[b-hebrew] FYI: Aramaic study

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Dec 28 00:42:49 EST 2010


On Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 7:52 PM, fred burlingame <tensorpath at gmail.com>wrote:

> You hit the nail on the head.
> That's exactly what I am talking about ...
> And I am having a little difficulty believing that was the scenario at this
> synagogue's services circa 10 a.d.
> a. the leader of the synagogue opens the scroll of isaiah in biblical
> hebrew
> language and reads from it to the congregation.


> b. the congregation has no clue what he is reading or saying.

I don’t know how you could be more far off.

A similar situation occurs all the time around the world, only it deals with
dialects and secondary languages within a land. The reason for the
controversy mentioned in Ezra 10 and Nehemiah 13 is that the non-Jewish
wives in Aramaic speaking Judea were teaching their children their own
languages instead of Hebrew. In other words, though everybody’s native
tongue was Aramaic, Hebrew was required learning for all Jews (at least all

> c. the leader of the synagogue then opens a targum of isaiah and reads in
> aramaic the same passage.

No need. The people already got at least the gist of the passage. The
targums were for studying at other times, other than the services.

> d. the congregation understands "c."

No need, they got at least the gist of the Hebrew, so there was no “c”.

>> But ארץ ישראל was a theocracy under alien army occupation in 10 a.d., an
> entirely different cultural situation; and one whose native language =
> hebrew.

That’s really quite a stretch, with no evidence to back it up.

>> The mainstream likes to say greek or aramaic was the language of the day in
> judah 10 a.d. But where is the proof? The only large corpus of documents
> from that period attests hebrew as the primary language and biblical hebrew
> as the bulk of those documents. Qumram may have been a marginalized
> minority. But where is the proof that the majority spoke aramaic?

Where is the proof that they didn’t? Your hypothetical argument does not
equal evidence.

> regards,
> fred burlingame
> And what does all this have to do with a study of Biblical Hebrew language
and literature? Any at all?

Karl W. Randolph.

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