The Languages of Roman Palestine

Willem Smelik

in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199216437
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

The Languages of Roman Palestine

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Roman History
  • Classical History



This article discusses the various different languages in Roman Palestine. It begins by studying the intersection of the cultural and administrative languages with local vernaculars, which became characteristic of Palestine. It examines the status of vernacular Hebrew and introduces Aramaic, the language that was commonly used by the Jews throughout the Roman period. It takes a look at sociolinguistics, the differentiations in language choice, and late antique epigraphy.

Keywords: language; local vernaculars; cultural languages; administrative languages; vernacular Hebrew; Aramaic; sociolinguistics; language choice; epigraphy

Article.  9304 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History ; Classical History

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