[b-hebrew] hebrew is dead?

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Wed Dec 29 08:36:36 EST 2010

On Tue, 28 Dec 2010 21:48:38 -0600, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon at historian.net> wrote:
> Fred:
> It is true that Aramaic replaced Hebrew as the vernacular in the 2nd Temple
> period but if you can quote anyone who claimed that Hebrew "died" and was
> "buried" I encourage you to do so or please bury this repeated red herring
> instead.

To be fair, the most common definition of a "dead" language is one that has
no native speakers, and by this criterion Hebrew did indeed "die".  (At
least, I'm not aware of any claims that it served as the mother tongue of
a community continuously from ancient to modern times.)  Now you (and others)
may object that Hebrew was used - even to the extent of having new literary
works composed in it - long after it ceased to be a spoken (i.e., mother
tongue) language, and I would agree that "dead" doesn't seem to be a
completely appropriate adjective to apply to this situation.  At mentioned
elsewhere in this thread, it's important to define terms here.

Will Parsons

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