Tigay, J.H. [1996: Deuteronomy (The JPS Torah Commentary)] comments that the Hebrew ארמי אבד אבי is alliterative, “which would facilitate memorization of this phrase. This would keep the memory of Israel’s landless beginnings fresh in the farmer’s memory”. Tigay 1996, 240 see: Yigal Levin – “My Father was a Wandering Aramean”: Biblical Views of the Ancestral Relationship between Israel and Aram
ארמי, “Aramean”, has been understood as an adjective that refers to that said ancestor, calling him either a native Aramean, an Aramaic-speaker, a wanderer, a Gentile or an idolworshipper.
Scholars reckon the phrase was the confession of the early Israelite tribesman. It was a kind of cultic signifier, expressing a sense of belonging; a phrase around which a people could form. "A wandering Aramean was my father." It goes back to at least the 12th century BC, and probably a lot further. The name "Aram" has been found in one of the oldest examples of writing, the Mari texts of the 18th century BC. That would date the phrase to at least 2000 BC and probably before. see
this “Aram” is much lower down the genealogical line than was the “Aram” in the Table of Nations (Gen 10:22–23, which the Greek renders Αραμ, rather than Σύρων). There Aram was the fifth son of Shem and the father of Uz; here he is Uz’ nephew. This is exactly the type of “fluidity” that is inherent in ancient genealogies, of which there are quite a few examples in the Bible as well. ... “Aram” of Gen 10 could be seen to represent the main branch of the NW Semitic peoples, while this “Aram” (og Genesis 20) might represent the more limited Aramean state or states within Syria, in the area of Ḥaran. See Y. Levin above
The traditional ketubah (marriage contract) and [Get] Jewish divorce document are also in Aramaic. The same is true of many hymns and prayers, such as the first paragraph of the Passover Haggadah, "This is the bread of our affliction"; the wonderful song about the goat at the end of the seder, Chad Gadya; the prayer for the dead, known as the kaddish; and various other prayers and synagogue liturgy. see
The purpose remains unchanged: to free Aramaic from an ancillary role in the shadow of the Hebrew Bible and to unveil its contribution to the formation and exchange of ideas, customs, and traditions in the entire Near East. Being the primary medium of law, administration, and religious literature between the period of the ancient world empires and the rise of Islam, Aramaic united peoples and cultural groups of diverse origins and left them a lasting heritage. Owing to its fragmentation across different academic fields, however, the unifying force that consists in its linguistic history often remains opaque; the present book envisages to trace the continuity of Aramaic through shifting political and social conditions.
See: Aramaic - A History of the First World Language, Holger Gzella 5/26/2021
Targum - Aramaic translations otf the Bible:
Because the old translations are much closer to the original text than the medieval biblical manuscripts and the early printed editions that were based on them, they often contain indirect clues to the correct interpretation, and not just as regards the presumed original meaning of a word. Sometimes also the translator correctly rendered an expression from the still uncorrupted original text, while copyists introduced mistakes into the expression that would be perpetuated in later manuscripts by other copyists. The closer to the original texts, the better. This approach was called philologia sacra and reached its zenith in the great “polyglot Bibles” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: multilingual editions whose stately folios combined the Hebrew text with Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and even Arabic translations.
Aramaic - all the way to India -
Walk into any Indian restaurant and you can have your pick of tandoori dishes, a name that derives from Aramaic tannur “oven,” brought to South Asia by the Persian Empire. ... The New Testament’s talitha kum, Aramaic for “arise, girl,” was left unchanged in the Greek text of Mark 5:41 as a ritual phrase and still appears that way in English translations.
- The Latin alphabet used by billions of people today for writing English and numerous other languages derives from the Semitic alphabet that emerged three thousand years ago. Although the Phoenician language gets much of the credit for introducing the alphabet, it is through the much more widely used Aramaic that the alphabet became ubiquitous.
- The label of Aramaic as “the first world language” in the book’s title recognizes the fact that Aramaic, in the middle of the first millennium BCE, became a lingua franca for an enormous area of the world including the Near East, northern Africa, and parts of Europe—the entire territory of the Persian Empire and some regions beyond. The reasons for the expansion of Aramaic are many and complicated—read the book!—but one can trace the language from being an administrative language for Assyria and Babylonia before to the everyday spoken-on-the-street-by-the-multitudes language in the following centuries. Indeed, we know that this was not yet the case around 700 BCE from an obscure biblical story: when Assyria invaded Judah during the reign of Hezekiah, the Assyrian emissary shouted to the people of Jerusalem to surrender. But the king’s servants replied, “Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall” (2 Kings 18:26).
In the 1st millennium B.C.E., Aramaic functioned as a lingua franca in ancient Near East. Aramaic is the best-attested and longest attested member of the Northwest Semitic subfamily of the languages, which includes Hebrew, Phoenician, Ugaritic, Moabite, Ammonite, and Edomite. Aramaic was named after the ancient Arameans, among whom it originated; they lived in what is today Syria at the same time that the Israelites were establishing in Canaan in the late 2nd millennium B.C.E. The language was spread, eventually becoming the language of government and international communication throughout the Near East, from the time of the Babylonians, who destroyed the Jerusalem temple in the sixth century B.C.E. and continued to extensively employed even after the coming of Greeks until the Arab conquest in the seventh century C.E, long after the Arameans themselves had disappeared.
The Phases of Aramaic
• Early Aramaic 900s BCE 700s BCE \
• Imperial Aramaic 700s BCE 200s BCE / 1,200 years
• Middle Aramaic 200s BCE 200s CE
• Late Aramaic 200s CE 700s CE
• Modern Aramaic 700s CE present
Eric Reymond - What Is Special about Aramaic see
Aramaic, then, is in a splintered and tenuous state. Yet it was the English of its time—a language that united a large number of distinct peoples across a vast region, a key to accessing life beyond one’s village, and a mark of sophistication to many. The Aramaeans—according to Biblical lore named for Noah’s grandson Aram—started as a little-known nomadic group. But they were seekers, and by the 11th century B.C.E. they ruled large swaths of territory in Mesopotamia, encompassing parts of modern-day Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, including, for a spell, the city of Babylon itself. On the basis of this expansion alone, however, theirs would likely have become just one of various languages of the area that briefly enjoyed fame and then vanished in the endless game of musical chairs that was ancient Middle Eastern politics. The Aramaeans themselves were in Babylon only temporarily: In 911 B.C.E., the Assyrians, who spoke a language called Akkadian, ousted them. But the Assyrians unwittingly helped the Aramaeans’ language extinguish their own.
Namely, the Assyrians deported Aramaic-speakers far and wide, to Egypt and elsewhere. The Assyrians may have thought they were clearing their new territory, but this was like blowing on a fluffy milkweed and thinking of it as destruction rather than dissemination: The little seeds take root elsewhere. Aramaic had established itself as the language of authority and cross-cultural discourse in Babylon and beyond, and with language as with much else, old habits die hard. People were soon learning Aramaic from the cradle, no longer just in one ruling city, but throughout the Fertile Crescent stretching from the Persian Gulf through northern Arabia to the Nile. Even the Assyrians found it easier to adjust to Aramaic than to impose Akkadian, just as in the ninth century C.E. Scandinavian Vikings invading England learned English instead of imposing their Norse.
So dominant was Aramaic that the authors of the Bible could assume it was known to any audience they were aware of. Hebrew, for them, was local.
Aramaic truly got around—even to places where no one had ever actually spoken it, in the form of its alphabet, on which both Hebrew and Arabic writing were based. By the time the Persians won the next round of Mesopotamian musical chairs in the 500s B.C.E., Aramaic was so well-entrenched that it seemed natural to maintain it as the new empire’s official language, instead of using Persian. For King Darius, Persian was for coins and magnificent rock-face inscriptions. Day-to-day administration was in Aramaic, which he likely didn’t even know himself. He would dictate a letter in Persian and a scribe would translate it into Aramaic. Then, upon delivery, another scribe would translate the letter from Aramaic into the local language. This was standard practice for correspondence in all the languages of the empire.
The meturgemanim, it can be assumed then, were neither outstanding scholars of the law nor ignorant men. The position they occupied was a middle ground, from which they mediated between the elite learning of the Rabbis and the masses, who were the listeners-consumers of the targum. Modern scholars have not been far wrong in speaking of the meturgemanim as a "professional guild" with its own group consciousness or class consciousness.
Who composed the audience of the meturgemanim? A scholarly consensus numbers among them agricultural workers, artisans and tradesmen, and small merchants—in other words, the "people," as it were—who were too occupied in their daily tasks to study in the bet midrash and were therefore forced to make do with public homilies (in the synagogue and such other occasions as wedding feasts) and with the exertions of the meturgemanim. The targums are therefore an instructive source for learning about the beliefs of the Jewish masses in the first centuries of the Common Era, for a speaker would not address this audience in terms that were foreign to its world view.
The meturgemanim, in addition, are zealous in preserving the honor of the patriarchs and other leaders of the nation. When the text says of Jacob, "Your brother came in stealth (bemirmah (Gen. 27:35]), the targum renders bemirmah as behokhmeta', "astutely." In the targum Moses did not
See: Live Translation: On the Nature of the Aramaic Targums to the Pentateuch AVIGDOR SHINAN Prooftexts
Vol. 3, No. 1, Special Issue on Translation (JANUARY 1983), pp. 41-49 (9 pages) Published by: Indiana University Press
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Mark 5: 41
Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
For modern day movement by Israeli Christians to reclaim their Aramean heritage and language, see: One Israeli Christian is on a mission to reclaim the identity of his people Christians in Israel have been swept into a nationalistic agenda which obscures their true history Nicole Jansezian | April 13, 2022 here