State of the Site

So, you’ve likely noticed that this website has been quiet for a while with not much happening here, and that subscriptions have been disabled. A lot has happened in the 15 some-odd years that I’ve been blogging about the Aramaic language, and a lot has changed as well.

The main reasons for much of that change are simply a matter of where I am in life right now. Translating was, at one point, my full-time endeavor, and my sole academic focus. But since then I’ve landed a tenured position at a local college and am the head of my own program with my own students and they have had to take priority.

Additional matters of focus in life are upon my family and our health. During the ongoing pandemic, our household caught Covid twice. Some of the residual effects of it still haven’t left us. To this day, I am continuing to deal with occasional bouts of neuropathy and some memory problems. In an effort to help mitigate them, we’ve focused inwards for a bit and we’ve begun a number of projects, including major renovations to our home, gardening, and animal husbandry to help us weather this thing. As it can be imagined, these also take a significant amount of our time and attention, too.

Finally, one of the peripheral reasons that has also been of influence to my involvement is a matter of the kind of people that my work has attracted. Let me be clear: The vast majority of folk have been respectful of the language and its historical context, and academic in their pursuit of it. However, a consistent contingent of enthusiasts have been interested in it solely to promote various kinds of charlatanism, and that has been incredibly difficult (emotionally and practically) to deal with.

Here are but a few examples:

  • I have had many students and customers take the knowledge of Galilean Aramaic I had freely shared with them to promote websites and churches or other organizations that implied that without this “secret knowledge” of the “true words” of Jesus that they were at some kind of theological disadvantage, even to damnation.
  • I have had a “messianic yeshiva” claim that I was a “visiting professor” and use my name and face to endorse their website without my knowledge or consent.
  • I have had a customer use a translation I had given them to deceive other people to believe that they could speak in tongues.
  • I have had another student take a translation I had given them to deceive other people to believe that they were possessed by a demon.

And these are only some of the things that I am willing to share. If any of these were untrue, I would not have listed them, and some of these – as you can plainly see – are extreme and even damaging.

So, with all of this in mind, I do not have the ability to keep on top this site and what it entails in addition to my current set of responsibilities – there are simply not enough hours in the day. That said, I have no intentions of taking or its content down, but in the next few months I may convert it to a flat-file site away from WordPress for archival purposes and make the subscription content freely available. (No guarantees as to when.)

And this leaves one last thing: At one point I had planned on publishing my grammar of Galilean here – but because of everything above (both the crazy and the practical) – it has been permanently put on the back burner. Right now I am uncertain as to where it will land. It is not in a state that I could readily release, but perhaps one day in the future I could put it up on a GitHub repository for folks to make use of and submit additions. Once the site is archived, I may have more information in that direction as well.

In the meantime, stay well, and we’ll see what the future brings. 🙂


So, Yeah… There Will Be an Announcement Soon. :-)

Yep, I haven’t posted much or followed up on many Aramaic-related things because I’ve been extremely busy at RV.

Admittedly, this isn’t a very good picture – but it represents about 4-5 years worth of work, including the past 6 months’ worth of constant testing and refinement (no joke).

Yes, that’s olive wood. Not seen: Sterling silver chain work.

The first one is already in the hands of its owner.

More information will be coming before the end of the month. 🙂


“Jordan Codices” Proven Fake – Jordan’s Department of Antiquities Concludes

From the Jordan Times:

AMMAN — The Department of Antiquities (DoA) has announced that the lead codices allegedly found in a northern Jordan cave between 2005-2007 have been proven forged. […]

The DoA Director General Monther Jamhawi said that the codices are a kind of “professional” forgery that was executed skillfully.

“This advanced counterfeit has created confusion as ancient materials were used, such as lead and stones, and inscribing them with ancient look-alike texts and drawings that are hard to be tested,” Jamhawi told The Jordan Times on Saturday. […]

The department formed a committee of researchers and epigraphists, who examined the books and confirmed that they were not authentic.

In its report, the taskforce concluded that the examination from an archaeological point of view proved that the metal books were false and worthless as they contained “irrelevant old letters and images” and that the manufacturer had no background about ancient inscriptions and their technical details or religious significance.

Or in other words, what most of us have been articulating since the beginning. 🙂


New Galilean Aramaic Online Course BETA Open

Happy New Year!

I was hoping to have this ready-to-release today, but instead I’d rather share what I have already competed, and solicit feedback to make it even better:

I’ve been working on a brand new Galilean Aramaic 101 course. 🙂

Using the LearnPress plugin, I’ve been able to more rapidly work on a bunch of stuff that was slow and difficult to handle before (when it came to making supporting multimedia, editing, or coding, coding, coding… it was off-putting). Now if I have an idea for a new lesson, I can put it together in a matter of hours instead of weeks, or if I have an idea for a new course, I can put it together in a matter of days, rather than months.

Right now it’s in BETA. That means it’s not complete, but it’s well on its way there, and that I also need your feedback to make it better. Visit the course page, sign up, try out the lessons and quizzes, and leave comments on the courseware.

Other courses I’m currently working on outlines for are the second level of this course (which will be more comprehensive), a re-do of the Lord’s Prayer course, and a course on the Sermon on the Mount. Once the Beta period is over for 101, we’ll see what direction these will go. 🙂


Wooden Aramaic Lord’s Prayer Bracelet

So… we got a Glowforge. And I couldn’t help myself. I’m thinking I should make some of these in olive wood.

Since it’s so much lighter than the metal version (and not nearly as hard to make) I might change the design so that it’s made out of 12 one-sided plates rather than 6 double-sided ones.

What do folks think?