The Syriac Language in the Context of the Semitic Languages

Authored by: Holger Gzella

The Syriac World

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138899018
eBook ISBN: 9781315708195
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter relates Classical Syriac to its wider Semitic and Aramaic matrix. It describes the emergence of Syriac against a variegated background of distinct Aramaic dialects, the Achaemenid Official Aramaic standard language, and Greek in Hellenistic and Roman Syria; its early codification from the regional Aramaic vernacular to the official administrative and representational idiom of the kingdom of Edessa and Osrhoene; and its evolution into the main literary form of expression of Eastern Christianity. Particular attention is paid to an up-to-date classification of Aramaic, the interaction between spoken language and written traditions, and the evaluation of multilingualism in Ancient Syria.

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