Takamitsu Muraoka

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Takamitsu Muraoka
Born9 February 1938 Edit this on Wikidata
Hiroshima Edit this on Wikidata
EducationDoctor of Philosophy Edit this on Wikidata
Alma mater
OccupationLinguist, Hebraist, writer, university teacher Edit this on Wikidata

Takamitsu Muraoka (村岡 崇光, Muraoka Takamitsu, born 1938 in Hiroshima) is a Japanese Semiticist.[1] He was Chair of Hebrew, Israelite Antiquities, and Ugaritic at Leiden University in the Netherlands from 1991 to 2003 and is most notable for his studies of Hebrew and Aramaic linguistics and the ancient translations of the Bible, notably of the Septuagint.


After studying general linguistics and biblical languages under the late Prof. Masao Sekine [ja] at Tokyo University of Education [ja] (now University of Tsukuba), he studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, completing his dissertation Emphasis in Biblical Hebrew with the late Prof. C. Rabin as supervisor, and obtaining his Ph.D. in 1970.


He taught Semitic languages including Modern Hebrew as Lecturer in Manchester University, U.K. (1970–80), as Professor of Middle Eastern studies at Melbourne University (1980–91), Australia, then moved in 1991 to Leiden University (1991-2003), The Netherlands, as Professor of the Hebrew Language and Literature, the Israelite Antiquities, and the Ugaritic language. In addition, he was editor of Abr-Nahrain [now Ancient Near Eastern Studies] 1980-92, and also edited or co-edited volumes on Biblical Hebrew Semantics, the Aramaic of Qumran, and the Hebrew of Qumran. His comprehensive syntax of the Koine Greek of the Septuagint appeared in 2016. He co-founded, in 2000, the Dutch-Japanese-Indonesian Dialogue against the background of the Pacific War. He is representative of The Biblical Church in The Netherlands.


In the academic year 2001-02 he was a Forschungpreisträger of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and in that capacity a visiting professor at the Faculty of Divinity at Göttingen University, Germany. He was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities in 1984,[2] and since 2006 Honorary Fellow of the Academy of the Hebrew Language. On 27 September 2017 he was awarded the Burkitt Medal for Hebrew Bible Studies by the British Academy, which judged that over the past six decades he had made outstanding contributions to the study of the Hebrew grammar and syntax, and the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament).


Since retiring in 2003 from the Leiden chair, he began yearly lecture tours teaching biblical languages and the Septuagint as a volunteer for a minimum of five weeks in Asian countries which suffered under Japanese militarism in the 20th century.[3] His thoughts and reflections on this yearly teaching ministry up to the year 2015 can now be read in English in "My Via dolorosa: Along the trails of the Japanese imperialism in Asia" (AuthorHouse U.K. 2016).

Selected publications[edit]

Muraoka's major publications (only English publications are mentioned) 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 ed. 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)
  • With B. Porten, A Grammar of Egyptian Aramaic (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)
  • A Biblical Aramaic Reader with an Outline Grammar (2015)
  • A Syntax of Septuagint Greek (2016).
  • A Biblical Hebrew Reader with an Outline Grammar (2017)
  • Jacob of Serugh's Hexaemeron. Edited and translated. 2018. Leuven.
  • A Syntax of Qumran Hebrew. 2020. Leuven.
  • Why Read the Bible in the Original Languages? 2020. Leuven
  • The Community Rule 1QS, 1QSa and 1QSb. A philological commentary. 2022. Leuven.
  • The Books of Hosea and Micah in Hebrew and Greek." 2022. Leuven.
  • Articles in G. Khan (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Hebrew and Hebrew Linguistics, 2013, Leiden:
    • “Community Rule (1QS),” I.493a-95b;
    • “Copula: Biblical Hebrew,” I 623a-24b;
    • “Emphatic Lamed,” I 820b-821a;
    • “Existential: Biblical Hebrew,” I.881b-884b;
    • “Isaiah Scroll (1Isaa),” II.343b-348a;
    • “Neuter,” II.822b-23b;
    • “Phrasal verb: Pre-modern Hebrew,” III.141b-42a;
    • “Prepositional verbs,” III.219a-20a;
    • “Prophetic perfect,” III 279a-80a.


  1. ^ "Takamitsu Muraoka". Archived from the original on 14 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Fellow Profile: Takamitsu Muraoka". Australian Academy of the Humanities. Retrieved 2024-04-23.
  3. ^ Moon, Gwang-lip (7 February 2014). "Japanese Hebraist takes his message across Asia". koreajoongangdaily.joins.com. Retrieved 8 February 2024.