Aramaic, the language of Jesus of Nazareth, was the lingua franca of the Middle East for over a thousand years before Arabic became widespread. This volume focuses on the Late Antiquity period and how Syriac Christianity emerges from Jewish Aramaic and the course of these two Aramaic traditions. The second part of this volume focuses on the Syriac tradition and its cultural role, the importance of Syriac scholars, and the spread of Syriac Christianity eastward in the first millennium AD. Includes both color and black and white illustrations.
10 x 12.5
Vol. II: The Heirs of the Ancient Aramaic Heritage (By S.P. Brock and David Taylor)
Although Hebrew had been the language of the ancient Israelite kingdom, after their return from exile the Jews turned more and more to Aramaic, using it for parts of the books of Ezra and Daniel in the Bible. By the time of Jesus, Aramaic was the main language of Palestine, and a number of texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls are written in Aramaic. Aramaic continued to be an important language for Jews and and is one of the languages found in the Talmud. After the Arab conquests of the seventh century, Arabic quickly replaced Aramaic as the main language of those who converted to Islam, although in remote places Aramaic continued as a vernacular language of Muslims. Aramaic, however, enjoyed its greatest success in Christianity. Although the New Testament was written in Greek, Christianity had come into existence in an Aramaic-speaking region, and it was the Aramaic dialect of Edessa, now known as Syriac, that became the literary language of a large number of Christians living in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire and in the Persian Empire, further east. Over the course of the centuries the influence of the Syriac Churches spread east to China (in Xian, in western China, a Chinese-Syriac inscription dated 781 is still extant), to southern India where the state of Kerala can boast more Christians of Syriac liturgical tradition than anywhere else in the world.