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    2015. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism. p. 555.

  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

18 - Aramaic in late antiquity

This chapter presents a broad review of the types of Jewish Aramaic common in the Talmudic era. In this period Aramaic was a spoken language, and many literary works were written in it. The Hebrew and Aramaic languages are related tongues and resemble each other in many ways. They both belong to the northwestern branch of the Semitic language family. The knowledge of Aramaic in the Land of Israel spread with the return of the Babylonian exiles. The chapter presents a survey of Jewish Aramaic after the period of Imperial Aramaic, that is, the Aramaic used during the time of the Tannaim and Amoraim. Aramaic was greatly influenced by the languages spoken in its vicinity. Jewish Aramaic was especially influenced by Hebrew. Jews have spoken many languages over the generations, but, other than Hebrew, Aramaic is undoubtedly the most important language in the history of Jewish culture.
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