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Re: orion Harrison on: Spoken DSS Hebrew.
On Tue, 2 Dec 1997, John Hays wrote:
> As Harrison's (Bradley's?) post was aimed directly to me I guess that I
> should try to answer it, though I don't quite know how, but I'll try. He
> says "Hellenization dictated the use of Greek by locals as the official
> language." I had a quick look through M.M.Austen's selection of ancient
> sources on the Hellenistic world, but couldn't find anything to support
> this. It may be so, but I would like to know from which ancient source
> this idea comes.
The sources are abundant, the CPJ, the Zenon papyrus, entire library
shelves. Do you really require a bibleography? The policy was to use Greek
as an official language to be used as the language of the Greek
administration. Locals had to learn Greek in order to obtain social
mobility. This is very text book stuff here.
< If we don't have such a source then we probably can't
> make generalizations like this.
> The situation in Egypt was obviously quite different from that in Judea.
But not until after the Seleucids took over. For sources again I must
direct you to the Zenon Papyrus. The Tobiads were mentioned and were very
The amount of Hellenization will vary based mostly upon the Rural or
Urban nature of those in question. Hellenization was mostly in urban areas
such as Jerusalen and the Decopolis in this case.
> Egypt was obviously at the heart of the Ptolemy empire, while Judea was
> on the edge, then on the edge of the Seleucid empire, suggesting that
> Judea was a species of marches, and like most marches had a fair amount
> of autonomy -- as long as it paid its taxes, I guess, which was where
> Onias II seems to have had trouble.
> What evidence do we have of any "direct" Hellenization before Antiochus
> IV returned from Egypt to quell Jason's rebellion?
Again the Zenon Papyrus and the site of Araq El Emir. I will have a
bibleography tomorrow. But it is enough to say that there is alot more
going on in Judea than what is being discussed. To suggest that the Jews
in Judea spoke only one language or even just one dialect is absurd. Of
course they spoke Greek, as Greek was even found amongst the DSS. But if
a Jew was trying to express their cultural heritage for other traditional
Jews, would they use the administrative language of their occupiers or
would they use thier own native dialects of Hebrew and Aramaic?