Takamitsu Muraoka

Professor Takamitsu Muraoka

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Corresponding Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 1984


Takamitsu Muraoka is a Japanese Hebraist. He was Chair of Hebrew, Israelite Antiquities and Ugaritic at Leiden University in the Netherlands, and Emeritus since 2003. He is most notable for his studies of Hebrew and Aramaic (including Syriac) linguistics and the ancient translations of the Bible, notably of the Septuagint. After studying general linguistics and biblical languages under the M. Sekine at Tokyo Kyoiku University, he studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, completing his dissertation ‘Emphasis in Biblical Hebrew’ with the late C. Rabin as supervisor, and obtaining his Ph.D. in 1970. He taught Semitic languages including Modern Hebrew as Lecturer at the University of Manchester, UK (1970-80), as Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Melbourne (1980-91), before moving to Leiden in 1991. Muraoka’s major publications (monographs and published in English only) include: Emphatic Words and Structures in Biblical Hebrew (1985), Modern Hebrew for Biblical Scholars (1982, 1995), A Greek-Hebrew/Aramaic Index to I Esdras (1984), Classical Syriac for Hebraists (1987, 2nd revised edition 2013), A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew ( P. JoÜon’s grammar translated from French and extensively revised and updated, 1991, 2006), A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Twelve Prophets, 1993), Classical Syriac: A Basic Grammar with a Chrestomathy (1997, 2005), A Grammar of Egyptian Aramaic (with B. Porten 1998, 2003), A Hebrew/Aramaic-Greek Index Keyed to Hatch and Redpath’s Septuagint Concordance (1998), A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, chiefly of the Pentateuch and the Twelve Prophets (2002), A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, covering the entire Septuagint (2009), A Greek-Hebrew/Aramaic Two-way Index to the Septuagint (2010), A Grammar of Qumran Aramaic (2011), An Introduction to Egyptian Aramaic (2012). Articles in Encyclopaedia of Hebrew and Hebrew Linguistics (editor G. Khan, Leiden 2013) include ‘Community Rule (1QS)’, ‘Copula: Biblical Hebrew’, ‘Emphatic Lamed’, ‘Existential: Biblical Hebrew’, ‘Isaiah Scroll (1Isaa)’, ‘Neuter’, ‘Phrasal verb: Pre-modern Hebrew’, ‘Prepositional verbs’ and ‘Prophetic perfect’. In addition, he was editor of Abr-Nahrain [now Ancient Near Eastern Studies] 1980-92, and also edited or co-edited volumes on Ancient Hebrew Semantics, Qumran Aramaic, and Qumran Hebrew. Since retiring in 2003 from the Leiden Chair, he has been visiting every year, teaching biblical languages and the Septuagint as a volunteer a minimum of five weeks in Asian countries which suffered under the Japanese militarism of the 20th century. In 2017, Takamitsu was the recipient of the British Academy’s Burkitt Medal for Hebrew Bible Studies, recognised for his outstanding contribution to the study of Hebrew grammar and syntax, and the Septuagint.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.