[b-hebrew] Hebrew as a Spoken Language vs. Aramaic

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Oct 26 13:58:05 EDT 2007

On 26 Oct 2007 at 6:12, Yishmor wrote:

> A few (I don't mention Shim`own Bar Kokba', for example) and abbreviated 
> list of examples that support Hebrew being the common spoken tongue in 
> the first century.
> *=== Via the Rabbinic Talmudiym*

Okay, let me try again.  I have said all along that Hebrew at this time was a RELIGIOUS 
tongue, used by the religious leaders and used for religious rites.  How does a religious 
compendium like the Talmud disprove that?  

> *=== Via Josephus*
> Josephus makes a very clear distinction between Hebrew and Aramaic, 
> making it clear that when he refers to Hebrew, he is speaking of the 
> everyday language of the Jews distinct from the "peculiar Syrian" 
> (Aramaic) writing even though they may sound and look similar.

> *=== Via Kenneth Kitchen*
> Kenneth Kitchen observed that "some 'Aramaisms' are actually Hebraisms 
> in Aramaic."

> *=== Via the Christian Texts*
> Aramaic is not mentioned in the Christian new testament (unless you are 
> reading an English translation of the Greek words for Hebrew), however 
> references to the Hebrew language are made several times.
>    a) On the title of Yeshuwa`'s cross -- John 19:20
>    b) to descriptions of places names -- John 5:2; 19:13, 17; Rev. 9:11; 
> 16:16
>    c) Paul addressing people in the Hebrew tongue -- Acts 21:40; 22:2
>    d) Yeshuwa` calling out to Paul, on the Damascus road -- Acts 26:14

It is widely accepted that "Hebrew" in these passages refers to Aramaic.  See the 
commentaries.  Also, Jesus' cry on the cross was clearly Aramaic.
> *=== Moses Segal*
> Moses Segal, Hebrew lexicographer, winner of the Isra'el Prize for 
> Jewish Studies, and co-translator of the Talmud concluded purely on 
> linguistic analysis:
>    In earlier Mishnaic [rabbinic] literature no distinction is
>    drawn between Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew.
>    The two idioms are known as Leshon Hagadesh, the
>    Holy Tongue, as contrasted with other languages ...
>    *What was the language of ordinary life* of educated
>    native Jews in Jerusalem and Judaea in the period
>    from 400BCE to 150CE?  The evidence presented
>    by Mishnaic Hebrew and its literature leaves no
>    doubt that *that language was Mishnaic Hebrew*.

Once again, a citation would  be nice, but I would also suggest that this conclusion has not 
been widely accepted by the scholarly community.
> *=== Via the Dead Sea Scrolls*
> About 80% of the texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Hebrew. Greek and 
> Aramaic make up most of the remainder. If one says that Hebrew remained 
> a religious language and so the DSS don't count because they are 
> religious text, you would be ignoring the many non-religious texts 
> contained in the DSS that are written in Hebrew.

Already addressed, and exactly what "non-religious texts" do you refer to?  The commonly 
seen statement is that there are none.  The Serek texts, MMT, and all the rest, deal with 
religious topics.  If you know of something else, please cite it.

Dave Washburn
Why do it right when you can do it again?

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