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Polis – The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities

Polis – The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities

Polis – The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities


Polis – The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities is an academic institution founded in 2011 by an international group of scholars.

Our goal is the renewal of Humanities (especially literature, philosophy, history, and geography of the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East) through the study of different cultures, and in particular the revival of the languages foundational to Western Civilization. We are committed to the idea that learning from the past fosters mutual understanding and respect amongst the different cultures and peoples in the Middle East and the West. We believe that only dialogue that is rooted in these principles will lead to everlasting peace in the region.

Third-Party Awarded Master’s of Arts Degree

Polis awards Certificates of Completion for all language courses, one-year, and two-year programs. Although Polis is not a university-accredited institution, we enjoy partnerships with top-ranking universities in Europe who recognize the quality of our two-year programs and consider some of them equitable to a Master’s of Arts Degree granted by their own institutions. For example, Polis students who successfully complete the Two-Year Academic Program in Ancient Philology, may register at the International University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain) and be awarded a Master’s of Arts Degree in Ancient Philology by that institution once they have fulfilled its requirements. Similarly, Polis students who successfully complete the Two-Year Academic Program in Near Eastern Languages, may register at the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) and be awarded a Master’s of Arts Degree in Near Eastern Languages. Please note that academic hours qualifying for the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) are awarded by the accrediting institutions and not by Polis.


The Polis Method of Second Language Acquisition

At Polis we believe that ancient language is more than letters inscribed on stone or clay tablets. To truly understand a language, one must enter into that culture, think its thoughts and live its perspective. To that end, we’ve developed a unique immersion method of second language acquisition, the Polis Method, based on intuitive learning through common scenarios and social interactions - as opposed to a strictly textbook grammar approach.Students not only achieve a natural level of fluency in a short amount of time, but also internalize subtle innuendos, metaphors, and idioms particular to that culture.As a result, they can approach an ancient text with a better understanding of context, and therefore comprehend what has literally been written as well as what has been implied.Students also benefit from ongoing research at Polis. Old ideas are constantly challenged, while new ones are illuminated. Our classrooms are living laboratories in which to test the most promising techniques. Currently, our instructors are experimenting with Living Sequential Expression (LSE), a principle that was first conceived and developed at Polis and inspired by the work of François Gouin. The Polis Method is constantly being refined as we incorporate new insights into second language acquisition.

Diverse Student Body and Faculty

Our student body and faculty are overwhelmingly international and come from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Our programs and courses are particularly attractive to students of Semitic philology, journalism, languages (and pedagogy), archaeology, theology, history, and classical philosophy, but open to anyone who desires a more authentic understanding of the ancient texts that shaped the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures of the region. At Polis, students have a rare opportunity to informally learn about vastly different cultures from each other. Teachers also benefit by being exposed to different pedagogical methods and honing their own professional skills. We pride ourselves on fostering an atmosphere of multi-culturalism, openness, and respect. In that sense, we are an oasis in a city like Jerusalem, which is crossed by many virtual boundaries. Our open approach has also led us to many exciting collaborative projects with both local and international institutions.

Student Life in Jerusalem

The Polis Institute is situated just outside the Ancient City of Jerusalem, a place that is sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Within a few minutes’ walk students can visit the remaining Western Wall of the Jewish Temple, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or Al-Aqsa Mosque. These are just a few of the many significant historical sites in the immediate area. Jerusalem is also a modern city with world-class restaurants, museums, and entertainment. Nearby Zion Square is the center of Jerusalem’s nightlife scene. Many of the surrounding streets are pedestrian-only zones and are dotted with benches, café tables, and shade umbrellas. Students from all over Jerusalem’s leading academic institutions can be found frequenting the cozy pubs, cafes, and shops. Free outdoor concerts and street performances are common sights throughout the warmer months.


Why Choose Polis?

  • The Polis Method - The Polis Institute employs a unique method of Second Language Acquisition that has proven easy and effective. Students also benefit from ongoing research at Polis and the constant improvement of the Polis Method. Classroom learning is supplemented by our own specially developed and published language textbooks to complete the learning experience.
  • A Unique Location – The City of Jerusalem is uniquely foundational to the three major monotheistic faiths; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is a place where Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic have each dominated at various periods throughout its tumultuous history. Until the present day, the legacy of these cultures continues to leave an imprint. Students at Polis have a unique opportunity to live within the fabric and context of their studies, which profoundly impacts how they understand their coursework. There is also an abundance of historical sites, museums, and archives at their fingertips, which offer many unique research opportunities.
  • A Warm Friendly Atmosphere - Polis is a small institution with approximately 60 full-time students at any given time. Students come from all over the world and are joined by international faculty as well. The campus is an old stone mansion with a pretty courtyard that sometimes doubles as an outdoor classroom or picnic ground. Students and teachers participate together in field trips and special celebrations. It is truly home to both students and faculty alike.

Brochure 2022/2033

Our History

2011 - It Begins in Jerusalem

Polis officially opens. The first course is held in July, a summer intensive course in Spoken Arabic, drawing 16 students. The inaugural academic year begins in the fall and features classes in Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, Spoken Arabic, Aramaic, and Spanish.

2013 - The First Two-Year Academic Program: Ancient Philology

The Two-Year Academic Program in Ancient Philology is officially launched with an inaugural class of 11 students. Upon successful completion, students are entitled to be registered with the International University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain) and awarded a Master’s of Arts Degree in Ancient Philology by that institution. Courses taught in Jerusalem and at partner institutions abroad generate interest in the Polis Method as a way to learn ancient and modern languages. Polis organizes its first interdisciplinary conference on The Origins of the Alphabet.

2014 - Summer Courses Continue to Expand

Summer intensive courses held in Florida, Rome, and Jerusalem draw nearly 200 students. Languages taught include Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, Modern Hebrew, and Arabic. A one-year certificate program based on a shortened version of the MA in Ancient Philology is officially launched. Polis moves into new premises, featuring a library and six classrooms.

2015 - The Second Two-Year Academic Program: Near Eastern Languages

The Two-Year Academic Program in Near Eastern Languages is officially launched. Upon successful completion, students are entitled to be registered with the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) and awarded a Master’s of Arts Degree in Near Eastern Languages by that institution. Polis partners with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism to mark and promote the Emmaus Trail – a walking path near Jerusalem in which Jesus appeared to his disciples as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Polis organizes its second interdisciplinary conference on The Library of Alexandria, in which ten scholars from France, Israel, Cyprus, and England participate. The Polis Institute Press is launched with the publication of Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language.

2016 – A Special Interdisciplinary Conference

Polis organizes its third interdisciplinary conference to mark the centennial of the publication Cours de linguistique générale by Ferdinand de Saussure. The event draws scholars from France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Israel. Polis publishes Forum, a living Latin textbook.

2017 – Two New Certificate Programs

Two new one-year certificate programs are inaugurated: Ancient Greek Fluency, and Emphasis in Teaching Ancient Languages.

2018 – A New Language Course: Bohairic Coptic

Polis adds Bohairic Coptic to its list of language courses. Polis organizes its fourth interdisciplinary conference, Transmitting a Heritage: The Teaching of Ancient Languages from Antiquity to the 21st Century, in which scholars from more than ten countries participate.

2019 - The first LSE Textbook

Polis publishes its first language textbook featuring Living Sequential Expression (LSE), a learning principle developed at Polis. A three-week Ancient Greek immersion course is held at Christendom College in Virginia in which all meals, classes, and activities were conducted in Ancient Greek. In Jerusalem, the newest intake of MA students grows to 35.

Scholarships and Funding

Application Deadline
ArchimedesSeptember 1, 2021


  • Jerusalem

    8 HaAyin Het St, 9511208, Jerusalem