The view expressed in BDAG that Hebrais refers not to Hebrew but to ‘the Aramaic spoken at that time in Palestine’ derives from a century-old argument that because Hebrais could mean either Aramaic or Hebrew, and since the average person could not understand Hebrew, Hebrais must mean Aramaic. This article challenges the view that Hebrais(ti) could mean Aramaic (1) by using an exhaustive list of all instances to show that Aramaic was consistently distinguished from Hebrew, and (2) by explaining the evidence to the contrary: Aramaic-looking words in John, Josephus and Philo that are said to be Hebraisti.
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