Krachkovsky brought international recognition to the Russian school of Oriental studies.

Prof. V. Belyaev, I.Yu. Krachkovsky’s former student, honorary member of the Academy of Arabic in Cairo, and outstanding expert on Arabic manuscripts, headed the Department of Arabic from 1951 until 1974. His leadership produced a plethora of wonderful scholars, among them A. A. Iskoz-Dolinina, a specialist in pre-Muslim, medieval, and new Arabic literature, and Professor O. B. Frolova, who is widely known for her work in the field of the Arabic language, literature, and culture.

Since 1998, the Department of Arabic Philology and Semitology has been led by Prof. O. I. Redkin, DSc (Philology). Under Prof. O. I. Redkin’s leadership, the Department began developing new methods of teaching Arabic, while preserving the distinct and holistic approach of the classical Oriental studies instruction.

Semitology Division

1955 saw the inauguration at the Department of Arabic Philology of the Semitology Division. Ancient Hebrew grammar and the reading of Biblical texts were then taught by L. Z. Pisarevsky, an Arabist. In 1956, however, all the major Semitic disciplines were taught by Prof. I. N. Vinnikov, an eminent scholar of the languages and cultures of Semitic peoples.

The most senior teachers of the Semitology Division are G. M. Demidova and L. V. Malygina. 

  • G. M. Demidova, I. N. Vinnikov’s student, joined the Department in 1961. She specializes in teaching ancient and medieval Hebrew and Aramaic. Over the years of working at the Department, Ms. Demidova has published 50 papers on Aramaic studies, comparative Semitic linguistics, and the language of the Bible.
  • L. V. Malygina has been with the Department since 1974. She teaches modern Hebrew and Mass Media.



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