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When I was an exchange student in Tübingen (years ago) I followed a course in Biblical Aramaic, the forgotten language of the Old Testament (and some phrases in the New Testament). Unfortunately, halfway through the course I became sick and had to reduce the number of courses (lectures and seminars) I attended. Since the course in Aramaic was every Friday morning at 0800, it was an easy choice.

An interlinear Bible with a passage from Daniel 9

An interlinear Bible with a passage from Daniel 9

Today I wish I had completed it, if only to be able to say that I can read some. Although it’s only the Book of Daniel and Ezra (and a verse in Jeremiah) that is written in this ancient vernacular, it is intriguing that so very little of the Old Testament is written in the language. It should have been more, since a lot of the Old Testament was written after the great exile of Babylon when Aramaic had replaced Hebrew completely as the spoken language (in the Persian Achaemenid Empire). It is a witness to how the Hebrew people took care of their ancient traditions.

Today I stumbled over a webpage (by the help of another blogger) that contains an introductory course in Biblical Aramaic. My grammar book in Biblical Aramaic (Rosenthal) got stolen, but perhaps this on-line course can do the trick. Care to join me?

(Some people have even made readings of some New Testament Texts in Aramaic translation. Care to hear the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic?)

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