About the Site

For a very long time, AramaicNT.org has laid vacant as I moved on to other projects.

After a while I brought it back to life as a place to store my work on Galilean Aramaic vis-a-vis the New Testament and early Christianity and that worked out very well. However, over time I found it difficult to both manage this site and my blog, The Aramaic Blog, at the same time as much of their purview overlapped.

Last year I fixed that by merging The Aramaic Blog into AramaicNT.org, so now they are both the same entity. All of my Galilean and Aramaic research alongside my normal Aramaic Blog postings. As a result, here’s what you’ll find on this site:

1) My Aramaic research blog which keeps track of Aramaic in scholarship and the media at large. It’s mostly academic in nature with a dash of snark and parody here and there.

2) My on-again-off again work on public domain versions of the Canonical Gospels (and possibly the Gospel of Thomas as well) that I call “The Aramaic Words Translation.” Wherever Jesus or his followers are speaking, I try to provide a simple transliteration of their words in a reconstruction of their original language so that a reader unfamiliar with them may be able to pronounce a reasonable approximation for themselves.

3) A series of resources for people who are interested in learning Galilean Aramaic as a conversational language (much like one would learn another old language like Latin) and my ongoing attempts to foster a community of individuals to have regular discussions or classes — be they written or oral — to keep the language from falling into total obscurity. This section is mainly available to those who choose to Support the website, although there are plenty of public materials for anyone to enjoy.

If you would like to help out with any aspect of these projects, please feel free to contact me, or visit the Help Us page for more information.

שלם לכולכון
(Peace be with you)

Steve Caruso, MLIS
Translator, Aramaic Designs (RogueLeaf)

23 thoughts on “About the Site

  1. Thanks for the work you’re doing. Of particular interest to me is the Lord’s Prayer in Galilean, which you can’t find ANYWHERE else (trust me, I’ve looked). Perhaps another project you could look into for me is writing the Ten Commandments in Galilean, or the Sermon on the Mount. This is only if you’ve got the time, of course. If I may, there’s an interesting old book you might want to look in to: “The Lord’s Prayer in 500 Languages.” You can find a reprint of it online (the first edition was published in 1905) for just fifteen bucks. The funniest thing is, of all the languages they included in the book, Aramaic isn’t one of them! Oh, the irony: Jesus’ native tongue, and it isn’t in perhaps the most comprehensive collection of Lord’s Prayer translations existing today! It does have a lot of great languages in it though, like all types of Ancient Egyptian, three cuneiform scripts (Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian), Chinese in various dialects… heck, even Phoenician! If you choose to investigate, I hope you’ll find it worth your time. And hey, God bless; keep up the good work and keep spreadin’ the Good News! I guess I’ll send another comment later. Till then, שלום
    It won’t be much longer now… The Day is dawning.

  2. I second Vendetta’s gratitude. I knew Galilean research was in its infancy, so I made a compromise: to study “well-established” Syriac scriptures, themselves relatively ignored. There isn’t even a critical text of the Peshitta OT! (One is coming.) How can people be so complacent? I believe tiny steps in this field will go far to progress God’s Kingdom. George Rizkallah from Maʿlula was documenting the moribund Galilean language and I also support his project.

  3. Thanks for the words of support.

    When I began researching Galilean Aramaic many years ago, I was amazed that where dialects such as Imperial, Syriac, or Jewish Babylonian Aramaic could fill shelves with reference materials one could find cheaply in bookstores or online, that Galilean had about a dozen major works, most of which are outdated, were based upon compromised manuscripts, and were rare enough that they are very rare to find and exceedingly pricey. What’s worse is that since most of that scarce Galilean material is focused upon the Byzantine period, what is virtually absent and lacking is the application of early Galilean Aramaic to the context of Jesus of Nazareth and early Christianity.

    I’m hoping to change that in whatever capacity I can with this project. This is something that I believe should be of direct interest and pursuit of every scholar of Christianity, and every individual Christian.

    A lot more is yet to come. 🙂

    Peace,
    -Steve

    1. Ahoy Neo,

      We’re in the midst of compiling a video series on learning Galilean Aramaic conversationally here:

      http://aramaicnt.org/galilean-aramaic/conversational-galilean-class/

      Each video also has supplemental materials (flash cards, printables, additional lessons, etc.) for people who choose to Support the project, and as the videos progress, there will also be workbooks and grammatical tools available to purchase.

      If you’re looking for any particular materials, please don’t hesitate to ask (either here or email in to AramaicDesigns@gmail.com).

      Peace,
      -Steve

  4. Greetings,
    My name is George Jogho, I am Aramean, from Syria, now studying in Germany.
    I must say, I can speak good Syriac-Aramean, but not the Galilean Aramean. Therefore I’m willing to start learning it here and from other references as well.
    Since I can speak Syriac, I find it easy to learn Galilean Aramean.
    I wish you all the best, and I’m ready to support in any refrences I can reach.
    God bless you.
    Regards,
    George Jogho.

  5. Greetings!

    I learned Biblical Aramaic many years ago but never used it much subsequently, other than than some reading of Maurice Casey, and there were enough differences that I knew I needed to do some more studying some day. Well that day has come! Can you suggest some background reading material on how your view of Galilean Aramaic relates to Maurice Casey or Joseph Fitzmyer or other scholars?

    Thanks, Robert

    1. Robert,

      I believe that the time is long overdue that I actually put together some sections on fellow Aramaicists who tried to tackle problems in the New Testament and how my positions and insights relate to them. At the very least it will be able to disseminate a good deal of background information that is hard to come by unless you know what obscure journals (or really pricey out-of-print books) to look in.

      Over the course of the next few months or so I’m going to try to get back into the habit of posting (at least) weekly, so that might be a good series to start to get “back in shape.” As it stands, the littlest member of our household is still making that a bit tough. 🙂

      Peace,
      -Steve

  6. Also Steve I was looking for this book—The Aramaic Portions of Bereshit Rabba: with Grammar of Galilean Aramaic (2 Volumes) and I noticed that you had already purchased the last copy so I was wondering if you knew of another website where I could purchase that grammar book Steve?

    1. “Jewish Palestinian Aramaic” is usually a synonym for Galilean, but it’s just a *tiny* bit broader in scope (not by much). Oderberg’s grammar (“The Aramaic Portions of Bereshit Rabba”) is, sadly, based upon corrupt manuscripts, so he lists incorrect forms as base forms. However, although it has some errors, his syntax (the second half of volume 2) is the most complete syntax to date.

      The only other “good” grammars that are out there are Fassberg’s grammar of the Fragment Targums (but it’s not for the faint at heart — it’s a *very* dense text that presupposes an extensive working knowledge of Aramaic etymology, Hebrew, and vocalization system conventions) and Sokoloff has a grammar on Bereshit Rabba, but it’s currently available in Modern Hebrew, alone. All the others aren’t based upon sound texts.

      Soon my own grammar “Elementary Galilean Aramaic With Exercises in Reading & Comprehension” will be available, and I’m developing it to be comprehensible to both laymen and specialists alike.

      Peace,
      -Steve

  7. Hello Steve, My name is Braeden, I just recently joined your website and I am very impressed, I have one question though (more might be arriving soon)
    What software/font do you use to type in this alphabet, I have just begun learning Aramaic and I normally am typing in Syriac and Hebrew, but this script is unique and beautiful. SO ANYWAYS, I just wondered if you could send me a link or something to maybe get me started with typing this dialect.

    Thank you

    -Braeden

    1. Ahoy Braeden,

      I actually take advantage of a number of different solutions to get Galilean up on the site here, but I have yet to find one that’s ideal. There is of course Hebrew Unicode, but there is no Palestinian Vocalization in the Hebrew block. For the images of text there are a series of shortcodes I’ve developed to display various scripts directly on the screen (ex. [gal]$:laM[/gal] in the body of a post would output the Aramaic text) and when I typeset publications I actually use a package I’ve developed for LaTeX.

      What I’m *presently* working on is a Hebrew Unicode font that has Palestinian Vocalization implemented over the Tiberian Vocalization glyphs, but I’m still working the kinks out of it. However, once it’s more-or-less usable, I was going to open it up as a web font.

      Peace,
      -Steve

      1. Ok wonderful, do you have any idea when that font will be ready to use? I am currently writing a small packet on this dialect and instead of using just Hebrew or Syriac, I want to use this font you speak of. No rush or anything, just wondered if you have an approximation of when it will be available, that way I don’t have to print the packet twice or anything disastrous.

        Thank you very much
        -Braeden

  8. Having only just joined, and not done enough research, what is the oldest Aramaic NT text with parallel English ? Would it be a download , or in print ? I would love to have a copy -thanks

    1. Glad to have you here Eric. 🙂

      The oldest Aramaic NT texts are fragmentary and are a toss up between the Old Syriac Gospels or the earliest Christian Palestinian Aramaic fragments (both of which are thought to have been originally compiled in the 4th century with a slim chance of the late 3rd — although many of the physical manuscript witnesses we have are much younger).

      Sadly there is no parallel English translation of either set that I could recommend that either isn’t so old that it requires updating or has a serious theological axe to grind.

      Perhaps it’s time I did something about that? 🙂

      Peace,
      -Steve

  9. Hi Steve,
    what an awesome website, I am so glad I found it. I am Assyrian and speak a modern version of Aramaic. The Assyrian Church of the East still performs mass in ancient Aramaic as does the Assyrian Roman Catholic Church. There are still millions of Assyrians that speak a slightly more modern version of Aramaic all over the world so the language is far from dead as many also speak, read and write the ancient version as well.
    I unfortunately never learned to read or write Assyrian so I love your phonetic translations. Thank you so much!

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