The ancient slab found near the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday | Photo credit: Jennifer Munro

Aramaic Inscription Found in Kursi (Near the Sea of Galilee)

The ancient slab found near the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday | Photo credit: Jennifer Munro
The ancient slab found near the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday | Photo credit: Jennifer Munro

A 1,500-year-old marble slab found on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee Wednesday provides the first real proof of ancient Jewish settlement in the area, archaeologists say. The large slab, which bears an Aramaic inscription in Hebrew script, was dug up on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday as part of an ongoing excavation in the ancient town of Kursi.

Experts say the slab probably dates to around 500 C.E., when the Hebrew alphabet was used by Jews and some local Christian communities. This suggest that Kursi was either a Jewish community or a mixed Christian-Jewish settlement. Researchers could only discern two words: “Amen” and “Marmaria,” the latter possibly referring to Jesus’ mother, Mary.

Take the sensational claims with a grain of salt. There needs to be a much more thorough study of this inscription before jumping to conclusions. The rest of the article can be found here:

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=30487

Update: From what I can see, it truly is in Galilean Aramaic. The orthography is what I’d expect to see (the plene spelling in words like סייע [“helps”] and use of ה for final a vowels like what looks like אתרה [“the synagogue” or “the place”] and יקרה ד [“the honor of”]). Unfortunately, it’s so cracked and crumbling it’s hard to make out full sentences. I’m really looking forward to seeing some better pictures. :-)

Peace,
-Steve

Pope tel dan stele

Pope Francis Given Copy of Tel Dan Stele

Pope tel dan stele

According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in honor of Pope Francis’ visit, President Rivlin gave him a copy of what appears to be the Tel Dan Stele — the inscription that famously mentions the “House of David”.

717. EARLY ARAMAIC INSCRIPTION FOUND IN DAN, DATING FROM THE  9TH. C. BC. THE TEXT MENTIONS THE BATTLE OF BEN HADAD KING OF ARAM AGAINST THE "HOUSE OF DAVID", MEANING ONE OF THE KINGS OF ISRAEL  "And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali."  I KINGS 15:20
בית דוד  or “House of David” hilighted.

From the article:

The gift was chosen in particular as an expression of the deep roots shared by Judaism and Christianity, and as King David is regarded by both Judaism and Christianity as the founder of the House of David, revered in tradition as being from which would come the redemption of humanity, and from whom the Messiah would be descended.

Peace,
-Steve

Ya Yeki Həwā I – A Story in Mandaic Neo-Aramaic

A colleague of mine, Charles Häberl has directed this delightful animation set to a story in Mandaic Neo-Aramaic. Be sure to turn on captioning for English subtitles if you can’t keep up… I had to… :-)

“Short animation based upon the Neo-Mandaic story “Histoire de Chah Adel” in de Morgan, Jean-Jacques. 1904. Mission Scientfique En Perse Par J. de Morgan, Tome V, Etudes Linguistiques, Deuxieme Partie: Textes Mandaites. Edited by Ernest Leroux. Paris: Imprimerie nationale. Narrated by Nasser Abu Issa Sobbi. Made possible by support from the Encyclopædia Iranica.” (YouTube)

Peace,
-Steve

Neofiti-Example

Working on the Daily Office

Neofiti-Example

Tomorrow morning I’ll be at in the Ross Room at Christ Church New Brunswick from 10 AM to noon (as I usually am) working on various Aramaic-related things.

This week the focus is on translating some of the services of the Daily Office into Galilean, making use of Targum Neofiti and the Christian Palestinian Aramaic Lectionary as source material.

If anyone wants to drop in, send me a message or leave a comment here so I’ll be expecting you. (The office will be closed.)

Peace,
-Steve