[b-hebrew] FYI: Aramaic study

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Sat Dec 25 20:26:45 EST 2010

>> shalom Jack,
> shlama Randall

yisga shlamax

>> You're a little too accepting here. Finding a Greek prophet scroll
>> doesn't lead you to posit Greek as the common language of Judea, does
>> it? Isn't it preferable to ask its pedigree, where it originated, and
>> what it was doing there? Ditto for Aramaic Job.
>> Muraoka showed that the Qumran Job targum appears to have come from
>> the East. Muraoka, 1974. Hardly surprising.
> As you know, Ed Cook's review of Muraoka in "Qumran Aramaic and Aramaic
> Dialectology" shows that the basis for the Eastern origin is flawed.
> Cook, Edward M. “Qumran Aramaic and Aramaic Dialectology.” Pages 1-21 in
> Studies in Qumran Aramaic. Abr-Nahrain Supplement 3. Edited by T. Muraoka.
> Louvain:
> Peeters, 1992.
Yes, but you must read the fineprint. Ed pointed out that most of
Takamitsu's criteria referred to spelling and thus did not reveal what
the actual features of the (spoken) dialect were. However, an Eastern
spelling is still an Eastern spelling, which supports Muraoka's
observations about an Eastern provinance for the document. Even if it
turns out that the leather is local and it was a local copy job (I
haven't checked), it would still show the pedigree of its exemplar
from outside.

>> As for me, I would not accept the Genesis Apocryphon as a translation
>> like what you see in the LXX, or even Onkelos. But if you are
>> expanding the canon for a rewrite like Genesis Apocrypohon, you could
>> add Aramaic Tobit. (Now I am pretty sure from the features of the
>> language that Tobit was first written in Hebrew. But if you posit
>> Aramaic, then the Hebrew 'targum' to Tobit becomes evidence in exactly
>> the opposite direction that you are arguing.)
> When it comes down to it, its rather simple for me. A
> Targum is a translation, interpretation or paraphrase of a portion of the
> Hebrew Tanakh into Aramaic and its purpose was to be read to the common
> people in their common language.  For the Targums of Job, the Targum of
> Leviticus and the Genesis Apocryphon, they all look, waddle and sound like
> ducks to me.  They are translations, interpretations (the meaning of the
> Aramaic word Targum) or paraphrases.

Well, we differ greatly on this. The Genesis Apocryphon does not
'waddle' like someone needing a translation from Hebrew but from someone
interested in interpreting the Hebrew and updating it to a more modern
time, and either doing that in a language that will not compromise the
of the original and/or provide for a wider audience across the whole ancient
Near East, and/or possible fitting in with the Enoch literature
traditions. No one considers the Genesis Apocryphon to be even closely
equivalent in style to
the Aramaic Job at Qumran. (I don't really 'buy' the third reason that I listed
here, since books like Jubilees were in Hebrew. the middle reason is the
least contentious--providing a new book accessible thru the whole Near East.
This is contrary to what Josephus did in writing to the galut in Hebrew.)

> Ecclesiatical Latin (like Late Biblical Hebrew)
> continued to develop in the Vatican and monasteries (like Qumran) but the
> guy watering the lawn spoke Italian. ...
>Similarly, pre-Mishnaic Hebrew acquires Aramaic loan
> words with little loans to Judean Aramaic.

Actually, the Latin analogy breaks down, since Mishnaic Hebrew was the
"Italian" of a Hebrew diglossia a long time (millenium) before an
Hebrew developed with Rashi and co-temps.

> It would seem that Job was special to the Aramaic speaking public as the
> Enochian literature was to the Covenanters, most in Aramaic.  Even the
> Genesis Apocryphon has correlations with Jubilees.  ...
> Why would Job be important to the anwe ha-arets?

It's good for you to start speculating, but why limit your thinking to
the "Land"?
LXX comes from Egypt, maybe Greek Job, too, with its use of Aramaic
for its work. Qumran Aramaic Job still appears to be an import, even
if it cannot tell us what the actual Eastern dialects sounded like.
You might consider, while thinking about this, the peculiar dialect of
the Hebrew Job source. That may play a major role in its
unique popularity in translation in antiquity.

>> Jack, if you've looked at all of the graffitti, you've surely noticed
>> the Hebrew ones.
> In the 1st century?  I would be very interested in examples.

Read through your RaHmani for starters. E.g., note the differences of
words like isha/eshet versus itteta/ittat


> It is now accepted by the majority of scholarship that Aramaic was the
> common language of the 2nd temple period.  I no longer have the uphill
> battle I had 20 years ago.
> There is no evidence whatsoever that ordinary
> people spoke Hebrew in the late 2nd temple period.

that's funny.
I'll be sure to remind most of those engaged in actual research and
publication of mishnaic Hebrew and Judean Aramaic. Unfortunately,
James Barr is no longer with us, who lamented 20 years ago that NT
scholarship had not really digested the language discoveries that were
being made by mishnaic Hebrew specialists.

blessings le-shana ezraHit tova
And a be-lated
yom huledet sameaH be-hasigka seva,
seva tova.

Randall Buth

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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