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Indeterminacy And The Comparative Method: Arabic As A Model For Understanding The History Of Aramaic

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Chapter Summary

Historical linguistics seeks not only to render plausible reconstructions of earlier stages of a language, but also to localize postulated developments within specific times and places. The Book of Daniel, along with Ezra, is of special interest for Aramaicists and Semiticists because about half of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible is written in Aramaic and hence it is one of the earliest extensive sources about Aramaic. The main sources Driver uses, besides the Biblical Aramaic (BA) of Daniel and Ezra are the Aramaic papyri from Egypt, dating from the early fifth century BCE. Garr (1985:26) gives a basis for the postulation of proto-Aramaic *ð even in the absence of graphemic evidence. Arabic is one of the few Semitic languages to have maintained proto- Semitic *ð> ð up to the present day. It has, however, not done so uniformly across all varieties.

Keywords: Arabic; Aramaic; Book of Daniel; Egypt; Ezra; Hebrew Bible



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