[b-hebrew] hebrew is dead?

Jack Kilmon jkilmon at historian.net
Wed Dec 29 13:39:59 EST 2010

From: "Will Parsons" <wbparsons at alum.mit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 7:36 AM
To: <jkilmon at historian.net>
Cc: <tensorpath at gmail.com>; <nir at ccet.ufrn.br>; <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] hebrew is dead?

> 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

That's very true, Will, but Fred has been repeating, and as a result 
inferring, that I claim Hebrew was "dead and buried" and then proceeding to 
argue against that.  I not only do not object to Hebrew being used, as the 
Lashon haKodesh it continued to be used for post-exilic works and was also 
spoken by the priests and literate 3-5% of the population but the 
pomegranate vendor down the street spoke Aramaic as did the High Priest in 
family usage.

Jack Kilmon 

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