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Which modern day dialect of Aramaic is the closest one to the dialect that Jesus of Nazareth spoke in Palestine some 2000 years ago?

Would this question be on topic on the main site?

If not, where can I post it?

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There might be some help with this in: "What language did Jesus commonly speak?" (second answer deals with Aramaic).

But since the question is about modern Aramaic, I don't believe the question is on-topic for this site, where purely linguistic questions apart from textual interpretation/implications are generally not welcome.

There are, however, eleven "Aramaic" questions on Linguistics.SE, and that seems to me to be a better fit.

Or you could send an email to Geoffrey Khan (and have a browse through his Academia.edu page). If he doesn't know, then no one does.

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1. Question Restatement:

Would this question be on topic?

Which modern day dialect of Aramaic is the closest one to the dialect that Jesus of Nazareth spoke in Palestine some 2000 years ago?


2. Proposed Answer:

Certainly, I believe that the written forms of Aramaic are ON-Topic.

Regarding Modern Aramaic:

In Syria - and in the Armenian Church, there are traditions that claim to preserve the "Syriac Dialect" which Jesus spoke - which is incredibly insightful for historic interpretation - and I believe VERY ON-TOPIC.

Arguments citing those traditions are invaluable in hermeneutics, (if framed that way).

Historically Spoken Dialects:

However, I believe the Aramaic dialects that were spoken at the time might be off-topic.


3. Explanation:

Spoken Aramaic:

There are several different Aramaic Dialects used when Jesus lived.

For example, Jesus likely knew Galilean Aramaic. And plausibly, Jesus may have learned Palestinian Aramaic in Egypt.

During that period - Babylonian Aramaic was understood by Pharisees, (and a Mishnaic Hebrew which is Hebraicized Aramaic).

"Palestinian Aramaic" was likely spoken throughout the region.

Because that answer is "unknowable", and also because that answer would not likely affect interpretations of Biblical Texts - I feel it is off-topic.

Written Aramaic:

However, Aramaic texts are categorized under families.

For example, New Testament texts are grouped under, "Syriac" - and I feel these Aramaic-families are very on-topic.

To see the different Aramaic text families, you might want to check out: CAL Lexical Database

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