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A Biblical Aramaic Pastiche from the Cairo Geniza

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image of Aramaic Studies

Two fragments in the Cambridge Genizah Collections preserve an odd specimen of Aramaic liturgical poetry in two copies. The poem is a pastiche from Biblical Aramaic phrases, recycled with occasional later Aramaic or Hebrew supplements and supplemented with Biblical Hebrew citations. The biblical lexemes were lifted out of their original co-text and rearranged as an acrostic. The poem celebrates the reconstruction of the Temple and the city walls in the face of fierce opposition, a theme markedly enriched with eschatological motifs. It is quite difficult to date this specimen of mixed Aramaic poetry, but the dialect admixture and some dialect features suggest a relative date in the last quarter of the second millennium CE.

Affiliations: 1: University College London


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