Language code switching in Daniel/Syriakh
ButhFam at compuserve.com
Tue Jan 1 03:57:11 EST 2002
Saw this in passing, hope it fits with the earlier thread:
>In NT-times the Greek term "hebrais" was used in a wider sense than our
>"Hebrew" is used today. Every good Greek dictionary will tell you this.
Every good dictionary will tell you that SYRIAKH is the word for Aramaic
in Greek and so used, with by-forms, wherever ...
LXX, Josephus, Aristeas, etc.
>In Acts 21:40 and 22:1 the same term ("hebrais") is used when Paul spoke
>those in Jerusalem "in the Hebrew tongue".
Sounds like a clear reference to Hebrew.
>Of course he wanted to address
>their hearts (see the context!) and used the lingua franca of those Jews:
>Aramaic. (Acts 1:19 says that the proper tongue of those in Jerusalem used
>the word "Aceldama" [= field of blood"], which is Aramaic.)
This makes the same monoglot assumption endemic in NT studies. The people
were a tri-lingual society. The Pharisees won the hearts of the people and
passed on their ORAL law--in Hebrew. (until 200CE, when Aramaic took
over) Call them elitist if you want, call the Qumran covenanters, elitist,
all elitist, but Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek were all in common use in the
century. As for Hebrew/Aramaic, it's sort of like Spanish and Italian for
being raised were both are commonly used--not a problem.
>The same wide use of Hebrew can be seen for example by Josephus. (Example:
>Antiquities, Book 3,chapter 10, verse 6, where he says that the Hebrews
>the word "asartha" for Pentecoste which is due to the Aramaic "asarta" but
>not to the Hebrew "aseret".)
Greek strongly prefered endings in 'vowels' for Semitic loan words, plus
with Aramaic throughout the Middle East. That is why the LXX, when
from Hebrew uses SIKERA in Greek (from Aramaic?-no-just Greek preference)
and Pascha (Aramaic?-no-just Greek preference). Josephus' use is just fine
Hebrew. The only counter-evidence in the whole of Greek lit that I have
for Hebrew=Aramaic are PROPER place names in the NT. Like Los Angeles and
Ian in English, meaning 'angels' and 'beloved' respectively. Yes, Aramaic
used in the first century and had been the official language in the Persian
it wasn't the exclusive means of oral communication among Jews in the land
So one needs to respect and include the other evidence that is provided,
Director, Biblical Language Center
and Lecturer, Biblical Hebrew
Rothberg International School
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