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Re: orion Spoken DSS Hebrew

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Thanks for your thoughtful contribution, Paul; and, for that matter, to
Jack Kilmon and John Hays for theirs. This is clearly an issue on which it
is very difficult to make any final pronouncements. But from the point of
view of the theory of theory formation itīs worth remarking that the theory
of Aramaic dominance was in place prior to the discovery of the DSS, and
that it was based on the few references in the NT. Hence there is a great
danger that the Aramaic hypothesis has simply been adapted to new
circumstances, instead of rethought from the ground up in the light of the
huge influx of new data.

To a linguist, reference in *literary* contexts will never be considered as
evidence on the same level as *documentary* evidence, which means that the
DSS are primary evidence as to language use, while the NT reference is at
best a consideration.
The notion of A. as the language of the people, as "proved" by the
targumim, is circular, and presupposes a great deal that really requires to
be demonstrated. It also ignores the actual situation in multilingual
environments, in which code-switching is the order of the day. The garage
mechanic chatters language X all day long with his mates, then comes home
and speaks language Y with his family and friends, and prays in language Z,
as being the one the good sisters in the convent taught him when he was a
boy. In other words, itīs terribly difficult to know much about the actual
linguistic situation in a society without documentary evidence of all the
various codes in use.

best regards,

Fred Cryer