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  • Trevor & Julie Peterson
    Welcome to the new Aramaic language list. Perhaps you would like a little background as to how this list came about. I ve been a participant for several years
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 13, 2003
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      Welcome to the new Aramaic language list. Perhaps you would like a
      little background as to how this list came about. I've been a
      participant for several years now on the B-Greek and B-Hebrew lists. On
      and off during that time, I've searched for a list to do essentially the
      same thing with Aramaic, but I've never found it. Not that there aren't
      lists out there that pertain to Aramaic, but some are quite inactive and
      some are very agenda-driven. What I wanted was a forum in which the
      Aramaic language could be discussed in terms of its linguistic features
      and the texts that exhibit them. Since I didn't find a list to my
      liking, I thought perhaps it was up to me to start one. (Presumptuous, I
      know--but what else could I do?)

      When I began my search, I looked specifically for a list about biblical
      Aramaic. I have since discovered that this is probably a bad idea in
      itself. The biblical corpus is too small and at the same time too
      diverse to provide much of a basis for learning the language. Most of my
      own study has been within the larger field of Standard Literary Aramaic,
      of which biblical Aramaic is but a part. But even this broader category
      has its limits, and I find myself pressing ever further in search of a
      better grasp on the language. In light of my own experience, as well as
      the realization that Aramaists are perhaps not as common as ice cream
      stands in Upstate New York, I thought it best to provide an arena for
      discussion of Aramaic as a whole. This strategy is not intended to blur
      the distinctions between Aramaic dialects, but rather to embrace
      discussion of all such dialects and their relationship to one another in
      a convenient arena. It may happen one day (I can hope) that there will
      be too many people interested in Aramaic to contain them easily in one
      online discussion. At that point, perhaps a subdivision according to
      dialects will be in order. In the meantime, I think we stand to learn a
      lot from each other.

      As for my own qualifications, as I said, my experience is mostly in
      Standard Literary Aramaic, particularly of the Jewish variety, by which
      I mean the Aramaic of the Hebrew Bible, the Qumran material, and the
      Targums of Onqelos and Jonathan (quite a diverse bunch, but still
      usefully grouped I think). I got my start in Aramaic with some work on
      Syriac texts, and I've dabbled a bit recently in Jewish Palestinian
      Aramaic. Currently, I'm reading for Ph.D. comps in Northwest Semitic
      Languages, which includes (among other things) the biblical Aramaic
      corpus, the Genesis Apocryphon, the Aramaic Enoch literature, and Targum
      Jonathan to 2 Samuel.

      I hope this will be an enjoyable experience for us all. I have some
      experience moderating, but this will be my first solo venture. Your
      patience and cooperation are appreciated. Feel free to introduce
      yourself or begin posting topics.

      Trevor Peterson
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