Skip to comments.Maronite Christians Seek To Revive Aramaic Language
Posted on 10/12/2012 11:32:09 AM PDT by marshmallow
Ancient Israeli Minority Hopes To Win Community Recognition
On a hot August day in the Galilee, a group of schoolchildren in the Arab Christian village of Jish counted diligently, from one to 10, after their instructor. But the words, though similar to Arabic and Hebrew, were neither.
Chada, tarteyn, telat, arba, khamesh, they recited, shet, shva, tamney, teysha, asar.
At this unique summer camp, some 85 children were being immersed in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke and in which the Gemara one of the Talmuds two major books was written. Once the Middle Easts lingua franca, Aramaic is an almost vanished language today. But the camp organizers and the families of these children hope to resurrect it. Moreover, they aim to carve out a new national identity based on that resurrection.
Its a campaign that Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of Modern Hebrew, would readily understand and, perhaps, applaud. But in todays Israel, its a campaign fraught with controversy.
Aram, the Maronite Christian group that organized the camp, is spending long hours huddling with a team of lawyers, preparing papers to submit to Israels Supreme Court later in October. They are seeking formal recognition of their nationality as Aramaic, rather than Arab, by the State of Israel.
Other communities registered in Israel as national groups, such as Arabs, Druze and Jews, receive important legal status in Israel and, with this, certain kinds of communal recognition, such as their own respective education systems within the Ministry of Education. The leaders of Aram say they are not seeking anything like that for now. The recognition would be largely symbolic. But the group has greater long-term ambitions that include uniting Maronite Christian communities throughout the region as a cohesive ethnic group separate from the greater Arab societies with which they have long been intertwined.
(Excerpt) Read more at forward.com ...
“But the group has greater long-term ambitions that include uniting Maronite Christian communities throughout the region as a cohesive ethnic group separate from the greater Arab societies with which they have long been intertwined.”
I have wanted that for years!
Interesting. I was under the impression that after Jerusalem fell the surviving Pharisees removed books from what we call the OT, books Christians found very effective in converting Jews to Christ, because they weren't originally written in Hebrew. Now this says that one of the two major books wasn't in Hebrew either.
If Aramaic is as acceptable as Hebrew, there's no real good logic behind not accepting something written in Greek. Particularly since there have been earlier versions of some of those OT books that actually were written in Hebrew rather than Greek.
Anyone know why Aramaic would be acceptable and not Greek?
After they literally gave up Lebanon to the Sand Monkeys what do they Know..?
What the Maronites know is how to loose... when they could have become Military allies with the Israelis THEY DIDn’t..
Maybe they HATED the JEWS like the Sand Monkeys did..
The Maronites are an example of WHAT NOT TO DO..
Much like the Copts in Egypt.. except the Copts where just a hair smarter.. ONLY a hair..
They both allowed the muslims to take over.. hoping the Crocodile would eat THEM LAST..
There were no books removed. Christians just made it up. The Jewish canon was closed before the Second Temple was built.
The Mishna was written in classic Hebrew, followed (hundreds of years later) by the Gemara, in Aramaic.
Great. We say Kaddish and other prayers in Aramaic instesd of Hebrew. And some of the passages we read are in Aramaic. Brigette Gabriel of Act America is Maronite Christian of Lebanon and she writes quite a bit in her book about growing up in Lebanon as a Maronite Christian.
It is closer to the Imperial Aramaic dialect of Edessa, not the Western Aramaic of 1st century Israel.
The Aramaic of the Gemara is a similar Aramaic to the the Aramaic of the Maronites, which is because the original Amoraim of the Gemara were from the center of the Imperial dialect, the area around Babylon.
While I know I will get pushback from those who are invested in the incorrect thesis that the Aramaic of the Maronites is the Aramaic of 1st century Israel, it simply is not and the most blindingly clear proof of this is the Maronite text of the Bible, the Peshitta.
The Peshitta is written in Syriac - a dialect of Aramaic that is closely related to the Imperial Aramaic of the Sassanids.
The same goes for the Maronite liturgy.
This is well-established.
It is important to emphasize this because of the claims of George Lamsa, a Nestorian heretic who later converted to Unity Church sect and whose views are currently popularized by Rocco Errico.
The promote the view that the Aramaic/Syriac of the Peshitta predates the Greek of the New Testament, which it does not.
They claim that the Peshitta text preserves the words of the Lord in their exact spoken form and pronunciation, which they cannot.
They further claim that Lamsa's translation of the Bible is the most accurate possible and that Lamsa's nonsense commentary (for example the highly popular and completely fictitious notion of the "Eye of the Needle" being a gate into Jerusalem) is reliable exegesis.
I understand the romantic notion of claiming to speak the "language of Jesus" - but the truth is the truth.
The Aramaic dialect of Galilee is not a living language and it has not been for well over a thousand years.
Not long ago, every Orthodox synagogue in America had a Soncino Chumash (English Bible w/commentary) in most every seat. One could claim that quoting the English therein was an ‘official’ translation but such a claim could not be taken seriously by the knowledgeable.
There are Aramaic translations (Targums) sill used for Bible study because Aramaic has Semitic roots and might yield insights into the Hebrew. Studying Shakespeare yields insight into English while studying Arabic does not. That’s how far Hebrew is from Greek.
Here’s Ponies doing Gangnam Style:
America is an example of what not to do. We've sold the Christians in the Middle East down the river, time and time again. Most recently in Iraq and our vacuous cheer leading for the "Arab Spring".
The Maronites and other Middle East Christians are minorities in a Muslim dominated region. They are walking the walk every day and witnessing with their blood to the truth of the Christian Gospel.
There was no Jewish canon until well after the Second Temple was destroyed.
The Zadokite priesthood (known to Christians as the Sadduccees) and their adherents insisted that only the five books of the Torah were Scripture.
The Perushim (known to Christians as the Pharisees) insisted that prophetic and historical works were part of the canon as well.
Most Jews worldwide used the Septuagint as their text, since most Jews knew Greek better than Hebrew.
There were disputes among different Jewish schools as to what list of books should accompany the Torah.
There were also various Aramaic translations of the Torah and the Prophets being used in different synagogues - these were known as Targums.
It wasn't until after the destruction of the Second Temple that the school of Yochanan ben Zakkai began advocating a very specific, Pharisaic list of canonical books.
In a 1st century synagogue, there were no seats with freshly printed Siddurim and Chumashim.
If there had been, 90% of those in attendance would not be able to make much of them if they contained a Hebrew text.
A 1st century synagogue likely had one or more kashrut Torah scrolls that could be used for services and scrolls or codices of haftarot - and those frequently varied.
The Septuagint and the Targums were used frequently and Jews knew them very well. The New Testament citations from the Septuagint were well known to most Jews of the 1st century.
That’s an excellent question. In fact, I guarantee it’s a lot better than any answer you’re likely to get.
I use a series of proxy servers that cycle too quickly to be identified.
Plus, I only post using Gangnam Style.
I understand that Christians, especially Catholics, have an alternative to the Jewish history. I’ll just point out that Jewish scholars disagree. Two different religions, after all.
Besides, the real fight is between Protestants and Catholics, who do not agree on canon and claim to be the same religion.
That part is correct. The Hebrew of the Five Books of Moses was settled. Other writings were for educational purposes, and, since printed material was rare, information was transmitted mostly orally. Then, as now, adherents consulted religious experts not just texts.
Right. Thank you.
For one thing, it radically simplifies Biblical Hebrew by replacing most constructs with Aramaic genitives.
For another, it eliminates the Biblical Hebrew tense structure by replacing consecutives with participles.
There is a reason why there are separate published grammars for Mishnaic Hebrew (or as it used to be called, Rabbinic Hebrew).
Also, the Gemara does not follow "hundreds of years later" - the last of the Tannaim were alive while the first Amoraim were teaching.
[ The Maronites and other Middle East Christians are minorities in a Muslim dominated region. ]
They USED to be majorities.. which is point..
Both MAronites and Copts sealed their own fates by doing nothing.. OR what didn’t work..
Mishna: about 200 CE
Jerusalem Talmud: about 400 CE
Babylonia Talmud: about 500 CE
...During the centuries following Rabbi Judah’s editing of the Mishna, it was studied exhaustively by generation after generation of rabbis. Eventually, some of these rabbis wrote down their discussions and commentaries on the Mishna’s laws in a series of books known as the Talmud. The rabbis of Palestine edited their discussions of the Mishna about the year 400: Their work became known as the Palestinian Talmud (in Hebrew, Talmud Yerushalmi, which literally means “Jerusalem Talmud”).
More than a century later, some of the leading Babylonian rabbis compiled another editing of the discussions on the Mishna. By then, these deliberations had been going on some three hundred years. The Babylon edition was far more extensive than its Palestinian counterpart, so that the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) became the most authoritative compilation of the Oral Law. When people speak of studying “the Talmud,” they almost invariably mean the Bavli rather than the Yerushalmi.
The Talmud’s discussions are recorded in a consistent format. A law from the Mishna is cited, which is followed by rabbinic deliberations on its meaning. The Mishna and the rabbinic discussions (known as the Gemara) comprise the Talmud, although in Jewish life the terms Gemara and Talmud usually are used interchangeably.
The rabbis whose views are cited in the Mishna are known as Tanna’im (Aramaic for “teachers”), while the rabbis quoted in the Gemara are known as Amora’im (”explainers” or “interpreters”). Because the Tanna’im lived earlier than the Amora’im, and thus were in closer proximity to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, their teachings are considered more authoritative than those of the Amora’im. For the same reason, Jewish tradition generally regards the teachings of the Amora’im, insofar as they are expounding the Oral Law, as more authoritative than contemporary rabbinic teachings.
In addition to extensive legal discussions (in Hebrew, halakha), the rabbis incorporated into the Talmud guidance on ethical matters, medical advice, historical information, and folklore, which together are known as aggadata.
As a rule, the Gemara’s text starts with a close reading of the Mishna...
If we stand apart from ideological perspectives and examine the historical evidence, it becomes pretty clear that the whole concept of a canon was unknown until a conflict arose on a larger scale between Jews who were Christians, Jews who were not Christians and the large mass of monotheistic Gentiles who became an important part of that field of conflict.
That's when Christians began insisting on the value of the Septuagint and Perushim became enemies of the Septuagint.
Thanks. It is BEAUTIFUL!! Listened, copied and Emailed.
The Septuagint was Greek. I don’t think the language was the problem, and thei is the first I’ve heard that books were excluded from the Bible because they were in Greek.
The Jewish Bible is in Hebrew, all of it. I’m not sure about the Talmud, but it’s possible that the Gemara was in Aramaic. I think it was written in Babylonia, and at any rate, when it was composed, Aramaic was the dominant language of the middle east.
Some the Jewish mystical tracts were in Aramaic, the Zohar, for one, and the Ketubah, the marriage contract, is in Aramaic, as is all but the last verse of the mourners’ prayer.
The first of the great Amoraim (authors the Gemara) was Yehoshua ben Levi, who is believed to have died in the 270s.
We're talking years here, not centuries.
What I’ve read was anything not originally in Hebrew was excluded. Whether that means some books in the Septuagint were originally written in Greek or originally written in something other than Greek and only still existed in Greek I’m not sure.
Every Freeper can customize his own homepage, including use of html trickery. He simply put in some lines to mimic the sane text as you would see on a genuinely suspended account. In other words, his “banned” account notification is fake.
Wrong most Jews then spoke Aramaic as the largest communities were in Israel and Babylonia. Jews in Alexandria spoke Greek as did Jews of Greece. Jews of Rome spoke Latin.
educated Jews everywhere used Hebrew and Aramaic for their liturgy.
never was a pagan language like Greek ever elevated to the sanctity of Hebrew.
The septuagint was a translation from Hebrew to Greek.
In as much as there is nothing political about this piece, I shared it with everyone on my e-mail list.
About 90% responded. I was actually surprised as some of the Liberal “New Age” types were unmoved and in fact two of them scoffed at what they heard.
The more solidly fundamental and traditional among my contacts reacted as you did.
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Some of us have a hard enough time reading left-to-right...
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