Assyrian Hebrew?

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Sun Aug 8 19:21:36 EDT 1999


Dear Wondell,

I'm trying to make something of this, in the light also of Henry's 
comments. Well, the name "Assyrian", in the abbreviated form "Syriac" 
(so I have heard - is that true?) and even today in such modified 
forms as "Aisor" and "Suryani", is used for various Aramaic dialects. 
So let's read "Aramaic" for "Assyrian" in the text given. Well, the 
Biblical Aramaic form of SHALOM is SHELAM [$:LFM], with a long A in 
the second syllable. So is the point being made here that many 
Israelites became Aramaic speaking (and started to use the square 
Aramaic characters) during the exile and because of this many Jewish 
texts are in Aramaic? If so, this part of the article seems to be a 
rather confused version of a generally accepted truth, with the phrase 
"Assyrian Hebrew" in fact meaning "Aramaic as spoken by Jews". The 
relationship between Hebrew and Aramaic might just be classifiable as 
a dialect difference, but I think Aramaic speakers ancient and modern 
would not accept Aramaic being called a dialect of Hebrew!

But then "Ancient Hebrew" in this article is presumably a reference to 
biblical Hebrew. As Henry has pointed out, it is clear that SHALOM was 
spoken with a second vowel O in Hebrew of the period of the monarchy, 
and later, but SHALAM may have been correct for very early days e.g. 
the patriarchal period. Yes, Joseph may have said SHALAM to his 
brothers (Gen 43:23). Are these people trying to revive this ancient 
pronunciation of Hebrew, or perhaps they are trying to promote 
Aramaic?

Peter Kirk


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Assyrian Hebrew?
Author:  gs02wmr at panther.Gsu.EDU at internet
Date:    07/08/1999 17:53


Shalum Achshaav!

I was perusing a web page of a local cult in my area, and on one of their 
pages they make the claim that the word "Shalom" is really suppoed to be 
"Shalam." Their logic is as follows:

-----------
The word SHALAM means peace. The reason why we spell the word SHALAM 
with an "A" instead of an "O" (SHALOM), is because when you look at the
Hebrew alphabet there is no "O". The using of the letter "O" is incorrect! 
This is how the word is written in the Ancient Hebrew(Shalam), and in the 
Assyrian Hebrew(ShAlAm). The Hebrew Israelites spoke and wrote in
the ancient Hebrew dialect.

The reason why so many of our records today are written in the Assyrian 
Hebrew, is due to, when we were in captivity under the Assyrian Empire. 
Read II Kings Chapter 17, verse 23 says, "Until the Lord removed Israel 
out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was 
Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day." In 
the process of time, as we were held captives by the Assyrians (for 
approximately 200 years), we began to speak and write in a different 
form/dialect of the ancient Hebrew language." 
-------------------------------------

They give us 2 pictures, HEBREW1.GIF is supposed to be the original 
Biblical Hebrew alphabet, and HEBREW2.GIF is the "false" Assyrian Hebrew 
alphabet.

So according to their logic, are they correct? Is the word "Shalom" really 
supposed to be pronounced "Shalam" ?

Thank you.

Wondell M. Rachman




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