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Fwd: Re: [Synoptic-L] Hebrew parables

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  • Marc Turnage
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    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2004
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      --- Marc Turnage <marcturnage@...> wrote:
      > Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 09:48:19 -0800 (PST)
      > From: Marc Turnage <marcturnage@...>
      > Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Hebrew parables
      > To: notley@...
      >
      > Jack Poirier wrote:
      >
      > "Their motivation, of
      > course, was the ideologically freighted contention
      > that all matters
      > connected to the Torah must be formulated in the
      > holy
      > language. That
      > the Mishnah, which is representative of the
      > linguistic
      > ideology of
      > second-, third-, and fourth-century Palestinian
      > rabbinic leadership..."
      >
      > Jack,
      >
      > Notley has already noted the linguistic difference
      > between Mishnaic Hebrew and biblical Hebrew, as well
      > as the dialectical nature of Mishnaic Hebrew as
      > evidenced by the Aramaisms in the language. I would
      > also add the number of Grecisms that penetrate into
      > Mishnaic Hebrew indicate the colloquial and
      > dialectical nature of the language--incidentally
      > this
      > was a linguistic intrusion avoided by the Qumran
      > community who sought to reflect a more biblical
      > dialect and idiom. Given both the Aramaisms and the
      > Grecisms that appear in Mishnaic Hebrew it would
      > seem
      > evident that we are dealing with a trilingual land.
      > Moreover, your suggestion that rabbinic literature
      > has
      > undergone a wholesale linguistic censor does not
      > even
      > fit with the evidence of the Mishnah, which
      > preserves
      > some sages sayings (e.g., Jose ben Yoezer and Hillel
      > the Elder) in Aramaic. Furthermore, it has already
      > been noticed that within Mishnaic Hebrew one can
      > observe linguistic development moving from Hebrew
      > akin
      > to late-biblical Hebrew into a clearly distinct
      > "Mishnaic" Hebrew. This would hardly seem possibly
      > or
      > likely if a select group of scholars sat down to
      > unify
      > the language of the sages teachings.
      >
      > Also, on a methodological note, not one Aramaic (or
      > I
      > may add Hebrew) text or inscription appears in
      > excavations from the Galilee in the first century.
      > While texts and inscriptions appear in Greek,
      > Hebrew,
      > and Aramaic the south from the first century. While
      > it has been sugested that Hebrew held on in the
      > south,
      > as evidenced by both Josephus' and Paul's address of
      > the Jerusalem mob in Hebrew in order to be
      > understood
      > by the population of the city, scholars have
      > maintained that Aramaic and Greek were the only
      > languages in the Galilee. In order to support this
      > suggestion, however, they must appeal to 2nd, 3rd,
      > and
      > 4th century materials ignoring the fact that all
      > evidence points to social shifts and upheavals in
      > the
      > Galilee after the Bar Kochba revolt in the second
      > century C.E. Moreover, isn't this trying to do with
      > the material remains what NT scholarship has
      > resisted
      > with the literary evidence of early Tannaitic
      > literature? Our only witness to the linguistic
      > nature
      > of the land of Israel in the first century
      > (including
      > the Galilee) comes from the literary sources.
      > Ironically, although appearing in later rabbinic
      > texts, the language of most of the Tannaim of the
      > first century who originated from the Galilee is in
      > Hebrew.
      >
      > Regards,
      > Marc Turnage
      >
      >
      >
      > --- "John C. Poirier" <poirier@...> wrote:
      > > Steven Notley wrote:
      > >
      > > > I would be interested in knowing your
      > > understanding of what motivated
      > > the Jewish
      > > > community en bloc to translate every single one
      > > of these early
      > > "Aramaic" parables to
      > > > Hebrew (even in otherwise Aramaic contexts),
      > when
      > > the development of
      > > the language
      > > > after the Bar Kokhba revolt clearly points us
      > in
      > > the direction of
      > > transition to Aramaic
      > > > (and away from Hebrew), not the reverse.
      > >
      > > Steve,
      > >
      > > First, I would debate your contention that "the
      > > development of the
      > > language after the Bar Kokhba revolt clearly
      > points
      > > us in the direction
      > > of transition to Aramaic (and away from Hebrew)."
      > > Scholarship is
      > > sharply divided on what effect the Bar Kokhba
      > revolt
      > > had on the
      > > vernacular of Jewish Palestine: Segal, Rabin, and
      > > Gafni all think that
      > > Aramaic came more into prominence after the
      > revolt,
      > > but Yadin and Ros´┐Żn
      > > have argued the opposite view: that the Bar Kokhba
      > > revolt brought about
      > > a shift from Aramaic to Hebrew. I personally
      > don't
      > > think the revolt had
      > > much effect at all: I think that there was a shift
      > > from Aramaic to
      > > Hebrew, but that it actually occurred much later.
      > >
      > > As for what motivated the "Jewish community en
      > bloc
      > > to translate" all
      > > the parables, I would first point out that we
      > aren't
      > > dealing with the
      > > "Jewish community en bloc" but only with a very
      > > small portion of it: the
      > > leaders of the fledgeling rabbinic movement.
      > Their
      > > motivation, of
      > > course, was the ideologically freighted contention
      > > that all matters
      > > connected to the Torah must be formulated in the
      > > holy language. That
      > > the Mishnah, which is representative of the
      > > linguistic ideology of
      > > second-, third-, and fourth-century Palestinian
      > > rabbinic leadership, was
      > > compiled in a language that sometimes differed
      > from
      > > the native language
      > > of its component traditions has been argued by
      > > Catherine Hezser: e.g.,
      > > "If informal and private written notes existed,
      > the
      > > language of these
      > > notes may have been Aramaic rather than Hebrew.
      > > This phenomenon may be
      > > indicated by Y. Kil. 1:1, 27a, where an Aramaic
      > list
      > > of various kinds of
      > > produce allegedly written 'on the wall' (of the
      > > house or study room?) of
      > > Hillel b. Alem is quoted, which appears in Hebrew
      > in
      > > M. Kil. 1:1" ("The
      > > Mishnah and Ancient Book Production," in *The
      > > Mishnah in Contemporary
      > > Perspective*, eds. Alan J. Avery-Peck and Jacob
      > > Neusner (Handbook of
      > > Oriental Studies: Near and Middle East 65; Leiden:
      > > Brill, 2002) 167-92,
      > > esp. 179).
      > >
      > > It is not my contention that the translation
      > process
      > > was "carried out by
      > > widely dispersed Jewish communities," but only by
      > > the handful of editors
      > > responsible for the passage of rabbinic tradition
      > > through the centuries
      > > in question, most of them located in Tiberias.
      > >
      > >
      > > John C. Poirier
      > > Middletown, Ohio
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Synoptic-L Homepage:
      > > http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      > > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      >
      >
      > __________________________________
      > Do you Yahoo!?
      > Yahoo! Finance: Get your refund fast by filing
      > online.
      > http://taxes.yahoo.com/filing.html
      >


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