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Re: orion Spoken DSS Hebrew

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fred cryer wrote:

> To Jack Kilmon, though, I would suggest that the handful of Aramaic
> targumim found in Qumran could at most be taken to mean that a handful
> of
> local west-semitic readers needed Aramaic paraphrases of the texts.

    Far be it from me to disagree with an eminent scholar, Dr. Cryer,
butin this case i will (g).  I know of no precedent for the making of
for other than the general populace rather than for whatever language
used by a few "breezing through town."

> The
> vast preponderance of Hebrew text in the caves remains the greatest
> obstacle to any theory of widespread Aramaic usage.

    The vast proponderance of texts at the synagogue down the streetare
in Hebrew, but the rabbi and the congregation are English speaking.
This is true all over the world for the centuries since the DSS were
penned.  The library of the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fostat, Old Cairo
was predominately Hebrew, yet we know that the lingua franca of
12th century Cairo was not that in which the Zadokite Fragments were
penned.  You can be fairly safe that the library at Yabneh was primarily

Hebrew, but they still continued the practice of writing targumim in
Aramaic....so much so that the targumim are today still in Aramaic by
tradition even though Aramaic is no longer a widespread language.

There is no reason to believe that the ratio of linguistic
of the DSS is the same as the linguistic usage of the general population

of 1st century BCE to 1st century CE Palestine.  20% of the DSS in
Aramaic, and of a genre that suggests liturgical exegesis to the general

public, is a LOT of Aramaic..particularly when you consider that
*all* biblical texts were written in Hebrew (with the exception of the
LXX and even that could be classified as a "targum").

    I think the assumption that DSS Hebrew was generally used by the
populace because of its representation in the DSS causes a curious
circumstance to slide by without analysis....the very fact that 20%
of the surviving texts *are* in Aramaic and WHY?  We should be
asking ourselves what form of discourse the DSS people were having
with the general population and how that fits into the
sectarian" image of the Qumran folk.  The genre of the Aramaic
texts are explanatory and "storytelling."  If these Aramaic texts
were being used to explain biblical texts to the general populace,
it is evidence that Aramaic was the lingua franca.  If they were
being used to teach initiates into the community, it again is evidence
that Aramaic was the primary tongue of initiates not yet schooled
in Hebrew.


Díman dith laych idneh dínishMA nishMA
   Jack Kilmon (jpman@accesscomm.net)