[b-hebrew] Fw: Aramaic to them?

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Mar 10 13:31:17 EST 2004

Somehow I get the feeling that we're both saying the same thing, only 
different :-)  I frankly found Blau's paragraph confusing, precisely because 
he made that passing reference to "some sort of Middle Hebrew" and I'm not 
sure what he means by that.  This is why I want to read the entire article 
before I go further, because I'm hoping he explained some of those things 
elsewhere in it.  In any case, I don't claim that Hebrew was a "dead" 
language at the time of the scrolls, either.  I suspect it was a (primarily) 
religious language, though not really in common use by the populace in 
everyday life.  In this regard, I tend to think that the archaeological 
evidence supports such a hypothesis, because the evidence that we have, 
including the "sectarian" scrolls, ossuaries and the like, are religious in 
nature.  In the case of the Bar Kokhba materials, I think it's fairly clear 
that he was trying to bring about a resoration of the "good ol' days," 
including use of Hebrew as the common language, and hence the usage that we 
see in those materials is, to a great degree, somewhat artificially 
constructed rather than a natural use of a mother tongue.  Of course, YMMV.

On Sunday 07 March 2004 13:42, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 06/03/2004 16:46, Dave Washburn wrote:
> > ...
> >
> >>To make the point more clearly: I think the following, and it seems to
> >>me that Blau agrees: There was a community of mother tongue Hebrew
> >>speakers, primarily speaking Hebrew and passing it on from generation to
> >>generation, until after the time of writing of the DSS. The writers of
> >>the DSS were in contact with this community, although we don't know
> >>whether they were members of it. The Hebrew in which the DSS was written
> >>(i.e. QH) is intermediate between BH and the language of the mother
> >>tongue community at that time. The differences between QH and BH may be
> >>accounted for, at least in part, by influence from the primarily spoken
> >>Hebrew of the mother tongue community.
> >
> >I'm not sure this was the case, unless more than one language can be
> >considered a mother tongue, as in the case of folks who grow up bilingual.
> >Without reading all of Blau's paper, which I will have to get by
> >inter-library loan and may take a while, I can't really comment on his
> > views. Still, I got the impression that he said the influence causing
> > change came from Aramaic, not Hebrew.  He did mention "some sort of
> > Middle Hebrew" (whatever that may mean), but he also prefaced those
> > remarks with "no proof exists that they reflect a spoken Hebrew dialect
> > used by the
> >members of the Qumran sect."  This would seem to preclude the idea that QH
> > was a transitional form.  It almost sounds as though he's saying it was a
> > sort of construct, sort of like some modern Americans' attempts to mimic
> > KJV-style English.  But again, I need to read the full article before I
> > comment further.
> I was basing my analysis only on the concluding paragraph from Blau
> which Ken posted, snipped above. In that paragraph he clearly describes
> QH as "exposed to the influence of the spoken vernaculars, viz. Aramaic
> and some sort of Middle Hebrew", in other words the influence came from
> BOTH Aramaic AND Hebrew. Indeed "no proof
> exists that [the differences between BH and QH] reflect a spoken Hebrew
> dialect used by the members of the Qumran sect", but Blau clearly
> implies that such a dialect did exist although without specifying its
> users.
> I didn't say that QH was a transitional form, only that it was an
> intermediate form, and that was not my meaning. My intended meaning was
> that it was some kind of mixed form, perhaps as you suggest, although
> not necessarily an artificial construct.

Dave Washburn
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.

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