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Aramaic language
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Aramaic language

Aramaic is a language spoken in the Levant and Mesopotamia from perhaps 700 BC until the present day. It is a member of the Semitic languages group.

Today Aramaic is spoken among about 500,000 native speakers[1] (with varying degrees of fluency) in scattered communities across the Fertile Crescent. There are 15,000 speakers in three Syrian villages in the Qalamoun Mountains north of Damascus (Ma'aloula, Bakh`a, Jubb`adin), but most speakers live in the area often termed Kurdistan in English, from Lake Urmia to Hakkari - and even in the USA by Assyrian (also known as Chaldo-Assyrians, Syriacs, Maronites) immigrants from this area. A few live in Mesopotamia proper (called in Aramaic Bethnahrin).

Aramaic is used in many Jewish holy texts. Some of the later parts of the Hebrew Bible, most of the Gemara section of the Talmud, and the Zohar are written in Aramaic.

Aramaic is divided into two groups: Western and Eastern.

Example: Matthew 27:46 - ηλι ηλι λαμα σαβαχθανι (/eli eli lama sabachthani/, later Aramaic "E-lee e-lee l-maa saa-baach-taa-nee?")
(The famous last words of Jesus in his native tongue, Aramaic. The above translation is standard, but disputed by people like Aramaic scholars Rocco Errico and the late George Lamsa, who claim that the word "lama" is a mistake in transcription, that the actual word is "lamana," giving: an alternate translation: "My God, My God, for such a purpose have you kept me!" (Errico notes that the difference between the two statements is substantial, and casts a very different light on the last words of Jesus.)

A few religious groups such as the monks of Mar Sarkis and some isolated followers of the Assyrian Church still use languages of this group for liturgical purposes. Rev. William Fulco reconstructed the Aramaic of Jesus for the film script of The Passion of the Christ (2004).

Many linguists are currently working on modern spoken Aramaic, such as Geoffrey Khan, Yona Sabar, and Otto Jastrow. A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles is currently working on a dictionary of modern spoken Aramaic.

See also Aramaic alphabet.

Table of contents
1 Biblical Connections
2 See also
3 External links

Biblical Connections

Aramaic was the language of the area once known as Aram-Naharaim or Aram of the two rivers from whence derives the Biblical tradition that the Aramaeans were descendants of two Nahors, (Abram's grandfather and Abram's brother Nahor1>Terah>Nahor2>Kemuel>Aram->Aramaeans). They are regarded by Hebrews as one of their closest relative nations and with them share the title "Children of Eber" from Genesis 10:21. In Deuteronomy 26:5 Jews are taught to remember that Jacob was practically Aramaean with a grandmother, mother and wives from Naharaim. They are descendants of Shem, from whom the Aramaic word She-maa-yaa (Semitic) is derived, but Aram of the two Nahors, though a descendant of Shem, is not to be confused with Aram the son of Shem.

See also

External links