Article

Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek in the Qumran Scrolls

Jan Joosten

in The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199207237
Published online January 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199207237.003.0016

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek in the Qumran Scrolls

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From a linguist's point of view, the Qumran community was situated in the eye of a storm. In the late Second Temple period, Judaea was multilingual and culturally torn. Hebrew was favoured by Jewish nationalism and religious tradition and Aramaic had been the main language of public life, yet Greek had taken a central place in administration and politics. Under the Romans, Latin was added into the mix. Language use was never neutral in this society. At least three different languages are in fact represented in the Qumran library: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Hebrew and Aramaic texts discovered in Qumran are extremely precious to linguists, as they are to students of other disciplines. At the same time they raise a large number of questions. This article outlines some of the fruits of research on Qumran Hebrew and Qumran Aramaic, as well as some of the issues that remain debated.

Keywords: Qumran community; Second Temple; Jewish nationalism; Qumran library; Qumran Hebrew; Qumran Aramaic; Greek language

Article.  11107 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies ; Religion in the Ancient World

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