The International Syriac Language Project (ISLP)

The ISLP first met in Cambridge 2002 and published its first volume of papers in its own series, Perspectives on Syriac Linguistics (PoSL). To reflect the widening scope of the project, the series is now named Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages (PLAL). Terry Falla was Series Editor and Beryl Turner was Managing Editor until 2014. The series is now edited by Wido van Peursen (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam) and Michael Theophilos (Australian Catholic University, Melbourne), and the annual conferences are coordinated by Richard Taylor (Dallas Theological Seminary). The ISLP group includes an Editorial Board and a Computational Lexicography Group.
The aim of the ISLP is to further the knowledge of ancient-language lexicography (Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and other languages) by:
  • exploring pertinent theoretical and applied issues in research papers;
  • inviting and presenting papers for discussion at international conferences; e.g., IOSOT, SBL Annual and International Meetings, Saint Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute (SEERI), Symposium Syriacum, and occasionally at a conference such as the one at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Science, in St Petersburg in 2014 organised by the ISLP in cooperation with Russian colleagues;
  • publishing these papers and other invited articles as peer-reviewed articles (chapters) in the ISLP series Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages (PLAL), Gorgias Press; 
  • publishing peer-reviewed monographs in PLAL;
  • laying the foundations for Syriac-English lexica in the twenty-first century and for ancient-language lexicography generally; 
  • inviting doctoral students to present and publish peer-reviewed articles in PLAL. 


The ISLP Group

The ISLP group is interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and collaborative. As a result Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and other Semitic scholars are part of the group, or regularly join us and publish in our volumes. ISLP members are the work-engine of the group, but that work is complemented by the contributions of many other participants. Members are:

  1. James Aitken (University of Cambridge).
  2. Reinier de Blois (Vrije, Amsterdam; Global ICAP Coordinator at United Bible Societies, Netherlands).
  3. Aaron Michael Butts (Yale University).
  4. Janet Dyk (Vrije, Amsterdam).
  5. Terry Falla (Whitley College, MCD University of Divinity).
  6. Sargon Hasso (ISLP IT Specialist, Enterprise Architect at Wolters Kluwer Law & Business Chicago).               
  7. A. Dean Forbes (University of the Free State Bloemfontein, South Africa).
  8. Kristian Heal (Director of the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, Brigham Young University).
  9. Andreas Juckel (University of Münster).
  10. Daniel King (University of Cardiff).
  11. George Kiraz (Director, Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, USA).
  12. Marketta Liljeström (University of Helsinki)
  13. Jonathan Loopstra (Capital University, Columbus, Ohio).
  14. Alexey Muraviev (State University of Moscow).
  15. Robert Owens (The General Theological Seminary, New York).
  16. Alison Salvesen (University of Oxford).
  17. Michael Sokoloff (Bar Ilan University Ramat Gan, Israel).
  18. David G. K. Taylor (University of Oxford).
  19. Richard A. Taylor (Dallas Theological Seminary).
  20. Michael Theophilos (Australian Catholic University).
  21. Alexandra Anne Thompson (University of Cambridge).
  22. Beryl Turner (Whitley College, MCD University of Divinity).
  23. Wido van Peursen (University of Leiden).


ISLP Venues:  Past and Future

Past Meetings

2003 Cambridge, at the SBL International Meeting
2004 Groningen, at the SBL International Meeting
2005 Philadelphia, at the SBL Annual Meeting
2006 Edinburgh, at the SBL International Meeting
2007 Ljubljana, at the IOSOT Congress
2008 Granada, at the Xth Symposium Syriacum
2009 New Orleans, at the SBL Annual Meeting
2010 Helsinki, at the IOSOT Congress
2011 London, at the SBL International Meeting
2011 San Francisco, at the SBL Annual Meeting
2012 Malta, at the XIth Symposium Syriacum
2013 Munich, IOSOT, Ludwig-Maximilians University, 4–9 August
2014  St. Petersburg, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30 June-5 July  


Future Meetings

2015  SBL Annual Meeting Atlanta, Georgia, 21-24 November
2016  Stellenbosch, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 4-9 September, in conjunction with IOSOT
                (International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament),
                San Antonio, Texas, at the SBL Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, 19-22 November



Terry Falla (above left), Andreas Juckel (above right) and Beryl Turner (below left) are collaborating on a lexicon to all the Syriac versions of the New Testament.

Lexicon to the Syriac Versions of the New Testament

Work has begun on the first lexicon to be prepared in accordance with a conceptual framework worked out by the ISLP (which sees a corpus-by-corpus approach to Syriac’s vast body of literature as a means of providing an achievable foundation for a complete future lexicon): Lexicon to the Syriac Versions of the New Testament: the Sinaiticus and Curetonianus Old Syriac versions, including Kerschensteiner’s Pauline Quotations, and the Peshitta and Harklean versions. Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, by Terry Falla in collaboration with Andreas Juckel (Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, University of Münster) and Beryl Turner, and co-editor Georgia Kelly (Syriac Language Research Centre, Whitley College).  


The lexicon:

  • is based on many of the principles of A Key to the Peshitta Gospels (KPG) and subsequent published research by the ISLP and the lexical team;
  • will include lexemes unique to the two extant versions of the Old Syriac, the Sinaiticus and Curetonian versions, the Old Syriac quotations in Josef Kerschensteiner, Der Altsyrische Paulustext (Louvain: SCCO, 1970);  
  • will employ texts of the Old Syriac Gospels vocalised by Andreas Juckel and his Analytical Concordance to the Harklean Version (in preparation).


ISLP Publications >