For those of you interested in what the new lessons will look like, here’s the page of the first one as it’s going up. If all goes well it should be ready to go with audio by tonight or Sunday.
The format is similar to a “turn the page” storybook where the student starts an audio recording and then turns the page when prompted, interacting with the lesson as it progresses.
No, this isn’t some epic battle or what not, but more a brilliant metaphor for what can be seen when one looks at the New Testament through Aramaic eyes.
When one recites Shakespeare in its original accent, there are puns and wordplay that leap off the page that are simply not there in modern language. In the same manner, when one looks at the words of Jesus and his early followers in Aramaic, one sees things that they cannot even fathom in Greek or English.
Note to self: If I’m ever in London, I need to check out one of the Globe performances in OP. 🙂
In a word: No.
In a few more words…
This claim has been circulating the Internet lately. It’s been on Brietbart, it’s been on Before It’s News, it’s spreading through Twitter and the rest of the Internet.
ISIS cannot, no matter how hard it tries, eliminate Aramaic. Aramaic is not a single language, but an entire family of languages. Sadly, the dialect spoken by Jesus is already dead. (Well, outside what I speak with my kids in reconstruction, but that doesn’t make it “living” by any means.) It died as a living language in the 6th and 7th centuries with Arab Conquest.
However, ISIS can certainly extinguish a few of the smaller Neo-Aramaic dialects if they strive to, which in some cases consist of a single surviving village — and let me not be equivocal about this: That is a serious problem.
Most Neo-Aramaic languages are severely endangered as it is and in the past 100 years we’ve seen dozens die due to violence (like this) or simply migration and adoption of another language (most Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects have been lost due to immigration to Israel and the adoption of Modern Hebrew). These language are certainly related (the dialect in Ma’loula the closest by lineage) but none of these are the language Jesus actually spoke.
Syriac Aramaic is the language of the liturgy of the Syriac Church (Syriac Orthodox, Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian, etc.) and recited every Sunday. That’s not going anywhere. Jewish Literary Aramaic is used in the Jewish liturgy nearly every Sabbath, and that’s not going anywhere either. There are Aramaic-speaking diasporas all over the place. Aramaic is global, and ISIS is not.
A reminder that my expanded talk is coming up this Saturday on my reconstruction of the Lord’s Prayer, prefaced with a bit of history about the Galilean dialect. This is the second time I’ve done something in this format, so I’m going to try and add in a number of things I was forced to leave out the first time around. 🙂
Visit the Events page for more info.
So, I’m presently thinking long and hard about merging The Aramaic Blog and AramaicNT.org (The Aramaic New Testament) permanently.
Here at The Aramaic Blog, I get a heck of a lot of traffic, but I haven’t been doing much with it lately. The Aramaic New Testament, however, has a lot going for it, it’s on an up-to-date self-hosted WordPress install so I have much more control, it looks spiffier, it hosts all of my Aramaic courseware and translations, and it’s really where I wish to expand upon over the next year. Both often overlap in their purview so much that I’ve often found myself debating which blog to post something new to.
Historically they were separate because The Aramaic Blog had more of an academic focus where AramaicNT.org had more of a theological focus. However, when I re-designed AramaicNT.org it became much more academically centered with fewer personal theological elements. Since then, I only tend to expound theologically on my personal blog, so the need for two Aramaic “spots” is no longer an issue.
So, if a merger is to happen, I would be taking all of the articles here on The Aramaic Blog and adding them to The Aramaic New Testament and setting up the proper redirects so that when folks go looking for the old articles, they’ll land on the new pages.
What do you, dear readers, think?