[b-hebrew] mishnaic hebrew

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Fri Nov 25 01:57:33 EST 2011

Karl katav
> However, the higher level activities in post-Babylonian Exile Judea were
> supposed to be in Hebrew, not Aramaic.

This misses the point. Hebrew existed in two registers, a high Hebrew
and a low Hebrew. That means that listing activities for high Hebrew
does not explain the existence of a low Hebrew register/dialect.


> Lower level activities, like occasional contact with their distant emperor
> and trade, could be carried on in Aramaic.

this is an uninformed comment. Cross-cultural governmental business
is normally done in 'official' languages, high registers. Defining it
differently is not a position. Within the Persian empire, Aramaic was the
high language for the various governments.

> or as I think is more probable,
> that Hebrew was spoken as a second language, similar to how Latin was
> spoken as a second language during the medieval period to take care of the
> higher level activities in that time and place.

Once again, this is based on ignoring the fact that mishnaic Hebrew and
'classical' Hebrew represent two different registers of a language, and
also ignoring that fact that Latin went through a similar period when
there was a high 'classical' Latin and a low vulgar, dialectical Latin. Two
dialect types representing two registers of a language. This is a common
mistake made by people who want to discuss Hebrew.

If you do not have all four pieces in the picture you are not playing with
a full deck of cards and your picture will be skewed.

Randall Buth, PhD
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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