Department of Near Eastern Studies

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Now Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Formerly Oriental Languages, the Department of Near Eastern Studies started with Jacob Maier Hirschfelder. He started by tutoring Hebrew at King's College until it become the University of Toronto. Hirschfelder drew up a program of studies entitled "Oriental Literature." In 1864 Hebrew was made an option for either French or German in each of the four years of the pass course, Samaritan and Arabic were no longer offerred as of 1886, and in 1886 Oriental Languages became an Honour course. In 1891-1890, McCurdy established a masters option for those students looking todo post-graduate studies in Oriental Languages. In 1885 the senate had approaved a Ph.D. principle. The Oriental Languages department was the first department in the humanities to have candidates who completed the Ph.D. program. In reference to graduate studies, the term "Oriental Languages" was replaced by "Semitic Languages."

Founding Fathers: Jacob Maier Hirschfelder, J.F. McCurdy,

Lecturers: D.W McGee, R.G Murison, Richard Davidson, J.A Craig, W.R. Taylor, T.J. Meek, F.V. Winnett, W.A. Irwin

First Ph.D. graduates: R.G. Murison, R. Davidson


Winett, Frederick Victor, McCullough, Stewart W. A Brief History of the Department of Near Eastern Studies.