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Re: orion Harrison on: Spoken DSS Hebrew.

At 10:21 97/12/05 -0500, Tim Philips wrote, in part:

>Now I have another question, to anyone, and I hope it is not taken the
>wrong way. How much, if any, does an argument (if there is one) that
>Greek was an widely used language including among the peasant class
>relates to or is effected by the fact that the majority of the Christian
>Writings are, as we have them, in Greek?

In my opinion, little or none. Even from a non-critical perspective, the
audience of the NT writings has moved far beyond Palestine and includes
more Gentiles than Jews.

Now, the NT evidence about Aramaic, I think, is more useful but still needs
to be used with caution. What I mean is:
(a) As far as the evidence allows, the NT writers seem to assume that the
language generally used in Palestine was Aramaic. With respect to language,
it does not matter whether they were actually quoting previous Aramaic
sources (oral or written), or trying to make something *sound* authentic.
To sound authentic, the linguistic stuff would have to correspond with what
was known or assumed by the intended audience.
(b)*However*, at best this tells us what was known (or thought to be known)
about Palestine in the latter part of the first century C.E. If all or most
of the DSS date from at least a century earlier, the linguistic milieu at
that time might have been considerably different.

My conclusion: the NT evidence is interesting, but only tangentially
relevant to the DSS and their linguistic context.

Paul Sodtke
London, Ontario