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2. Bible


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Title: 2. Bible

2. Bible Book in the Ancient World
  • BIB586 Biblical Introduction

1.0.0 Introduction
  • "In the beginning was the world and the word was
    with God. Then human beings took it over. In many
    languages they produced a flood of words. And the
    world was filled with clay tablets, scrolls,
    books, bookcases and libraries." Ellen van
    Wolde, Words become Worlds Semantic Studies of
    Genesis 1-11, ix

1.0.1 Why Study Bib. Lang.
  • 1. If you believe in the inspiration of
    scripture, then you value the words.
  • 2. Translations are good, but no translation is
    able to convey the subtleties of language.
  • 3. Poetry and all figures of speech rely heavily
    upon the sounds and meanings of the original
  • 4. Literary devices and rhetorical structures
    cannot be accurately interpreted from a

1.0.1 Why Study Bib. Lang.
  • 5. Use of commentaries that make reference to
    Greek and Hebrew.
  • 6. Other Resources written in Hebrew and Greek
    Lexicons, word studies, theological works,
    grammars, concordances, journal articles.
  • 7. Ability to critique the opinions of others. If
    you do not learn Hebrew and Greek, you will
    forever be dependent upon the thoughts and ideas
    of someone else.

1.0.1 Why Study Bib. Lang.
  • 8. Enables original research. You can research
    questions with a concordance, lexicon, and/or
    computer Bible program. Some of your questions
    may not be answered in the standard reference
    works. Furthermore, all reseachers have motives
    that may not lead allow them to follow the same
    pathway that you may wish to investigate.
  • 9. Enhances sermon and lesson preparation. Ideas
    will come to you from the original languages that
    would otherwise be unavailable.

1.0.1 Why Study Bib. Lang.
  • 10. Side benefit Understanding of language in
    general. Enhances communication skill.
  • Lee Martin, "History of the Hebrew Language,"

1.0.1 Why Study Bib. Lang.
  • Old Testament Studies
  • Hebrew
  • Aramaic (also Syriac)
  • Greek
  • Akkadian
  • Ugaritic
  • Latin

1.0.1 Why Study Bib. Lang.
  • New Testament Studies
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Aramaic (also Syriac)
  • Latin
  • Coptic

1.1 Hebrew Introduction
  • "Most of the Old Testament was originally written
    in Hebrew. The small residue was written in a
    dialect of Aramaic known as biblical Aramaic, and
    comprises three main pieces (Dan. 24b-728 Ezra
    48-618 712-26), an odd verse in the middle of
    Jeremiah (1011, presumably an early gloss), and
    two words in Genesis (3147 "Heap of Witness,"
    title name given by Laban to the Mizpah stone
    which Jacob's clansmen set up in Gilead). The
    fact that the central portion of the book of
    Daniel is written in this dialect led ancient
    scholars to call it Chaldee, under the impression
    that this was the tongue spoken by the Jewish
    exiles in Chaldea (Babylonia)." Snaith, "The
    Language of the Old Testament," Interpreter's
    Bible, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Name
  • "In the Old Testament the language of the Hebrews
    is described as the "language of Canaan" (Isaiah
    1918), or the "language of Judah" (Nehemiah
    1324 Isaiah 3611). The first occurrence of the
    designation "Hebrew" is in the prologue to Ben
    Sira, written approximately 130 B.C. The New
    Testament writers and Josephus used the
    designation "Hebrew" to refer both to Hebrew and
    to the locally spoken Aramaic." Martin

1.1 Hebrew Name
  • "In the literature of later antiquity, the
    language is usually called "the holy tongue,"
    with reference to the biblical corpus, and the
    "tongue of the sages," when referring to the
    language of the oral tradition - that is called
    rabbinic or mishnaic or tannaitic Hebrew. It is
    here that we come across the first explicit
    reference to divergent literary styles."
    Schramm, "Hebrew Structural Overview," Anchor
    Bible Dictionary, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Name
  • "Curiously enough, the term "Hebrew" as the
    in-group common reference to its language is a
    borrowing from Arabic, first introduced by Saadia
    Gaon (882-942 c.e.) in his grammatical writings
    (Skoss 1955). The new designation entered the
    Hebrew language only when Jews began to write
    their grammatical studies in their own language a
    few centuries later." Schramm, "Hebrew
    Structural Overview," Anchor Bible Dictionary,
    CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Name
  • "Other than as the language of ancient Phoenician
    colonialism, Canaanite never assumed a major role
    in the ancient world. Rome defeated its archrival
    Carthage in the west, and in the Levant Aramaic,
    originally used east of the Phoenician hill
    country, gradually spread its domain. As the
    language of the Jews, Hebrew was the mother
    tongue of only Jerusalem and its environs at the
    beginning of the Common Era. In the northern
    domains of the expanded Hasmonean Kingdom of
    Judea a form of Aramaic was spoken, simply
    because the local population

1.1 Hebrew Name
  • carried on the speech habits of their ancestors
    who were converted to Judaism during the reign of
    John Hyrcanus I. The Idumeans to the south, who
    had been converted at about the same time,
    continued to speak their ancestral Canaanite
    tongue." Schramm, "Hebrew Structural Overview,"
    Anchor Bible Dictionary, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Name
  • "Hebrew probably ceased to be a living language
    (in the sense of a community mother tongue)
    around the year 200 c.e. as the result of the Bar
    Kokhba disaster, when the population of Judea was
    decimated and the survivors fled northward to the
  • ". . . Aramaic which they spoke as a family
    language was symbiotically linked to the Hebrew
    they continued to use for more formal purposes."
    Schramm, "Hebrew Structural Overview," Anchor
    Bible Dictionary, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew History
  • Biblical Hebrew (BH)
  • Early Biblical Hebrew (EBH)
  • Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH)
  • Rabbinical Hebrew, or Mishnaic Hebrew (RH)
  • Medieval Hebrew, also called Rabbinic, the Hebrew
    of the Middle Ages (MH)
  • Modern or Israeli Hebrew (IH)

1.1 Hebrew Origins
  • "The family of languages to which Hebrew belongs
    is grouped by linguists in a phylum called
    Afroasiatic. The geographical range of
    Afroasiatic covers northern and central Africa
    and western Asia. In time, Afroasiatic languages
    are attested from the 3d millennium b.c.e.
    (although some languages of the phylum must have
    existed for at least a millennium before this)
    until the present." Schmitz, "Language-Hebrew
    Early History of Hebrew," ABD, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Origins
  • "The Afroasiatic phylum has five or six members
    Egyptian (later called Coptic, now extinct) and
    Berber in N Africa, the Chadic family (whose
    best-known member is Hausa) in sub-Saharan
    Africa, the Cushitic-Omotic family in the Horn of
    Africa, and the Semitic family, which includes
    Arabic and Hebrew. " Schmitz, "Language-Hebrew
    Early History of Hebrew," ABD, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Origins
  • "Hebrew belongs to the family of Afroasiatic
    languages commonly referred to as Semitic
    languages. The major division of this family is
    between East Semitic and West Semitic. East
    Semitic incorporates the group of dialects called
    Akkadian West Semitic includes the Northwest
    Semitic languages, Arabic, and South Semitic. . .
    . " Schmitz, "Language-Hebrew Early History of
    Hebrew," ABD, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Origins
  • "The Northwest Semitic languages comprise the
    Canaanite group and Aramaic. Evidence for early
    Northwest Semitic begins in the 3d millennium (if
    one admits some of the features of the language
    of Ebla) and continues to the end of the LB II
    period (around 1200 b.c.e.). Some of the
    distinctive features of Canaanite can be observed
    in these early Northwest Semitic samples, but the
    distinction between Canaanite and Aramaic remains
    difficult to impose until the Iron II period. A
    recent survey concludes that the Iron Age

1.1 Hebrew Origins
  • of Syria-Palestine are best viewed as a
    continuum having Phoenician as one of its poles
    and Aramaic as the other. Hebrew is probably to
    be located near the center of this cline "
    Schmitz, "Language-Hebrew Early History of
    Hebrew," ABD, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Origins
  • "The Canaanite languages include Phoenician
    (which distinguishes the minority dialect of
    Byblos from the more widespread dialect of Tyre
    and Sidon), Hebrew (which distinguishes a
    northern dialect, probably centered in Samaria,
    from a southern, the dialect of Jerusalem and
    Judah), Ammonite, Moabite, and Edomite. The
    language of the Deir gtAlla texts should perhaps
    also be included." " Schmitz, "Language-Hebrew
    Early History of Hebrew," ABD, CD-Rom Edition

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Affinities
  • Hebrew Greek Affinities?
  • Hamito-Semitic Affinities?
  • Proto Semitic or Common Semitic
  • Akkadian
  • Ugaritic
  • Moabite
  • Ammonite
  • Edomite
  • Phoenician
  • Deir gtAlla

1.1 Hebrew Proto-Semitic
  • "Bauer and Leander, writing in 1922, assumed that
    Hebrew was a fusion of an indigenous Canaanite
    language and newer West Semitic elements brought
    in by invaders and they were followed by
    Birkeland in 1940 and Driver. R. Meyer holds that
    the qat9al and yaqt9ulu systems have different
    origins and represent a mixing of different of
    different dialects which took place before the
    entry into Canaan. . . . A. Bendavid accounts for
    Aramaisms in biblical writing as a stylistic
    device used by the authors for variation. Sekine,
    however, assumes that there were two migrations,
    Amorite and Aramean, both of which influenced
    developments in Hebrew."

1.1 Hebrew Proto-Semitic
  • Qal passive
  • the prefixes b and l with the sense 'from'
  • the cohortative and jussive modes
  • -t as the indicator of the 3f.s., -a4h as the
    adverbial marker, and the pronoun )a4no4k 'I'.
  • Later innovations are the assimilation of /g8/
    and /)/, /h/ and /h9/
  • the tendency to assimilate /n/

1.1 Hebrew Proto-Semitic
  • the partial reduction of diphthongs
  • the change from 3f.s. t to a4h
  • the nota accusativi )e4t, which follows upon the
    loss of case endings
  • later, the spirantization of /bgdkpt/

1.1 Hebrew Proto-Semitic
  • "The Proto-Semitic phonological repertoire may be
    reconstructed as having contained three vowels,
    a, i, u, which could occur short or long (a4, 4,
    u4), and 29 consonants (all still distinguished
    in Old South Arabian). . . ."
  • "Semitic morphology is strongly characterized,
    especially in its verbal forms, by what are
    termed discontinuous morphemes, which usually
    consist of three consonants . . . ."
  • "Nouns in Proto-Semitic may be reconstructed as
    having three inflectional cases, each marked in
    the singular by one of the short vowels e.g.,

1.1 Hebrew Proto-Semitic
  • nominative ba(lum, 'lord,' genitive ba(lim,
    and accusative ba(lam.

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1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Phonetics/Phonology
  • Consonants
  • Gutturals
  • Profusion of Sibilants
  • 6 letters with double pronunciations
  • Emphatics
  • Vowels
  • matres lectionis - also called vowel letters
    (letters "vav," "yod," "he," and to a lesser
    extent "aleph")

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Vowel points
  • Tiberias infralinear (The marks are under the
  • Babylonian and the Palestinian supralinear (The
    marks above the consonants).

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Grammar
  • General Features
  • Gender Mas. Fem.
  • Number Singular, Dual Plural
  • These are identified in the Nominal, Verbal,
    Adjectival, and Enumeratives
  • Grammatical concord is not 100

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Grammar
  • Nominals "Nominals are all words that may occur
    as the subject of a clause and include the
    principal subclasses of pronouns, proper nouns,
    and substantives. Personal pronouns,
    interrogatives, and demonstratives are partially
    analyzable and are defined by lists. Personal
    names, also partially analyzable, are
    characterized by gender assignment and absence of
    pluralization or dependency. Substantives are
    subdivided into nouns of variable gender and
    nouns of assigned gender."

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Grammar
  • Verbals "Verbals comprise those items that may
    occur as the heads of predicate phrases, include
    the existentials, adjectives and verbs per se."
  • "The finite verbal system consists of two
    indicative sets, a direct command imperative
    limited to the second persons, and a parallel but
    partial indirect command, the jussive/cohortative
    system. One of the indicative paradigms is formed
    by personal prefixes and gender/number suffixes
    added to a stem the other is formed by a fused
    set of personal and gender/number suffixes
    associated with a second verb stem. The
    imperative is formed by

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • gender/number suffixes attached to a stem
    marginally different from the prefixed indicative
    verb, while the jussive/cohortative is formed by
    the addition of personal prefixes as well as
    gender/number suffixes. "
  • "Nonfinite forms of the verb include verbal
    adverbs (the "absolute" infinitives of
    traditional grammars) and the true ("construct"

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Grammar
  • Enumeratives "The enumeratives include an
    adjective for the word "one," a defective noun of
    symmetry for the word "two," substantives for the
    higher items, including "hundred," "thousand,"
    and "myriad," and true numerals for the items
    between "three" and the multiples of ten. Switch
    concord occurs as the distinctive syntactic
    feature in numerical phrases between "three" and

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Grammar
  • Particles "The term particle is the traditional
    designation for all residual classes that are
    neither analyzable nor derivable. This includes
    the categories of coordinating conjunctions,
    adverbials, subordinators, and relativizers. The
    conjunctions and relativizers are defined only by

1.1 Hebrew Linguistic Overview
  • Grammar
  • Adverbials "Other than those adverbs that are
    derived within the verbal system, this category
    includes a short list of unanalyzable forms,
    quantifiers like "also" and "even," and temporals
    such as "then" and "now."

1. Bible Book in the Ancient World
  • 1.2 Aramaic
  • 1.3 Greek
  • 1.4 Trilingualism

1.2 Aramaic Introduction
  • "Aramaic is the best-attested and
    longest-attested member of the NW Semitic
    subfamily of languages (which also includes inter
    alia Hebrew, Phoenician, Ugaritic, Moabite,
    Ammonite, and Edomite). The relatively small
    proportion of the biblical text preserved in an
    Aramaic original (Dan 24-728 Ezra 48-68 and
    712-26 Jeremiah 1011 Gen 3147 two words as
    well as isolated words and phrases in Christian
    Scriptures) belies the importance of this
    language for biblical studies and for religious
    studies in general, for Aramaic was

1.2 Aramaic Introduction
  • the primary international language of literature
    and communication throughout the Near East from
    ca. 600 b.c.e. to ca. 700 c.e. and was the major
    spoken language of Palestine, Syria, and
    Mesopotamia in the formative periods of
    Christianity and rabbinic Judaism." Kaufman
  • "Jesus and his disciples, according to the
    stories in the Gospels, spoke Aramaic. Parts of
    the later books of the Hebrew Bible, as well as
    portions of the Gospels and Acts, are often
    thought to be translations from Aramaic
    originals, but even if not they are undoubtedly

1.2 Aramaic Introduction
  • strongly "Aramaized" in their diction. Late
    biblical Hebrew and rabbinic Hebrew were heavily
    influenced by Aramaic in both grammar and
    vocabulary." Kaufman
  • "Two of the major translation traditions of the
    Hebrew Bible - the Syriac Peshitta and the Jewish
    Targums - are in Aramaic, as are substantial
    portions of rabbinic literature, the entire
    literary corpus of Syriac Christianity, and that
    of the Mandaeans (a non-Christian gnostic sect of
    S Mesopotamia). After the Moslem conquest, Arabic
    gradually displaced Aramaic as the literary and
    colloquial language of the Near East." Kaufman

1.2 Aramaic History
  • "Aramaic is attested over a period of almost
    3,000 years, during which time there occurred
    great changes of grammar, lexical stock, and
  • The major research project in the field - the
    Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 1. Old Aramaic (to 612 BCE 925-700BCE)
  • "This period witnessed the rise of the Arameans
    as a major force in ANE history, the adoption of
    their language as an international language of
    diplomacy in the latter days of the Neo-Assyrian
    Empire, and the dispersal of Aramaic-speaking
    peoples from Egypt to Lower Mesopotamia as a
    result of the Assyrian policies of deportation.
    The scattered and generally brief remains of
    inscriptions on imperishable materials preserved
    from these times are enough to demonstrate that
    an international standard dialect had not yet
    been developed." Kaufman

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 1. Old Aramaic (to 612 BCE)
  • "This phase is represented by inscriptions on
    stone and other materials written in the borrowed
    Phoenician alphabet . . . . The evidence for this
    phase comes not only from Northern Syria and
    Upper Mesopotamia, as was known for a long time,
    but also from Northern Palestine." Fitzmyer
  • "Deir (Alla. "This important but fragmentary
    text, painted on the plaster walls of a cultic
    installation, recounts a vision of "Balaam, son
    of Beor," the Transjordanian prophet known from
    Numbers 22-24. The fact that some scholars
    classify the language of this text as a
    Canaanite, rather than an Aramaic, dialect,
    illustrates that there is no demonstrable
    dividing line (or, in linguistic terms, a bundle
    of isoglosses) separating Canaanite and Aramaic
    at this time." Kaufman

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 2. Official Aramaic (700-200 BCE)
  • "During this period Aramaic spread far beyond the
    borders of its native lands over the vast
    territories of the Neo-Babylonian and even larger
    Persian empires - from Upper Egypt to Asia Minor
    and eastward to the Indian subcontinent.
    Unfortunately, only a remnant of the undoubtedly
    once vast corpus of administrative documents,
    records, and letters that held these empires
    together has been preserved, for such texts were
    written in ink on perishable materials, in sharp
    contrast to the more durable cuneiform clay
    tablets of earlier W Asiatic cultures." Kaufman

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 2. Official Aramaic (700-200 BCE)
  • "The bulk of the finds, however, is from Egypt,
    where the dry climate led to the preservation of
    papyrus and leather along with the expected
    ostraca and stone inscriptions. The major
    Egyptian finds are (1) papyrus archives of the
    Jewish military garrison at Elephantine/Syene
    (including deeds of sale, marriage contracts,
    formal letters to the authorities in Jerusalem,
    and fragments of literary materials) (2) the
    correspondence of the Persian satrap of Egypt,
    Arsames (3) a packet of letters sent to family
    members residing at Syene and Luxor, discovered
    at Hermopolis and (4) Saqqarah a
    late-7th-century papyrus letter from a Philistine
    king (perhaps of Ekron) asking help of pharaoh
    against the king of Babylon and legal and
    economic records on papyri and ostraca from the
    5th and 4th centuries." Kaufman

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 2. Official Aramaic (700-200 BCE)
  • "The Aramaic "official" letters in the book of
    Ezra are almost certainly composed in Imperial
    Aramaic, for both their language and their
    epistolary style are appropriate to the period."
  • ". . . The majority of the letters normally have
    the following schema (1) the praescriptio, (2)
    the initial greeting, either religious or
    secular, (3) secondary greetings, (4) the body of
    the letter, and (5) a concluding statement." See
    Fitzmyer, "Aramaic Epistolography," in A
    Wandering Aramean, 183-204

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 2. Official Aramaic (700-200 BCE)
  • ". . . to Official Aramaic certainly belongs the
    Aramaic of Ezra, and undoubtedly also the Aramaic
    of Daniel." Fitzmyer

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 3. Middle Aramaic (200 BCE 200 CE)
  • "In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Greek
    replaced Aramaic as the administrative language
    of the Near East, while in the various
    Aramaic-speaking regions the dialects began to
    develop independently of one another. Written
    Aramaic, however, as is the case with most
    written languages, by providing a somewhat
    artificial, cross-dialectal uniformity, continued
    to serve as a vehicle of communication within and
    among the various groups. For this purpose, the
    literary standard developed in the previous
    period, Standard Literary Aramaic, was used, but
    lexical and grammatical differences based on the
    language(s) and dialect(s) of the local
    population are always evident." Kaufman

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 3. Middle Aramaic (200 BCE 200 CE)
  • ". . . The emergence of "real local dialects."
    This phase belong the dialects of (a) Palestine
    and Arabia Nabatean, Qumran, Murabba)at, that of
    the inscriptions on Palestinian ossuaries and
    tombstones, of the Aramaic words preserved in the
    Greek texts of Josephus and the NT, and some of
    the texts of early Palestinian rabbinic
    literature (b) Syria and Mesopotamia those of
    Palmyra, Edessa, and Hatra, and perhaps also the
    beginnings of the early Babylonian rabbinic
    literature." Fitzmyer

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 4. Late Aramaic (200 CE 700 CE)
  • "These Aramaic texts of various areas and
    dialects have further peculiarities that distance
    them even more from Official Aramaic than those
    in the Middle phase. They fall into two larger
    geographic subdivisions (a) Western the
    dialects of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, Samaritan
    Aramaic, and Christian Syro-Palestinian Aramaic
    (b) Eastern the dialects of Syriac (further
    distinguished into a western Jacobite form and
    an eastern Nestorian form), Babylonian Talmudic
    Aramaic, and Mandaic." Fitzmyer

1.2 Aramaic History
  • 4. Late Aramaic (200 CE 700 CE)
  • "What is striking in the Late phase of Aramaic is
    not only the elements that set off its various
    local dialects, but also the mounting influx of
    Greek words and constructions into almost all
    dialects of the language. Though the
    Hellenization of the eastern Mediterranean areas,
    such as Palestine and Syria, began much earlier,
    the sparse incidence of Greek words in Aramaic
    texts of the Middle phase stands in contrast to
    that of this phase." Fitzmyer

1.2 Aramaic Linguistic Overview
  • 1. Phonology
  • 22 alphabet
  • Consonant differences with Hebrew
  • z gt d
  • v gt t
  • c gt j
  • c gt q

1.2 Aramaic Linguistic Overview
  • 2. Morphology (Noun)
  • "The most notable difference between Aramaic and
    the other NW Semitic dialects is the presence of
    the suffixed definite article -a4()). Probably in
    origin the same form as the Hebrew and Phoenician
    ha-, the suffixation of this deictic element
    gives Aramaic the appearance of having three noun
    states (absolute, construct, emphatic or
    determined) rather than two (absolute and
    construct) as in Hebrew. . . . "

1.2 Aramaic Linguistic Overview
  • 2. Morphology (Noun)
  • "Note, vis-à-vis Hebrew, the final nun as opposed
    to Hebrew mem in the m. pl. abs. and likewise the
    nun in the f. pl. abs. instead of the expected
    taw. Standard Old Aramaic does seem to use the
    taw f. pl. for attributive adjectives, however .
    . . ."

1.2 Aramaic Linguistic Overview
  • 2. Morphology (Verb)
  • "The three basic conjugations (stems) are the
    basic stem (Pegtal katab/yiktub, etc.), factitive
    stem (Pagtel kattib), and causative stem (Hapgtel
    haktib). Passives are expressed by internal vowel
    modification of the active form (presumably using
    the vowel pattern u-a in the derived conjugations
    as in Hebrew Middle Aramaic has a basic passive
    stem Pegt4 l in the perfect - identical with the
    passive participle - but no evidence for such a
    form is found this early.) No certain Nipgtal is
    attested in normative Aramaic, . . . ."

1.2 Aramaic Linguistic Overview
  • 2. Morphology (Verb)
  • ". . . a separate jussive form exists, differing
    morphologically (and orthographically) from the
    imperfect in its absence of nunation in the 3 m
    pl. and 2 m pl. (and, presumably, the 2 f. s, as
    in later Aramaic) and in final weak roots, where
    the imperfect ends in -h (presumably /e4/), the
    jussive in -y (probably, simply /4/). "

1.2 Aramaic Linguistic Overview
  • 2. Morphology (Verb)
  • "The two forms are also distinct when they have
    pronominal suffixes, where (as in Hebrew) the
    imperfect inserts the so-called "energic" nun
    between the stem and the suffix, while the
    jussive does not. "

1.2 Aramaic Linguistic Overview
  • 2. Morphology (Verb)
  • "It is now clear that the so-called "imperfect
    consecutive" narrative tense was common to Old
    Syrian Aramaic and Hebrew. Its former designation
    "converted imperfect" is a misnomer. It is a
    remnant of the archaic prefixing preterite tense
    surviving from some earlier stage of the Semitic
    languages and still to be found in Old Aramaic .
    . . ."

1.2 Aramaic the NT
  • 1. "Though certain patristic writers, such as
    Eusebius, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Julius
    Africanus, were, in general, aware of Aramaisms
    in NT Greek, the history of the inquiry into the
    Aramaic substratum began only with the
    Renaissance and the Humanists' return ad fontes."
  • 2. "The recovery of earlier Aramaic from
    extrabiblical sources has been largely an
    achievement of this century and when it comes to
    Palestinian Aramaic of the first century it is
    almost a matter of discoveries of the last two
    decades. As a result, the older material that has
    been written on the problem of Aramaic and the NT
    can only be used today with great caution."

1.2 Aramaic the NT
  • 3. ". . . the diversity of books in the NT and
    the difficulty that this diversity causes for the
    inquiry. How few Aramaisms are claimed for the
    writings of Paul . . . . Most discussions of the
    Aramaic problem have been limited to the Gospels
    and Acts, but even there the problem differs,
    depending on the gospel, whether it is a Synoptic
    or John and each of them has problems that are
    not the same as the Aramaic substratum of Acts,
    if it exists at all." Fritzmyer
  • 4. ". . . so-called Semitisms and the Semitic
    background of the NT. There are obviously times
    when one can legitimately discuss maters that are
    best grouped as pertaining to the Semitic
    background of the NT . . . . But . . ., the
    discussion of the Aramaic background of

1.2 Aramaic the NT
  • the NT should be limited to Aramaic evidence,
    and to Aramaic evidence of the period
    contemporary with or slightly prior to the
    composition of the Greek New Testament writings
    themselves. The ideal period would be from the
    first century and the beginning of the second up
    until the revolt of Simon ben Kosiba (132-135)."
  • 5. ". . . in treating of the Aramaic background
    of the NT, and especially the sayings of Jesus
    within it, one has to reckon with (a) the
    well-known refractory process of underlying oral
    tradition (b) the coloring of the tradition by a
    later faith-experience of the early Christians
    (c) likely additions to the traditional
    collections of sayings, made perhaps in a spirit
    of a

1.2 Aramaic the NT
  • genuine extension of his words or an adaptive
    reinterpretation of them to new situation (d)
    words actually put on his lips by early
    Christians (e.g., in the Johannine discourses)
    and (e) the language of the given evangelist.
    When due regard is had for these legitimate
    factors, then the real discussion about the
    Aramaic substratum of the sayings of Jesus can be
    undertaken." Fritzmyer

1.2 Aramaic the NT
  • 6. ". . . the Aramaic background to the sayings
    of Jesus has often been argued on the testimony
    of Papias' statement about the First Gospel
    Matqai/oj me.n oun VEbraltdi diale,ktw ta.
    lo,gia suneta,xato, hrmh,neusen dV auvta. wj
    hn dunato.j ekastoj, "Now Matthew compiled the
    sayings in a 'Hebrew' dialect, but each person
    translated (interpreted?) them as best he could"
    (Eusebius, His eccl. e.39.16). Even granting for
    the moment that VEbrailtdi diale,ktw most likely
    means "in the Aramaic language," the collection
    of logia so written remains an unknown quantity,
    and the relation of it to the sayings of Jesus in
    our Greek First Gospel is highly debatable."

1.3 Greek
  • "Palestine stood at the crossroads of the Roman
    Empire. Merchants and soldiers, travelers and
    pilgrims from far and wide crowded into the Holy
    City (Acts 29-11). Amid their babel of tongues,
    three above all others could be detected. These
    three were those in which Pilate wrote the
    inscription fastened to the Cross Hebrew, Latin,
    and Greek (John 1920)." Metzger

1.3 Greek Introduction
  • "The Greek language has played several roles in
    connection with the Bible of Jews and Christians.
    Apart from the fact that the Greeks and their
    language are mentioned in it, there occur first
    of all some Greek loanwords in the later books of
    the Masoretic Text (MT).
  • Second, Greek is the language of one of the
    oldest versions of the OT, the Septuagint (LXX),
    which was probably antedated only by the earliest
    Aramaic Targums. It is, furthermore, the original
    language of some additional books in the LXX
    canon not

1.3 Greek Introduction
  • included in the MT canon.
  • 3. Finally, it is Greek in which the NT has come
    down to us, parts of which (Pauline letters) are
    undoubtedly to be seen as original compositions.
    As the order of these different aspects reflects
    the increasing importance of Greek with regard to
    the Jewish people, it will be appropriate to
    subdivide this article in accordance with it."

1.3 Greek Roots
  • "What is the relationship of Greek to other
    languages? By tracing certain linguistic features
    various languages (especially stable lexical
    terms e.g., parts of the body), linguists are
    able to determine how languages relate to each
    other genealogically (e.g., tres Latin, trei/j
    Greek, and tryas Sanskrit). It is often
    argued that although Sanskrit is not the mother
    of Greek and Latin, it is their older sister. All
    of these go back to a now lost Indo-European
    language." Wallace
  • "The Mother Tongue of all languages apparently
    had as many as ten children, each of whom were in
    turn parents of rather large families. One of
    these ten children was "Proto-Indo-European,"
    from which we get Greek, Latin, Romance
    languages, Germanic language, etc." Wallace

1.3 Greek History
  • 1. Pre-Homeric (up to 1000 BCE)
  • "As early as the third millennium BCE, tribes of
    Indo-European peoples wandered into Greece. The
    natural barriers there eventually created several
    dialects. That is, as they settled they were cut
    off from one another consequently, a different
    dialect emerged for each local group.
    Unfortunately, because we lack literary remains,
    we know very little from this period about Greek
    language." Wallace

1.3 Greek History
  • 2. The Age of Dialects, or the Classical Era
    (1000 BCE 330 BCE)
  • "Geography and politics (e.g., independent
    city-state) caused Greek to fracture into several
    dialects, four of which were predominant. There
    exist today few literary remains of the other
    dialects." Wallace
  • "The main dialects were Aeolic (whose extant
    remains are only poetic, e.g., Sappho), Doric
    (also with only poetic remains, most notably of
    Pindar and Theocritus). Ionic (found in Homer,
    Hesiod, Herodotus, and Hippocrates), and by fare
    the most influential, Attic." Wallace

1.3 Greek History
  • An offspring of Ionic, Attic was the dialect of
    Athens, during the "golden age" of classical
    Greek (4th-5th centuries BCE). In this golden
    age, Athens was both the political and literary
    center of Greece. "Classical Greek," though
    technically referring to all four dialects, is
    normally equated with Attic Greek, because of the
    proliferation of literary works that come from
    this dialect. . . . In it were composed the
    tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides,
    the comedies of Aristophanies, the histories of
    Thucydides and Xenophon, the orations of
    Demosthenes, and the philosophical treatises of
    Plate." Wallace

1.3 Greek History
  • 3. Koinh, Greek (330 BCE 330 CE)
  • "The Koine was born out of the conquests of
    Alexander the Great. First, his troops, which
    came from Athens as well as other Greek cities
    and regions, had to speak to one another. This
    close contact produced a melting-pot Greek that
    inevitably softened the rough edges of some
    dialects and abandoned the subtleties of others.
    Second, the conquered cities and colonies learned
    Greek as a second language. By the first century
    CE, Greek was the lingua franca of the whole
    Mediterranean region and beyond. Since the
    majority of Greek-speakers learned it as a second
    language, this further increased its loss of

1.3 Greek History
  • 3. Koinh, Greek (330 BCE 330 CE)
  • subtleties and moved it toward greater
    explicitness (e.g., the repetition of a
    preposition with a second noun where Attic Greek
    was usually comfortable with a single
    preposition)." Wallace

1.3 Greek History
  • 4. Byzantine (or Medieval) Greek (330 CE 1453
  • "Koine Greek was transformed into Byzantine Greek
    when Constantine was converted. By reversing the
    edicts of Diocletian's persecution (303-311),
    Constantine gave the language a largely religious
    hue. Ecclesiastical Greek was born." Wallace
  • "When the Empire split between East and West,
    Greek lost its Weltsprache status. Latin was used
    in the West (Rome), Greek in the East
    (Constantinople)." Wallace

1.3 Greek the Bible
  • 1. Greek loanwords in the Hebrew-Aramaic Bible.
  • 2. Greek in Egypt as the Language of the
  • "The presence of a large number of Jews in Egypt
    before the Hellenistic period is likewise an
    established fact. The prophet Jeremiah was forced
    to settle there, together with many others who
    had remained in Palestine after the Exile (Jer
    435-7). Possibly, however, the book of
    Deuteronomy, which reflects King Josiah's legal
    reform, implies that one of his predecessors
    (that is before 640 b.c.) had bought horses in

1.3 Greek the Bible
  • and paid with Israelite slaves (1716). The
    Aramaic papyri from Elephantine, too, show that a
    Jewish garrison was stationed there at the
    southernmost border of Egypt during the 5th
    century. And finally, the Letter of Aristeas
    (12-14) makes mention of many Jewish prisoners of
    war who were taken to Egypt by Ptolemy I (323-283
    b.c.)." Mussies
  • "Quite naturally, in order to communicate they
    made use of the official language of the new
    rulers rather than the vernacular Egyptian or
    Aramaic. The Elephantine papyri show that the
    Jews in Egypt in their daily life had given up
    Hebrew for Aramaic, the language of the

1.3 Greek the Bible
  • Persian government, and no doubt they continued
    to use Aramaic for some time among themselves
    after Egypt had been liberated from Persian rule.
    The fact, however, that the Hebrew OT had to be
    translated into Greek shows that after some time
    many of them no longer understood Hebrew and
    Aramaic and could not make use of Aramaic Targums
    (if they ever had them in Egypt in this early
    period). Mussies

1.3 Greek Septuagint
  • 1. "According to Aristeas, Ptolemy II motivated
    the creation of the LXX version with two
    arguments. First, he wanted the library at
    Alexandria to contain a copy of the Jewish law.
    This may reflect the historical reality of a
    specific juridical need the king may have wished
    to enable his officials to consult that law code
    to which such large minorities in Egypt and
    Palestine - which then formed part of his kingdom
    - constantly referred." Mussies
  • 2. "Second, it is expressly stated that Ptolemy
    wanted to bestow a favor through it (the LXX)
    upon the freed Jewish slaves living in Egypt, on
    the Jews in the Diaspora, and on those yet to be
    born (Aristeas 38 Jos. Ant 12.48). This makes
    sense only if it reflects a

1.3 Greek Septuagint
  • reality in which many if not most Jews outside
    of Palestine could not (or could not
    sufficiently) read and understand the Hebrew
    Torah, but spoke and were well versed in Greek.
    In fact, Aristeas at the end of his letter
    relates how the completed Greek version was read
    in Alexandria to the assembled Jews, who approved
    of it and even asked for a copy (Aristeas 308
    Jos. Ant 12.107-8)." Mussies

1.3 Koine Greek Introduction
  • 1. "Several characteristics of the koine
    distinguish it from classical Greek of the fifth
    and fourth centuries B.C. Perhaps the most
    comprehensive term describing these various
    features is the word "simplification." Shorter
    and simpler sentences supplanted the highly
    complex structure of classical syntax. Instead of
    the wealth of coordinating and subordinating
    conjunctions and particles--one of the "glories"
    of ancient Greek--a relatively few of the more
    commonplace connectives were forced to express
    all kinds of relationships. Most people, in
    conformity with the same tendency toward
    simplification, preferred direct discourse, with
    its less complicated syntax, to indirect
    discourse. Again,

1.3 Koine Greek Introduction
  • the special forms of verbs, nouns, and
    adjectives which had been employed when but two
    people or objects were referred to (the dual
    number) fell into disuse and were then forgotten.
    A similar fate was to be in store for the
    optative mood--which appears but sixty-seven
    times in the whole New Testament. In short, the
    subtle refinements of form and syntax of
    classical Greek failed to survive in the koine."

1.3 Koine Greek Introduction
  • 2. "In addition to this tendency toward
    simplification there was also a constant striving
    for emphatic and vigorous expression,
    characteristic of every vernacular. It is by this
    proneness to emphatic expression that one
    accounts for the noticeable growth in the use of
    prepositions in composition with verbs as well as
    with their objects. The increased use of pronouns
    as subjects of verbs which do not require them,
    the preference for compound and even
    double-compound (sesquipedalian) words for simple
    words, the use of the vivid present tense instead
    of the future, the large number of words in the
    diminutive formation, the replacement by
    prepositional phrases of constructions originally
    involving merely the proper case--all of these are

1.3 Koine Greek Introduction
  • indications of striving after emphasis at the
    expense of precise and refined expression."

1.3 Koine Greek Terminology
  • "Koinh, is the feminine adjective of koino,j
    ("common"). The feminine is used because its
    (implicitly) modifies dia,lektoj, a (second
    declension) feminine noun. Synonyms of Koine are
    "common" Greek, or, more frequently, Hellenistic
    Greek (which normally implies that Greek is a
    second language i.e., the speakers have become
    Hellenized cf. Acts 6.1)." Wallace
  • "Both New Testament Greek and Septuagintal Greek
    are considered substrata of the Koine. (The LXX,
    however, is so heavily Semitized precisely
    because it is entirely translated Greek that it
    is normally treated as in a class by itself.)"

1.3 Koine Greek History Facts
  • 1. "The golden age of Greek literature
    effectively died with Aristotle (322 BCE)."
  • 2. "The Koine was born with Alexander the Great's
  • 3. "Hellenistic Greek began with Alexander's
    troops who came from all the regions of Greece.
    The troops, then, produced a leveling influence."
  • 4. "It developed further as a second language of
    conquered peoples, when new Greek colonies sprang
    up due to Alexander's victories. The conquests,
    then, gave Greek its universal nature."

1.3 Koine Greek History Facts
  • 5. "Koine Greek grew largely from Attic Greek, as
    this was Alexander's dialect, but was also
    influenced by the other dialects of Alexander's
    soldiers. "Hellenistic Greek is a compromise
    between the rights of the stronger minority
    (i.e., Attic) and the weaker majority (other
  • 6. "This new dialect, however, should not be
    perceived to be inferior to Attic. It was not a
    contamination of the pure gold of classical
    Greek, but a more serviceable alloy for the
  • 7. "It became the lingua franca of the whole
    Roman Empire by the first century CE."

1.3 Koine Greek History Facts
  • 8. "When is Koine Koine? Though Koine Greek had
    its birth in c. 330 BCE, this was its physical
    birth, not its linguistic. One should not suppose
    that all of a sudden, with the conclusion of
    Alexander's final battle, everyone began speaking
    Koine Greek! Just as a newborn baby does not
    immediately speak, it took some time before Koine
    really took shape." Wallace

1.3 Scope of Koinh, Greek
  • 1. Time
  • "Roughly, 330 BCE to 330 CE. Or, from Alexander's
    conquests to the removal of Roman Empire's
    capital from Rome to Constantinople. With the
    death of Aristotle in 322 BCE, classical Greek as
    a living language was phasing out. Koine was at
    its peak in the first century BCE and first
    century CE." Wallace

1.3 Scope of Koinh, Greek
  • 2. Time
  • "For the first time, Greek was universalized. As
    colonies were established well past Alexander's
    day, and as the Greeks continued to rule, the
    Greek language kept on thriving in foreign lands.
    Even after Rome became the world power in the
    first century BCE, Greek continued to penetrate
    distant lands. (This was due largely to Rome's
    policy of assimilation of cultures already in
    place, rather than destruction and replacement.)
    Consequently, even when Rome was in absolute
    control, Latin was not the lingua franca. Greek
    continued to be a universal language until the
    end of the first century." Wallace

1.3 Types of Koinh, Greek
  • 1. Vernacular or Vulgar (e.g., papyri, ostraca)
  • "This is the language of the streets-colloquial,
    popular speech. It is found principally in the
    papyri excavated from Egypt, truly the lingua
    franca of the day." Wallace
  • 2. Literary (e.g., Polybius, Josephus, Philo,
    Diodorus, Strabo, Epictetus, Plutarch)
  • ""A more polished Koine, this is the language of
    scholars and litterateurs, of academics and
    historians. The difference between literary Koine
    and vulgar Koine is the difference between
    English spoken on the streets and English spoken
    in places of higher education." Wallace

1.3 Types of Koinh, Greek
  • 3. Conversational (New Testament, some papyri)
  • "Conversational Koine is typically the spoken
    language of educated people. It is grammatically
    correct for the most part, but not on the same
    literary level (lacks subtleties, is more
    explicit, shorter sentences, more parataxis) as
    literary Koine. By its very nature, one would not
    expect to find many parallels to this either in
    the papyri (usually the language of uneducated
    people) or among literary authors (for their
    language is a written language)." Wallace

1.3 Types of Koinh, Greek
  • 4. Atticistic (e.g.,Lucian, Dionysius of
    Halicarnasus, Dio Chrysostom, Aristides,
    Phrynichus, Moeris)
  • ""This is an artificial language revived by
    litterateurs who did not care for what had become
    of the language . . . ." Wallace

1.3 Summary of NT Koinh,
  • "

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • 1. Latin
  • "The evidence of Latin in first-century Palestine
    indicates that it was used mainly by the Romans
    who occupied the land and for more or less
    official purposes. Thus there are dedicatory
    inscriptions on buildings and aqueducts, funerary
    inscriptions on tombstones of Roman legionnaires
    who died in Palestine, milestones on Roman roads
    with Latin inscriptions, and the ubiquitous Roman
    terra-cotta tiles stamped with various
    abbreviations of the Tenth Legion . . . ."

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • 2. Greek
  • ". . . it is not possible to document the use of
    Greek in Palestine prior to Alexander or to
    indicate what influence it might have had then.
    The earliest Greek text found there is apparently
    the bilingual Edomite-Greek ostracon dated in the
    sixth year of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (227 BC) .
    . . at Khirbet el-Kom. . . . Prior to this
    discovery the earliest known inscription was that
    erected by Anaxikles, a priest of the royal cult
    of Ptolemy IV Philopator, who was installed a
    Joppa shortly after the Egyptian victory over
    Antiochus III at Raphia in 217 B.C. it gives
    clear evidence of the use of the language by
    foreigners, but says little about the use of it
    by the indigenous population." Fitzmyer

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • "When the Hellenization of Palestine under
    Antiochus IV Epiphanes began, his efforts were
    aided by the Jews themselves, as both 1 Maccabees
    and Josephus make clear. There seems to be little
    doubt that the use of Greek language was part of
    this assistance. . . .
  • "Though the names of a host of Hellenistic Jewish
    litterateurs who wrote in Greek are known, and
    some fragments of their writings are preserved in
    patristic authors such as Clement of Alexandria,
    or Eusebius of Caesarea, most important of these
    are Justus of Tiberias and Flavius Josephus, both
    of whom wrote mainly historical works. . . ."

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • Josephus, at the end of Antiquities "My
    compatriots admit that in our Jewish learning I
    far excel them. But I labored hard to steep my
    self in Greek prose and poetic learning, after
    having gained a knowledge of Greek grammar but
    the constant use of my tongue hindered my
    achieving precision in pronunciation. For our
    people do not welcome those who have mastered the
    speech of many nations or adorn their style with
    smoothness of diction, because they consider that
    such skill is not only common to ordinary freeman
    but that even slaves acquire it, if they so
    choose. Rather, they give credit for wisdom to
    those who acquire an exact knowledge of the Law
    and can interpret

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • the Holy Scriptures. Consequently, though many
    have laboriously undertaken this study, scarcely
    two or three have succeeded (in it) and reaped
    the fruit of their labors."
  • "Several famous Greek inscriptions are extant
    from this period. There is the Greek inscription
    forbidding non-Jews to enter the inner courts of
    the Jerusalem temple, the Jerusalem synagogue
    inscription which commemorates it building by
    Theodotos Vettenos, a priest and leader of the
    synagogue, the hymn inscribed in the necropolis
    of Marisa, the edict of Augustus (or some
    first-century Roman emperor) found at Nazareth

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • concerning the violation of tombs, the Capernaum
    dedicatory inscription, and the numberless
    ossuary inscriptions, some written in Greek
    alone, others in Greek and Hebrew (or Aramaic)
    from the vicinity of Jerusalem.
  • "From the Murabba(at caves have come examples of
    grain transactions (Mur 89-107). IOU's (Mur 114),
    contracts of marriage and remarriage among Jews
    (Mur 115-16), fragments of philosophical and
    literary texts (Mur 108-12), even texts written
    in a Greek shorthand (Mur 164). The letters from
    a cave in the Wadi Habra indicate that Greek was
    also used in a less official kind of writing.
    From the period just before the

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • Second Revolt there is a batch of letters which
    are communications between Bar Cochba and his
    lieutenants, and surprisingly enough written in
  • "Soumaios to Jonathe, (son of) Baianos, and
    Masabbala, greetings! Since I have sent to
    you Agrippa, make haste to send me beams
    and citrons. And furnish them for the
    Citron-celebration of the Jews and do not do
    otherwise. Now (this) has been written in Greek
    because a desire has not been found to
    write in Hebrew. Despatch him quickly for
    the feast, and do not do otherwise. Soumaios.

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • Acts 6.1 Problem
  • ". . . Jesus' use of Greek. This question has
    been raised from time to time for a variety of
    reasons, and obviously little can be asserted
    about it. "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt 4.15)
    has often been said to have been an area of
    Palestine where the population was more bilingual
    than in the south, e.g., at Jerusalem. Hence it
    is argued Coming from an area such as this,
    Jesus would have shared this double linguistic
    heritage. While it must be admitted that there
    were undoubtedly areas where less Greek was used
    than others, nevertheless the widespread
    attestation of Greek material in Palestine would
    indicate that "Galilee

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • of the Gentiles" did not have a monopoly on it.
    The general evidence that we have been
    considering would suggest the likelihood that
    Jesus did speak Greek." Fritzmyer
  • "However, what evidence there is that he used
    Greek yields at most a probability if it be used
    to insist that we might even have in the Gospels
    some of the ipsissima verba Iesu graeca, actually
    uttered by him as he addressed his bilingual
    Galilean compatriots, then the evidence is being
    pressed beyond legitimate bounds."

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • 3. Aramaic
  • "If asked what was the language commonly spoken
    in Palestine in the time of Jesus of Nazareth,
    most people with some acquaintance of that era
    and area would almost spontaneously answer
    Aramaic. To my way of thinking, this is still the
    correct answer for the most commonly used
    language, but the defense of this thesis must
    reckon with the growing mass of evidence that
    both Greek and Hebrew were being used as well. I
    would, however, hesitate to say with M. Smith
    that "at least as much Greek as Aramaic was
    spoken in Palestine." In any case, the evidence
    for the use of Aramaic has also been growing in
    recent years."

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • Before 1947
  • The first of the rabbinical writings, Me6gillat
    Ta(a6nt, dating from the first Christian
  • Numberless ossuary and sepulchral inscriptions.
  • "The most important to the extended texts are the
    Uzziah plaque, commemorating the first-century
    transfer of the alleged bones of the famous
    eighth-century king of Judah, an ossuary lid with
    a qorban inscription that illustrates the use of
    this Aramaic word in Mark 7.11 . . . ."
  • Syntax of the NT

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • "Since the discovery of the Qumran material it is
    now evident that literature was indeed being
    composed in Aramaic in the last century B.C. and
    in the first century A.D. The number of extant
    Aramaic texts of literary nature is not small,
    even though fragments of them found in the
    various Qumran caves may be. Only a few of these
    texts have been published so far the Genesis
    Apocryphon, the Prayer of Nabonidus, the
    Description of the New Jerusalem, the Elect of
    God text parts of such texts as the Testament of
    Levi, Enoch, Pseudo-Daniel, a Targum of Job, and
    a number of untitled text to which a number has
    merely been assigned. Reports have been made on
    still other Aramaic texts from Caves IV and XI,

1.4 Multilingualism in 1st A.D.
  • such as several copies of Tobit, of the targums
    of Job and Leviticus, of a text mentioning "the
    Son of God" and "the Son of the Most High" in
    phrases remarkably close to Luke 1.32, 35. All of
    this points to an extensive Aramaic literary
    activity and an Aramaic literature, at least used
    by Essenes, if not composed by them."
  • ". . . an Aramaic IOU, dated in the second year
    of Nero (i.e., 55-56), came to light in one of
    the Murrabba(at caves, and a letter on an
    ostracon from Masada. And from a slightly later
    period comes a batch of legal documents, composed
    in Aramaic as well as
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