[b-hebrew] Aramaic in Babylonia

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Tue Jul 5 18:05:31 EDT 2005

The Hermopolis letters, published in TAD A 2.1-6,
were written in Aramaic. They are dated to the end
of the 6th,
which I suppose is too late for what you want.
These were not written by Egyptians, but probably
by Babylonians, Arameans or Jews. They were
probably members or related to members of a
garrison at Syene or Luxur. These are the earliest
that I know of. They seem to reveal a spoken

This is an interesting problem tho. It is my
understanding of modern Arabic that spoken Arabic
differs mightily from the written. When two who
speak the same spoken Arabic dialect write letters
they still must use the written form, since
according to my informants, you cannot write the
spoken form. If all this is correct, it implies
that these Aramaic letters, which sound so
colloquial, may not reveal the spoken language at
all, but could reveal rather only a language used
for writing. 

*Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
*The Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
*and the Department of Near Eastern Studies
*University of Michigan 
*2068 Frieze Bldg 
*105 S. State St. 
*Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285 

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