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In Search of Late Samaritan Aramaic

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image of Aramaic Studies

Although abandoned as vernacular, Aramaic was not completely disregarded by Samaritan writers during the first centuries of Muslim rule in Palestine. Their literary product, poor in style and thematic when compared with the compositions of the Byzantine period, is written in what we may designate as 'Late Samaritan Aramaic'. Leaning on literary patterns borrowed from ancient poetry it is a kind of conventional Aramaic, marked by a rather limited respect for grammatical rules, with heavy traces of Hebrew and, at times, Arabic. In this it resembles the language dominant in Jewish contemporary Aramaic liturgy (except Arabic influence), which also characterizes Zoharic Aramaic.


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