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Re: Archaic Hebrew in a Greek text
You are correct in what you say about Jews returning to Hebrew. It
is being used more, but also taught more. The two must go hand in hand.
On the question of maintaining Hebrew as the Holy language, you
make some valid points. The fact that the Tanach is almost entirely
preserved in Hebrew is a good point. It is not entirely preserved in
Hebrew. Why not?
As for what language was being used at the time, it seems to me
that there is good evidence that both Aramaic and Greek were being used.
Where is the evidence that Hebrew was used for anything besides reading
and possibly that only in scribal and perhaps priestly circles? It seems
to me that one would have to know Aramaic, just as elite Russians would
have had to know Russian. They probably desired to learn Greek, just as
the elite Russians wanted to speak Francais. Would the average person
have learned a third language, Hebrew? Or was this left for the scribes
and the priests, who needed to know it? In Alexandria, the Jews might not
have even bothered to learn Aramaic, much less Hebrew. Hence, they needed
the scriptures translated for them. To accomodate, the rabbis state that
one need only hear the Book of Esther in Hebrew, not necessarily to
You are correct to state that we do not know enough about the
groups at the time. How can we be certain that any group tried to
preserve Hebrew prior to the compilation of the Mishnah? Where is any
text, rabbinic or otherwise, that states a policy to preserve Hebrew? The
rabbis did not even write in the same kind of Hebrew. If they wanted to
preserve it, then why didn't they?
Just a few thoughts,