The Hebrew Department was founded in 2013, but the history of the study of Hebrew at UFS goes back to 1958 when Dr Shalom Coleman, the rabbi in Bloemfontein, received his PhD for a thesis on the Midrashic and Talmudic concepts in the book of Hosea.

The Department of Hebrew is responsible for research and teaching of Hebrew language and culture within the broader context of the Near East. We are committed to moving the field of Hebrew to an understanding of, and appreciation for, the theory, methodology and insights of modern linguistics alongside traditional Semitic philology. We are also committed to the internationalisation of our field, especially throughout Africa. To that end, we are committed to bringing the study of Hebrew to Africa through innovative pedagogical methods which take into account the differing linguistic backgrounds and cultural contexts of African students. We are especially interested in empowering Bible translators on the African continent to gain the competency to translate the Bible from the source texts and we are responsible for the programmes in Bible Translation that are housed in the Faculty of Theology and Religion. We also want to promote an understanding of the shared roots of Judaism and Christianity, especially for students who do not have an understanding of the richness of Jewish culture or history. We are further committed to the following principles: excellence in research and teaching, equity, openness, internationalisation (especially in Africa).

The Hebrew Department offers instruction in Hebrew at the undergraduate level, BA Honours, research MA and PhD. The study of Hebrew is embedded within the cultural and religious context of ancient Israel and the literary context of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.

The Hebrew Department is also responsible for qualifications in Bible Translation offered through the Faculty of Theology and Religion—the MA Theology with specialisation in Bible Translation, MA Bible Translation Management and PhD Bible Translation. Distinctive of the UFS programmes in Bible translation are:

  1. setting Bible translation within the broader context of translation studies
  2. emphasis on translation from the biblical source texts
  3. seeing Bible translators as agents of change and Bible translation as part of Scripture engagement and language development

"An elaborately decorated page from the end of the Codex Leningradensis, the earliest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. In the centre of the illustration is a note by the scribe who wrote the manuscript: 'I, Samuel ben Jakob, wrote out his codex and provided punctuation and Masorah...'"

Contact Us

Dr Tshokolo J Makutoane, PhD
Senior Lecturer and Academic Head of the Department: Hebrew
T: +27 51 401 7334
E: Makutoanetj@ufs.ac.za 

Ruvey Zaal
Senior Assistant Officer: Hebrew
T: +27 51 401 7087
E: ZaalRZ@ufs.ac.za



Hebrew (IB 98)
Faculty of the Humanities
University of the Free State
PO Box 339
South Africa 



T: +27 51 401 2240 or humanities@ufs.ac.za

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Phyllis Masilo: +27 51 401 9683

Humanities photo next to contact block

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