[b-hebrew] Aramaic in Babylonia

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jul 5 18:34:00 EDT 2005

Hi Karl,

As you know, most scholars would date the composition of Daniel to a much
later period, by which most people would have forgotten that Akkadian had
even existed. So the fact that Daniel uses Aramaic is not really proof of

As far as "spoken" Akkadian and Aramaic - we have very little evidence of
"spoken" languages as is, but I think that it's reasonable to assume that
any written language reflects the spoken language of at least some group at
some time. At least in their written form (and I don't mean that one used
cuneaform and the other used the 22 letter aleph-bet), Akkadian and Aramaic
are very different, one being Eastern Semitic, the other Northwestern


----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 11:16 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Aramaic in Babylonia


You&#8217;re right, the example that I know of dates from the Persian
period. The only clue that we have that Aramaic and Akkadian were the same
comes from Daniel, who lived from before the start of the Babylonian
Captivity and into the Persian period&#8212;his writing in Aramaic may be a
clue, though at the same time it could reflect the lingua Franca of the
Persian period as he could have written it when he was an old man.

But wasn&#8217;t Aramaic a lingua Franca before the Babylonian Captivity? As
such, wouldn&#8217;t that have been a factor, so that the Babylonians, like
the Persians after them, would use Aramaic as the official language for the
empire even through they used a different language in Babylonia?

But my question remains, is there any evidence that _spoken_ Akkadian and
Aramaic were different languages?

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
> Hi Karl,
> That Aramaic was the lingua franca in the west during the Persian Period
> well documented. Do you know of official documents in Aramaic from Egypt
> during the Saite period, before the Persian conquest?
> Yigal
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>;
> <biblical-studies at yahoogroups.com>; <archaeology2 at yahoogroups.com>;
> <neareasternarchaeology at yahoogroups.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 8:23 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Aramaic in Babylonia
> Yigal:
> Was there any _spoken_ difference between Akkadian and Aramaic during the
> Neo-Babylonian period? That what appear to be differences may actually be
> related to our faulty understanding of pronunciation?
> All I can say definitely is that all the history sources I have read
> indicate that Aramaic was the lingua Franca from the Neo-Babylonian period
> through the end of the Persian empire. Further, official documents were
> found in Egypt written in Aramaic from that period.
> Karl W. Randolph.

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