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Hebrew and Aramaic as Languages of the Zohar

Hebrew and Aramaic as Languages of the Zohar ARAMAIC STUDIES Vol 4.1 (2006): 35-52 © 2006 Sage Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA, and New Delhi) DOI: 10.1177/1477835106066034 http://as.sagepub.com Hebrew and Aramaic as Languages of the Zohar * Y EHUDA L IEBES (translated by Daphne Freedman and Ada Rapoport-Albert) The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, Faculty of Humanities, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Abstract Apart from a few Hebrew sections, most of the Zohar is written in a unique language: an idiosyncratic Aramaic that cannot be classified within the standard division of Aramaic dialects and which was never a spoken language. On these grounds the scholarly literature has labelled it ‘artificial’. The present article challenges this label, arguing that the Aramaic of the Zohar is completely natural. Aramaic was traditionally used for mystical purposes, and the Zohar ’s preference for this language as the best vehicle for advancing its own mystical purpose has been vindicated by the work’s quality and lasting effect. Keywords: Hebrew, Aramaic, Zohar , Kabbalah, mysticism * This is the English version of a Hebrew lecture, delivered to the plenum of the Israeli Academy of the Hebrew Language on 29 November 2004, and adapted from an ealier seminar paper, originally presented by the author http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aramaic Studies Brill

Hebrew and Aramaic as Languages of the Zohar

Aramaic Studies , Volume 4 (1): 35 – Jan 1, 2006

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2006 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1477-8351
eISSN
1745-5227
DOI
10.1177/1477835106066034
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ARAMAIC STUDIES Vol 4.1 (2006): 35-52 © 2006 Sage Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA, and New Delhi) DOI: 10.1177/1477835106066034 http://as.sagepub.com Hebrew and Aramaic as Languages of the Zohar * Y EHUDA L IEBES (translated by Daphne Freedman and Ada Rapoport-Albert) The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, Faculty of Humanities, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Abstract Apart from a few Hebrew sections, most of the Zohar is written in a unique language: an idiosyncratic Aramaic that cannot be classified within the standard division of Aramaic dialects and which was never a spoken language. On these grounds the scholarly literature has labelled it ‘artificial’. The present article challenges this label, arguing that the Aramaic of the Zohar is completely natural. Aramaic was traditionally used for mystical purposes, and the Zohar ’s preference for this language as the best vehicle for advancing its own mystical purpose has been vindicated by the work’s quality and lasting effect. Keywords: Hebrew, Aramaic, Zohar , Kabbalah, mysticism * This is the English version of a Hebrew lecture, delivered to the plenum of the Israeli Academy of the Hebrew Language on 29 November 2004, and adapted from an ealier seminar paper, originally presented by the author

Journal

Aramaic StudiesBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2006

Keywords: KABBALAH; ARAMAIC; MYSTICISM; HEBREW; ZOHAR

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