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The Age of the Peshitta
You don't have one single fact to support your theory. You write false information and misguide innocent people. You also try to justify your errors on the top of huge amount of mistakes you made.

You wrote: First, Josephus is boasting. He's patting himself on the back. His work, he claims, is indispensable (which is useful in his position, given his sponsor). He says that those of his nation say that he's smarter than they are. What a rude thing to say.

You go on to say that so called Jewish synagogues with Greek inscriptions, etc as evidences.

There are huge errors with your points - Josephus himself admits that I has so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness.

That does not sound like a man who is boasting. If he was boasting, then he would have said I know Greek very well.

Josephus was a Jewish Priest (Jewish Wars Book 1 Preface). So he certainly would have known far more than many jews about Jewish History.

His honesty made him known as "Flavius Josephus" (the family name of Vespasian). He predicted that Vespasian will become Roman Emperor. His prophecy on Vespasian becoming Roman Emperor (Jewish Wars 3.8 ) is also well recorded by Suetonius (The Twelve Caesars, Vespasian 5).

Honesty of Josephus in recording history of Jewish Wars can also be seen through Tacitus' Histories (Book 5), Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (Book 3), and Jewish History Document Sepher Yosippon (Chapter 87) about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Second, the testimony of Josephus goes faithful to New Testament.

In Acts 1:19, Field of Blood was known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem in their own tongue as Akeldama (transliteration of Aramaic words "Khqel Dama").

There is no indication of not even a single person speaking Greek in Jerusalem. If Jews spoke Greek, then Apostle Paul wouldn't have to write in Aramaic to Jews who lived outside of Israel.

Some Jews started learning Greek only after 106 AD when Nabatean Kingdom ended. Some Jews had to learn Greek when Roman Emperor Trajan took over Provincia Arabia after the Nabatean Kingdom ended in 106 AD.

During the time of Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135 AD), Some Jews spoke Greek very well. Out of 15 Bar Kokhba letters Archaeologist Yigael Yadin found at Nahal Hever, 9 of them are in Aramaic, 4 in Hebrew, and 2 in Greek.

You make errors and you have the nerve to question a honest man like Josephus by saying that he was boasting and he was exaggerating. This reveals your deceptive mind so that you can move forward with your plans.
konway87 Wrote:There is no indication of not even a single person speaking Greek in Jerusalem.

Erm... You completely discount every extant Greek inscription from first century Jerusalem?

That's something I would not have anticipated, especially since the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae has at least 38 examples of Jewish inscriptions in Greek from the exact period from Jerusalem proper alone in which you say there is nothing (let alone the huge corpus of non-Jewish inscriptions from that period). Those numbers don't include all of the synagogue inscriptions either.

I would like to give you a genuine opportunity to revise your statement as it's categorically and demonstrably incorrect.

And if you won't... I'm not sure I can continue debating with you. Everyone who is reading along will understand why. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
Quote:One cannot ignore -- from the proper place and time period -- half of all Jewish ossuaries, half of all Synagogue inscriptions, and one of the most well-known translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek by Jews for Jews in order to cling to the boasts of a single, privileged author to his readers who was not representative of the average Jew.

Brother, Steve. I like to see things for myself, so, if you could point me to the sources to back up these statements, I would be happy to take a look at them. Also, wasn't the Septuagint made to be placed in the Library at Alexandria? I hadn't heard that it was made to be used in the Synagogues, or the homes of those Jews living in Israel. Maybe so? Any proof?

konway87 Wrote:With the testimony of Aramaic Peshitta and Josephus, it is well confirmed that Aramaic was the spoken language of first century Israel and also for Jews who lived outside of Israel. Not Greek.

Josephus first wrote Jewish Wars in Aramaic and translated into Greek. If Greek was spoken in first century Israel, then Josephus wouldn't have written Jewish Wars in Aramaic.

Brother I agree with you, but how must we understand the witness of Acts 6:1?
Nuff said, Konway. Please heed the words of Shamasha Paul as well as mine. I know that you are passionate about the Word of Alaha. I pray that nothing will dampen your resolve in pushing forward in the ways of understanding the Aramaic language.

My apology to you, Steve Caruso, for having to put up with such unkind words. Anyone that forgets to show civility will be reprimanded if they continue to insult another member.

Let's all try to understand that a little sarcasm shouldent be anything more than "tongue in cheek" between friends. However, cutting criticism is not the kind of verbage that we want to see here, since we are all in a learning mode to a greater or lesser extent. Constructive, thoughtful and insightful observations and comments are always welcome on this forum.

BTW Steve, kudos to you and your family. Be well and be blessed.

I trust that all on this forum will heed Paul's words and mine, and we will all be able to chuckle at ourselves and enjoy this forum debate and be blessed as we continue..... <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/poketoungeb.gif" alt="Tongue" title="Poke Tounge" /><!-- sTongue -->

Stephen Silver
Thank you Akhay for all your contributions and please edit anything you re-read and regret articulating in a certain way.

Today we are celebrating thanksgiving in America, and although it is rooted in a secular tradition, let us all give thanks to God for each other.

Akhi Stephen - thanks for stepping in and willing to be a moderator.

Akhi Steve - next time I'm at Montrose cemetery in Chicago, I'll take a photo of all three of my grandparents' gravestones and post them here. They are bilingual in both Estrangelo Aramaic script and in English.

I can assure you, that of the three grandparents who lived here for an average of twenty years, they knew maybe 20 English words they absolutely had to learn to get by. I mean like "hello", "yes", "no", etc. The level of English they knew was about the amount a 2-year old would need.

However they were trilingual in Aramaic, Arabic and Kurdish. One even was fluent also in Turkish.

Inscriptions on gravestones are for the benefit of later generations, not the deceased.

Outside every parish in Chicago is inscribed the name of the church in English characters, and also the street number of the address in Arabic numerals. We even purchased a building from former Presbyterians who had beautiful stained glass mosaics already installed in the windows, with English of course as the language in the stained glass. But inside the church, Aramaic stands as King.

Back in the homeland, gravestones might be bi lingual in Aramaic and either Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish or Persian, depending on the country. But very few of those people were proficient in those other languages. The gravestones may carry the marking of the language of the rulers of the area, for obvious reasons. But it may not represent the language of the person lying in the grave.

Gravesite and religious building inscriptions are certainly found in Greek in first century Israel and many other locations as well. But that is a poor indicator of the status of Greek as the common language of any area.

I would certainly put more weight into the first-person account of a historian of the stature that Josephus had, instead of brushing it off as a mere exaggeration. I personally think that is of much greater value in this debate, than conclusions drawn largely out of conjecture surrounding the significance of graveyard inscriptions or mosaics in synagogues.

+Shamasha Paul
Distazo stated:

"Brother I agree with you, but how must we understand the witness of Acts 6:1?"

Acts 6: (RSV):

[1] Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.
[2] And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
[3] Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty.
[4] But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
[5] And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Proch'orus, and Nica'nor, and Ti'mon, and Par'menas, and Nicola'us, a proselyte of Antioch.

1. What is being said of the "Hellenists" in verse 1? They are against the Hebrews because their WIDOWS are being neglected. In short, something has caused a lot of deaths and the deaths are laid at the feet of the "Hebrews". Also, there is that phrase "Now in those days...". This is looking back to some event or events. What event?

2. Look at verse 5. Is there a way to identify who was a "proselyte of Antioch"? Was there a person who championed Antioch or who was hailed by Antioch? There was. Who?

3. Thirdwoe and I got into it a little a while back and I regret that. All of us here have texts that we approve and disapprove. I know who was the Acolyte of Antioch but my interpretation may not find any traction with anyone else.

Mebbe we ought to back off the invective a bit.

4. Josephus may or may not be reliable. He certainly hides a lot. He calls the Romans the "Superior Lords" at one point and that wouldn't be a part of a "Jewish Priest". He won't even tell who it is who performs Sacrifices in the Temple. All we have are versions that we can weigh and use as propositions for use in a logical scaffolding.

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

There's a lot of that in Josephus.

So happy Thanksgiving !

Quote:Those two you listed aren't anything that differentiate the "Old" Syriac from the "Classical" Syriac. You find one inscription from 6AD that was from another city, at another time, that has a slight variation on how the 3rd-person imperfect is formed, and you've created a mountain from a mole hill.

We have more than one inscription in old Syriac (more than ten) and if we make a difference between two states of "tongue", it's because there is some differences... If a modern Aramaic-speaker can easily understand both old and classical Syriac, it's because the lexica didn't really change for 4 Centuries. There are maybe more greek and persian loan-word s than actually in the Peshitta, but it's not really important. And as I said, Israeli ( who speak 19c articicial language) can easily understand the Bible written more than 2'000 years ago (and their tongues are (very) differents)...

I 'll let the dialectal "problems" to Steve. I don't speak at all of whether Syriac call be called Aramaic or something.

The question is : is the Peshitta written in old (oS) or in classical Syriac (cS)?

Quote:He's referring to the Shin/Sin distinction. In Classical Syriac, Sin is written with Semkath. In Old Syriac it's written with Shin (same with most early Jewish dialects; and -- as it's my focus -- Galilean does this, too, and there's strong evidence it was preserved in speech).

Yes. I talk about the difference between oS and cS.

The first I have give, was the morphology change of the preformative y- into n- which have occured in the beginning of the 2nd century AD. It's not an argument "a silentio" because there was the y- preformativ instead of the n- one.

The second one I've given was the phonemic change of the - s' - sound into the s sound (as Steve say). In old syriac several words written with a shin, will be written with a semkath in classical syriac. The reason was the existence of a 2nd fricative (other than our well-known "s" sound") written by means of "shin". Classical syriac doesn't know the phoneme anymore.

For Konway here an example : in old Syriac ten was written ($r[yn] with a shin, in classical syriac it is written (sr with a semkath. That phenomena happened in galilean, judean etc too. The lost of the s' sound was a world wide event ^^

The third difference is orthography. Old syriac was written how it was pronunced. That means : assimilated -n were not written, the short "o" or "u" was often not written in closed syllables. And we find some deffectives spellings as "b-t" instead of "b-y-t" The classical syriac instead, writes the letters unpronunced. And even if the linea occultans appears in latter manuscript it represents the coloquial pronunciation : wife is written )nt) while the "n" have been in early time assimilated, and wasn't still pronunced.

You can guess which is the tongue (cS or oS) of the Peshitta...
If I'm not mistaken, the Assyrian Aramaic in the Peshitta uses shin for shin, not simkath for shin.
Akhi memradya,

The s sound was never lost. It's always been present in the letter semkath. There's no reason to have the shin letter serve double duty, and represent both s and sh when there's a perfectly capable semkath to represent the s sound.

That's why the shift ultimately occurred in all the Semitic languages.

If what you say is true - I would expect to find the old convention in the so called "Old Syriac" version of the nt. But we don't. Ten is still asryn, not ashryn.

Also, post all of those ten inscriptions and I'll translate them into both Peshitta Aramaic and into English. So we can see how much of a difference this supposedly is.

Akhi memradya,

Here's a funerary inscription from Edessa from about 190AD.

Please tell me how someone from 5th century Edessa would not understand this?

[Image: abgar%20mosaic.jpg]

This is identical to the language of the Peshitta - zero change.

)n) br smy) br )shdw
(bdt ly byt )lm) hn)
ly wlbny wl)xy
)l xyy )bgr mry w(bd +bty

I, Bar Simya, son of Ashadu,
made for myself this everlasting house
for myself, and my children, and my brothers
For the life of Abgar, my lord and benefactor.

I've wondered how it is possible why language changes or just not.

I know Armenian people who fled from Armenia, say 15 years ago. Their language was quite different from Armenians who fled during the turkish genocide in about 1917.

There are some Dutch inscriptions, or even the first 'Dutch' Middle-Age inscription, is from England, from a Dutch monk. His Dutch is not understandable to us now.

Why is language more or less static (having stasis) or not? Well, it must be common books who do it. If there is NO writing or no literary culture, language changes very quickly.

But if there is a Tanakh, or other holy book, and that book is used and read by many, language tends to stay the same, right?

When the Dutch Bible translation was made, in the 17th century, the Dutch language more or less changed -hardly- since then. Yes, some words have changed, but any child can with some extra help, understand it.

So, is it possible Aramaic changed so little, because literacy among them was high, and they had holy books and songs?

The same can be said about Hebrew. All over the world, the Hebrew Tanakh is the same and thus, ALL (religious) JEWS share the same grammar and syntax.
Shlama Akhi Distazo,

Yes, being a highly literate society plays a significant role in slowing down the progression of linguistic shift.

Other factors are just as important.

Isolation from invading cultures tends to preserve a language as well. For example, the dialects of remote mountain clans in modern day Turkey are closer to the classical tongue, than those of the areas in Iraq which were dominated by Arabic, and those from Iran which were dominated by Persian. This is because of the isolation and extreme conditions in the mountains. They were very independent.

Persecution also plays a role. When an ethnic and religious minority is persecuted for those reasons, that tends to be a motivating factor to rally them in preserving their language, especially if that language differentiates them from their persecutors.

Also, nationalism is very important. When the speakers of a language identify with each other as a cultural and ethnic group, they tend to preserve their language more carefully because they consider it a binding factor in their identity.

Finally, the mindset of a culture plays a role as well. Middle eastern peoples are known for being very resistant to change of any kind, as I'm sure you are aware.

All languages evolve over time, when they stop evolving they are dead languages suited only for museums. It's not that Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic haven't changed over time. It's that they've changed less over time than other languages. They tend to preserve themselves more carefully, so that the Aramaic changes in 2000 years are equivalent to the English changes in 400 years.

Aramaic is too beautiful of a language to allow it to be lost to persecution and the death of its speakers. More schools should teach Aramaic, but not enough people study it. I am glad that interest in Jesus's language is increasing. The Passion of the Christ definitely effected study of the life of Christ more than Amy other film has, especially in studying Aramaic.
Shlama Paul

How someone from 5th century Edessa would not understand this?
I can easily understand what is written ^^

But in the matter of burial, the inscription doesn't really change. The words and the content are the same. I saw that with the inscriptions founded in Palestina , in galilean and judean, there is 3 ways to write the epitaph and it's all. It is different from the Peshitta which talks about the whole life of someone.

The incription of Serrin 73 A.D.

byrx t$ry qdm $nt 385
bnyt )n) m(nw q$y$)
bdr dnxy br m(nw br brh d$rdwnx)
np$) hd) lnp$y wlbny br $nyn 90
mn dy$bx ybrkwnh )lh) klhwn w(mnw
wxy) yhwh lh mn dyt) whn) (bd) yxbl
whlyn Tm) [....] wkpr) l) yhwh
lh wbny) dyrmwn (pr) (l (ynwhy l)
y$tkxwn lh [...

And i have another one : Inscription of Pognon (2nd Century ?) a pagan inscriptions [and unfortunaly I have only a transcription, I'm not sure of its value]

hlyn clm) d(bd
w)l br mwtrw [.... ])
(bd lw)l $lyT) d(rb
br w)l wlw)l brh
nwhdr) d$wr/d mrwhy
w(bdy Tbth
[$ll) ] br
$yl) glp

We see that the lexica didn't really change.

So I don't think that a the guy who lives even in the first Century BC, couldn't understnd what the Peshitta says.

And Edessa was a famous city in the first Century, the merchants from the whole wolrd (well maybe not the whole world) had to reach the city to sell what they had to sell in the other countries. They probably understand Eddessan too.

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