[b-hebrew] FYI: Aramaic study

Jack Kilmon jkilmon at historian.net
Fri Dec 24 21:44:25 EST 2010


Fred, you think I am speculating that targums were translations or "interpretations" of Hebrew Biblical texts written in the commonly spoken language, in this case Aramaic?  Given the lack of survivability of written texts over centuries in Palestine, we are lucky to have the DSS because of the environment in which they were placed. A targum is, IMO, the compelling evidence that Aramaic was the common language. How many B.C.E. targums does it take?  One?  Three?  100?  Is 4Q Targum Leviticus sufficient?  Is the Genesis Apocryphon sufficient?  I think the Targum of Job is more than sufficient.  How about the Targums of the Talmudic period that, through their Western Aramaic substructures, had their origins in first century Palestine?  The Peshitta Old Testament is a targum, written between 100 BCE and 100 CE.  I will hang my hat on the Targum of Job because it is unique in being a rare literal targum, fairly faithful to the Hebrew book of Job.  The language of the Job Targum is older than the Genesis Apocryphon dated to the 1st century BCE. (Kutscher, 1958, 1965) and dated to the second half of the second century BCE.  Job, then, is the oldest extant Aramaic targum.  The evidence for written targumym this early is found in the literature, i.e. R. Le Deaut, 1966.  The Babylonian Talmud references a targum of Job, probably a copy of the Qumran text, taken out of circulation by Gamaliel (between 25 and 50 CE). The Talmud (bShabbat 115a; jShabbat 15c) does not give a reason but my bet would be because it WAS a faithful translation rather than the more acceptable interpretation or paraphrase, Hebrew as the Holy Tongue (lashon haQodesh) being acceptable in Palestine for Biblical texts (referenced in the DSS as previously presented) where even the LXX was eschewed. The LXX's epilogue to Job (42:17b): outos ermhneuetai ek ths suriakhs biblou  "this was translated from the Aramaic  book" clearly refers to a targum. Targumym were Biblical texts written in the common language to be read to the common folk.  You think this is speculation?

The DSS Yahad consisted of men from the community in Palestine whose native language was Aramaic but as a community of  "covenanters" spoke Hebrew as a community, a Hebrew that over two centuries developed its own dialect. Their Aramaic, however, preserved in about 20% of their texts, was similar to the Judean Aramaic of Palestine preserved in other texts and epigraphy.

Speaking of epigraphy  There is evidence of what illiterates spoke.  There is an entire class of epigraphy by illiterates and quasi-literates. Ossuarial inscriptions crudely scrawled on the boxes by either illiterates 
copying from an ostraca or quasi-literates using primitively executed scripts, poor spelling and poor grammar.  The language poorly executed in epigraphy is the language commonly spoken with spelling phonetically.  The illiterate 90%+ (more like 95%) includes a segment of the population that is semi-literate who can make out certain words or recognize a name or two but cannot read or write well at all.  Most ossuarial inscriptions are this type.  If you want to see a good example, look at the Talpiot "Jesus box" which is #704 in Rahmani.  There are many more and I have examined them all. The same for some ostraca and graffiti.

Graffiti is the language of the street.  For 200 years surrounding the time of Jesus (whose only recorded words in his own language are Aramaic), this graffiti, with its primitive execution, poor spelling and poor orthography is in Aramaic...not a single example of Hebrew.  See "Aramaische Texte vom Toten Meer mit Ergänzung" by Klaus Beyer.

Speculation indeed!

Jack

Jack Kilmon
San Antonio, TX






 
From: fred burlingame 
Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 9:15 AM
To: Jack Kilmon 
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] FYI: Aramaic study


apparently you have never heard of speculation?

regards,

fred burlingame


On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 7:31 PM, Jack Kilmon <jkilmon at historian.net> wrote:

  Apparently you have never heard of targumym?

  Jack



  From: fred burlingame 
  Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 4:55 PM
  To: Jack Kilmon 
  Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] FYI: Aramaic study


  the hebrews don't speak the language of their adversaries (arabic) in their galilee synagogues today; and they didn't speak the language of their adversaries (aramaic) in their synagogues then.

  it's just that simple.

  regards,

  fred burlingame


  On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 9:55 AM, Jack Kilmon <jkilmon at historian.net> wrote:

    For the same reason that Native Americans speak English, tropical Amerindians speak Spanish, Diaspora Jews and many Judean Jews spoke Greek, and most Japanese speak English.  The commonly spoken language of the am ha-arets of the 2nd Temple period was Aramaic and not Hebrew.  Jesus spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew.  Hebrew chauvinism has its place, I guess, but it should not be in academics.  I am constantly amazed that many academics still perpetrate this fiction.

    Jack Kilmon

    --------------------------------------------------
    From: "fred burlingame" <tensorpath at gmail.com>
    Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 9:07 AM
    To: "Oun Kwon" <kwonbbl at gmail.com>
    Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
    Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] FYI: Aramaic study 



      Hello Oun Kwon:

      Why would a people (hebrews) adopt the language (aramaic) of a people
      (babylonians) who burned down the hebrew temple and removed its most prized
      possession; ark of the covenant?

      Even the conservative oxford english dictionary has begun to recognize the
      folly of such conclusion.

      http://www.sharesong.org/JESUSSPOKEHEBREW.htm

      Even Japan in 2010 refuses to accept the language of the legions that occupy
      its shores today; and burned its cities in 1945.

      regards,

      fred burlingame

      On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 10:13 PM, Oun Kwon <kwonbbl at gmail.com> wrote:


        FYI

        Oun Kwon

        P.S.

        The study of Aramaic has undergone a revival at Oxford, even as the effects
        of the war in Iraq have threatened its existence as a spoken language. Some
        56 scholars are now studying language there, outpacing the number of those
        currently studying classical Greek.

        **
        Christ's endangered language gets new lease of life in Oxford *(The
        Guardian)*<
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/dec/21/aramaic-language-oxford-university
        >
        same as =
        www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/dec/21/aramaic-language-oxford-university
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