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The Aramaic of the Talmudic Period

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Chapter Summary

Within the larger history of the Aramaic language, the following subdivision serves to structure the discussion in this chapter: Early Aramaic: up until 700 BCE; this material includes in the main inscriptions found in Syria; Imperial or Classical Aramaic: from 700 to 200 BCE; Middle Aramaic: from 200 BCE to 200 CE; Late Aramaic: from 200 to 1000 CE; and Neo-Aramaic: from 1000 CE to the present day. The Qumran documents discovered in recent decades constitute the important source for the Aramaic of Tannaic period. Galilee is where the Palestinian Amoraim were active, and so the Aramaic they spoke is known as Galilean Aramaic. Though most of the features of Galilean Aramaic are shared by all its sources, there are features that enable us to distinguish between the language of the talmudic literature and that of the Targumim.

Keywords: Aramaic language history; Elephantine documents; Galilean Aramaic; Qumran documents; talmudic literature; Tannaic period; Targumim



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