Its source may be an Aramaic or a Hebrew document.
That culture was naturally Aramaic.
The new Arab invaders who soon pressed forward into their seats found the remnants of the Nabataeans transformed into fellahin, and speaking Aramaic like their neighbours.
The legends are in Aramaic characters and Persian (Pahlavi) language; among them occur Artaxerxes, Darius (from a dynast of this name the town Darabjird, "town of Darius," in eastern Persia seems to derive its name), Narses, Tiridates, Manocihr and others; the name Vahuburz seems to be identical with Oborzos, mentioned by Polyaenus vii.
In catalogues and bibliographies, however, the expression is now generally used, conveniently if incorrectly, as synonymous with Jewish literature, including all works written by Jews in Hebrew characters, whether the language be Aramaic, Arabic or even some vernacular not related to Hebrew.
As Hebrew became less familiar to the people, a system of translating the text of the Law into the Aramaic vernacular verse by verse, was adopted in the synagogue.
Aramaic targem, to translate.
The language of both gemaras is in the main the Aramaic vernacular (western Aramaic in Yerushalmi, eastern in Babhli), but early halakhic traditions (e.g.
Cowley, Aramaic Papyri Discovered at Assuan (1906), and those cited above (p. 282, n.
He edited the Aramaic translation (known as the Targum) of the Prophets according to the Codex Reuchlinianus preserved at Carlsruhe, Prophetae chaldaice (1872), the Hagiographa chaldaice (1874), an Arabic translation of the Gospels, Die vier Evangelien, arabisch aus der Wiener Handschrift herausgegeben (1864), a Syriac translation of the Old Testament Apocrypha, Libri V.
Syriac is the eastern dialect of the Aramaic language which, during the early centuries of the Christian era, prevailed in Mesopotamia and the adjoining regions.
The form q`tal illustrates one main peculiarity of Aramaic, as opposed to the other Semitic languages, viz.
Its paucity of vowels: for where Hebrew has two full vowels - a long and a short - in gatal, and Arabic has three short vowels in qatala, Aramaic has only one short vowel, the sound `` between q and t being merely a half vowel which is not indicated in Syriac writing.
Another chief characteristic of Aramaic appears in nouns, viz.
Hence the head of the Babylonian Jews was the exilarch (in Aramaic Resh Galutha) .
1 They speak the languages of the localities in which they are settled (Arabic or Persian), but the language of their sacred books is an Aramaic dialect, which has its closest affinities with that of the Babylonian Talmud, written in a peculiar character suggestive of the old Palmyrene.
The Arabian tribes began to take possession of the partly cultivated lands east of Canaan, became masters of the Eastern trade, gradually acquired settled habits, and learned to speak and write in Aramaic, the language which was most widely current throughout the region west of the Euphrates in the time of the Persian Empire (6th-4th century B.C.).
The series of native inscriptions, written in Aramaic, begins a few years after; the earliest bears the date 304 of the Seleucid era, i.e.
Its characteristic civilization grew out of a mixture of various elements, Arabic, Aramaic, Greek and Roman.
The proper names and the names of deities, while partly Aramaic, are also in part unmistakably Arabic: it is suggestive that a purely Arabic term (fand, NSI.
The language spoken at Palmyra was a dialect of western Aramaic, and belongs to the same group as Nabataean and the Aramaic spoken in Egypt.
In some important points, however, the dialect was related to the eastern Aramaic or Syrian (e.g.
But the relation to western Aramaic is closer; specially characteristic are the following features: the imperf.
The technical terms of municipal government are mostly Greek, transliterated into Palmyrene; a few Latin words occur, of course in Aramaic forms. For further characteristics of the dialect see Nuldeke, ZDMG.
The writing is a modified form of the old Aramaic character, and especially interesting because it represents almost the last stage through which the ancient alphabet passed before it developed into the Hebrew square character.
Its form in inscriptions of Melos, Selinus, Syracuse and elsewhere in the 6th and 5th centuries suggests the influence of Aramaic forms in which the head of the letter is opened,9.
The language throughout southern and middle Syria as high as Killis is Arabic, which has entirely ousted Aramaic and Hebrew from common use, and tends to prevail even over the speech of recent immigrants like the Circassians.
The last survivals of Aramaic are to be sought in certain remote villages of Anti-Lebanon, and in the Syriac known to the clergy.
The numerous Aramaisms point to a time certainly not earlier than the 4th century B.C., and probably (though the history of the penetration of Aramaic into Hebrew speech is not definitely known) not earlier than the 3rd century.
Not only are new words employed, and old words in new significations, but the grammatical structure has a modern stamp - some phrases have the appearance of having been translated out of Aramaic into Hebrew.
By about the beginning of our era the Jews had given up Hebrew and wrote in Aramaic; the process of expulsion had been going on, doubtless, for some time; but comparison with the later extant literature (Chronicles, the Hebrew Ecclesiasticus or Ben-Sira, Esther) makes it improbable that such Hebrew as that of Koheleth would have been written earlier than the 2nd century B.C. (for details see Driver's Introduction).
This hypothesis is not intrinsically improbable - and in Aramaic, a language closely related to Hebrew, " to be " actually is hawa - but it should be noted that in adopting it we admit that, using the name Hebrew in the historical sense, Yahweh is not a Hebrew name.
3 The form Yahu, or Yaho, occurs not only in composition, but by itself; see Aramaic Papyri discovered at Assuan, B 4, 6, I I; E 24; J 6.
Hence it still seems best to assume some unknown Aramaic form equivalent to 7rapaicX y as, and then to take the latter in the sense of comfort or encouragement.
Under the second Assyrian empire, when Nineveh had become a great centre of trade, Aramaic - the language of commerce and diplomacy - was added to the number of subjects which the educated class was required to learn.
Aramaic endorsements on business documents repeating in Aramaic transliteration the names of parties mentioned in the texts have also been of service in fixing the phonetic readings of names.
Eastward rose the mountains of Elam, southward were the sea-marshes and the Kalda or Chaldaeans and other Aramaic tribes, while on the west the civilization of Babylonia encroached beyond the banks of the Euphrates, upon the territory of the Semitic nomads (or Suti).
The marshes in the south like the adjoining desert were frequented by Aramaic tribes; of these the most famous were the Kalda or Chaldaeans who under Merodach-baladan made themselves masters of Babylon and gave their name in later days to the whole population of the country.
3 By Syriac is denoted the dialect of Aramaic which, during the early centuries of the Christian era, prevailed in Mesopotamia and the adjoining regions.
In Palestine and western Syria, the home of pre-Christian Aramaic dialects, the vernacular Semitic speech had under Roman dominion been replaced by Greek for official and literary purposes.
It is now known to have existed in Aramaic as far back as the 5th century B.C., appearing on Jewish papyri which were lately discovered by the German mission to Elephantine.'
The old Syriac version, which is to be found in a number of MSS., was probably made from an early Aramaic version, if not from the original itself (which must surely have been Semitic).