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The Language Question

Perhaps the question of language[s] read/spoken can be more usefully asked
in this form:

"What is the date for wich we have definite evidence that Hebrew is no longer
the spoken language for the Palestinian [or other] Jewish community?"

Btw - if I may hazard an opinion, it seems to me that the evidence we have
now support quite strongly the assumption that whilst there still was a
coherent community in Palestine, their main language, both spoken and written,
was Hebrew. There is simply less evidence that supports the assumption of
written Aramaic. That the sourse of NT quotations is Aramaic rather than 
Hebrew is at best a tentative deduction, given that the text is in Greek,
and the transliteration is obviously faulty. In addition [and here I would
really like to hear an opinion from somebody with more basis in NT] I do not
see that any of those quotes are more obviously Aramaic than Hebrew - but
perhaps there are examples I do not know about. Finaly, given that NT was
concieved and written as a sacred text, it is not clear that the quotations
have a direct bearing on the question of the _spoken_ language. At least if you
allow that evidence, than the evidence of the Hebrew sacred texts from the 
Dead Sea should also be allowed.

Finally, I think that part of the confusion is due to the fact that Roman
sourses did not necessarily differentiate between Hebrew and Aramaic,
sometimes treating Hebrew simply as a dialect of Aramaic. This might have
promoted the supposition that Aramaic as we understand it was the spoken

Best, Asia