[b-hebrew] Fw: Aramaic to them?

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Mar 3 14:05:41 EST 2004

On 03/03/2004 10:42, Dave Washburn wrote:

>On Wednesday 03 March 2004 04:41, Peter Kirk wrote:
>>>Notice, nowhere do I claim that Hebrew was not
>>>spoken fluently by at least a minority elite,
>>>just that the evidence pointing to a possible
>>>majority of the people speaking Hebrew as
>>>their primary language is weak at best.
>>The important question here is one you have left open. Do you accept
>>that there was a continuing community for which Hebrew was the mother
>>tongue? That is what the DSS evidence strongly suggests, at least for
>>the period before the destruction of the Temple. And if this did exist,
>>it is what makes the significant difference from Latin in the modern
>I'm not sure why you keep saying this.  The DSS are religious documents, and 
>according to the prevailing theory they were written by a splinter 
>*religious* group that separated from the Temple cult.  The vast majority of 
>the documents are biblical texts, which of course would be in Hebrew, and the 
>"community" documents set forth religious practices for the group.  So the 
>DSS actually seem to argue more in favor of Karl's suggestion.  There are no 
>grocery lists, letters from Aunt Bertha, or any such "secular" documents 
>among them, which is what would be needed to make them show that Hebrew was a 
>"mother tongue" to this group.  They used Hebrew in their religious documents 
>and practices, but they also had Targums of the biblical texts including Job 
>and Leviticus.  So I really don't think the DSS show what you maintain they 
Dave, the argument which I am summarising is based on technical 
linguistic examination of the grammatical forms of Hebrew used in the 
DSS, transitional between late biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew. These forms 
indicate to the linguists who have looked at this that Hebrew was 
changing in the ways characteristic of a living language (i.e. one being 
used as a mother tongue) and not those of a language preserved only in a 
scholarly or religious community. Now I don't have at hand references to 
the original papers on this. Perhaps others on the list do.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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