Is Armaic, the mother of Arabic:, or is it the other way around.
Mr fisher’s report off course is relevant to the history of languages; Aramaic arose from Akkadian ( abt 3000 Bc) during 1000 BC and slowly replced by Assyrian which in turn got evolved into modern arabic abt 400 AD.The linguistic divisions off course is based on Biblical races–semitic, japhetic, hametic finalised in 19 th century and directly fed into the worst racial messacre ever’ Holocaust’. Racism based linguistic is the most toxic poison/fraud against ‘ human right/dignity’. Please do understand that these languge terminologies are ” pure myth”and dont exist in Qoran or real history Also we need to remember that the ‘ Hebrew ‘ was not a language of ADAM/EVE–a myth; hebrew is a new language as of abt 200 AD and is NOT INFLECTED but analytical or isolating type unlkike Aramaic, akkadian, assyrian or arabic–all ” inflected’ in structure /grammer.
In the time of jesus ( mythical time) abut 100 AD aramaic was already evolved/ replaced by Assyrian all over mideast so Mythical jesus (If real ) spoke the new assyrian not Aramaic–as is claimed by those small hamlets-which claim this for political/ecnomic reason–keeping the tourist bussiness. Historians dont accept a historical jesus or even Moses, David, Soloman etc.
Language history must be rearranged to get rid of racism; Based on grammer/regions/chronology–we do have new classification ( ch 17–urdu/hindi an artificial divide–african heritage) that links man and his language to africa for abt 100,000 yrs.
But history of scripts is some thing different than the spoken speach. Aramaic is the mother script that was desiminted by phoenician-arabs-lebonese ( abt 1000BC) all over- thus modern english, hindi, greek, urdu, arabic etc are its well known daughters–( all accept it).
History of biblical prophets must be seen as ” MYTH” and so are ‘ semitic’ and non semitic races or languages.The language of Jesus still spoken in tiny Syrian village
Only 18,000 people left who speak Aramaic, an ancient Semitic language
Matthew Fisher, CanWest News Service
- MA’ALOULA, Syria — There are few places on Earth today where Jesus might be more at home at Christmas than in this tranquil village of clay houses and stone grottos etched into the side of a cliff on the eastern slope of Al-Qalamoun Mountain overlooking an arid valley of olive groves a few kilometres off the heavily travelled main road between Damascus and Aleppo.
- The 5,000 residents of Ma’aloula are among the last 18,000 speakers of Aramaic, the ancient Semitic language that Jesus used to preach to the apostles. The language is also spoken in two smaller villages nearby and in isolated communities in Iraq, Turkey and Iran.
- Maaloulians begin festivities to commemorate the birth of Jesus at dusk on Dec. 9 with special chants. This marks the beginning of a 15-day fast during which no meat and no dairy products are consumed. On Christmas Eve, which is usually bitterly cold, there is a complete fast to represent Christ’s sacrifice, followed by an evening feast at which presents are given to all the village children, followed by a night of praying and dancing.
- Christmas is one of the most treasured times for Rana Wehbe, who greets visitors to Ma’aloula’s Byzantine Convent of St. Serge and St. Bacchus.
- After chanting the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic for a small group of visitors, Wehbe sang a hauntingly beautiful song in Aramaic that she said was from the funeral of Jesus.
“Jesus of life, you have been put in a tomb. The angels of heaven keep wondering,” was how the 23-year-old student translated the words into English after conducting a tour of the Byzantine convent, which was built between 315 AD and 325 AD with local cedar trees and marble imported from Italy and has what is believed to be the oldest surviving altar in all of Christendom.
“Sometimes when I am chanting, the people start to cry. It is at such moments that I really feel as if I am close to Jesus,” Wehbe said.
- One of the ironies of life in a village that makes a modest livelihood out of its Christian connections is that by a margin of nearly two to one, more Muslims than Christians still speak the language of Christ, although churches outnumber mosques by eight to two. The Christians of Ma’aloula are further divided between Greek Catholic believers such as Wehbe and those who follow Greek Orthodox teachings.
- However, true to Christ’s teachings and unlike most of the world, the various faiths here have generally gotten along well for many centuries.
- “As kids, I participated in Christmas every year. I even used to do the Christian chants,” said Amas Kamar Mallwola, 23, a Muslim who grew up attending the same Arab-language school as Wehbe.
- “I have no problem with this because Jesus Christ was a prophet just as Mohammad was. I am happy to speak a language so few speak and to speak a language of the prophet, Jesus Christ.”
- While Christmas is a special time in Ma’aloula, it is not the community’s greatest annual Christian celebration. That occurs Sept. 14 when bonfires are lighted atop the surrounding hills and wheels of fire are rolled down into the valleys to recall the time in the 4th century when Christians found the cross of Jesus in Jerusalem and lighted fires on hilltops to carry the news as quickly as possible to Constantinople.
Although Ma’aloula is Aramaic’s strongest redoubt and the dialect spoken here is believed by German scholars to be the most closely related to that which was spoken by Jesus of Nazareth, it is a subject of intense debate whether Jesus would actually understand the Aramaic spoken in Ma’aloula today.
Locals such as Wehbe and the village’s mayor, Azar Sikris Barkil, are convinced that they could have spoken with the Al Masih as the Messiah is known in Aramaic. The convent’s superior, Father Toufik Eid, who is from Lebanon, is not so sure.
“The difficulty with saying that Jesus would understand this is that every language evolves and this one has had 2,000 years to evolve,” said Father Eid. “We believe that Jesus spoke Aramaic, but he also spoke Hebrew, and possibly Greek and Latin.”
The Aramaic spoken by Jesus in Mel Gibson’s controversial film The Passion of the Christ, was written by a Catholic priest and academic from California.
Nobody in Ma’aloula has apparently seen the film. However, those who had seen brief clips from it said that they could not understand any of what was said to be Aramaic.
- Written texts in Aramaic have been found from the eastern Mediterranean to China. It was at one time the lingua franca of the Persian Empire and the language of the Jews of Palestine. Much of the Old Testament was written in Aramaic as was the Gospel of St. Matthew. The written language died out after Queen Zenobia, who ruled Roman Palmyra, which extended from Turkey to Egypt in the 3rd century, lost her empire when her Roman allies seized her and her sons and carried them off to Italy because she had tried to expand her empire into Asia Minor without their permission.
- Over the centuries, it gradually succumbed as a spoken language to Persian, Turkish, Hebrew and especially Arabic. Still, Aramaic’s influence continues today in the alphabets of Hebrew and Arabic. Curiously, among the words still shared by all three languages are the Aramaic word “slm” which means peace.
- Preserving Aramaic, which nobody in Ma’aloula has written for tens of generations, has become something of a cause for Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad. His government supported the establishment of an Aramaic-language school in 2003. About 150 students between the ages of 7 and 50 are now taught there by a staff of 10 teachers.
- Laughing conspiratorially along with her old school chum, Amas Kamar Mallwola, Rana Wehbe said: “We speak this language so that nobody can understand us. If we stay in this village we will still be speaking Aramaic 100 years from now.”
© The Edmonton Journal 2005