Aramaic -

( aer-ah-MAE-ic )

Aramaic, the lanuage originally spoken in Northern Syria and Mesopotamia by the Aramaeans, is part of the Northwest Semitic group of languages. Eventually, from India to Egypt, Aramaic became the language that people of different languages used to communicate, similar to the role English plays today. Aramaic can be broken down into five phases or periods: Old Aramaic (925 to 700 B.C.E.), Official Aramaic (700 to 300 B.C.E.), Middle Aramaic (300 B.C.E. to 200 C.E.), Late Aramaic (200-700), and Modern Aramaic (700-present). Strongly influenced by Kurdish, Turkish, and Arabic, Aramaic is till spoken in some isolated villages in Syria. Biblical Aramaic, or Chaldaic, was a late form of Official Aramic and was important because it was used in the writing of certain passages of original Old Testament texts. The fact that writings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Aramaic should be expected since Aramaic supplanted Hebrew as the common tongue in Palestine around 500 B.C.E.

John Vadaparampil

Spring Semester 1995
The Department of Theology
The University of Notre Dame