The Origins of the „Exclusive Aramaic Model“ in the 19th Century

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The hypothesis that the Hebrew language had been fully replaced by Aramaic as a spoken language in the time of Jesus has often been accepted among New Testament scholars without further question. However, few today have any detailed knowledge of how and why this hypothesis came into existence in the nineteenth century and on what grounds it was established. Since the question of language use is considered to be of minor importance, students of the New Testament today readily accept the answers to the question provided to them by textbooks and introductions without doubting their factual correctness. In consequence, unlike in the early period of Aramaic research, the widespread acceptance of the “exclusive Aramaic hypothesis” today is increasingly based on second-hand knowledge: while relatively few scholars continue to investigate the linguistic, archeological and historical evidence pertaining to the language question, most others would confijine themselves to the reading of scholarly literature, reiterating the “established results” of earlier generations.

Quelle: Methodological Fallacies and Subtle Motives – The Language Environment of First Century Judaea (Jerusalem Studies in the synoptic Gospels Vol. 2) – hg. von Randall Buth und R. Steven Notley, Leiden: Brill 2014, S. 9-34

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