Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Language Points to a Population, Right?

Here is a certain article where the language in question is mentioned.

Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

Here is an article she links to:

Review: Christian Palestinian Aramaic and Its Significance to the Western Aramaic Dialect Group
Review by: Christa Müller-Kessler
Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 119, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1999), pp. 631-636 (6 pages)

And here is what Brigit Katz based on that reading says of that language:

Other hidden texts were written in a defunct dialect known as Christian Palestinian Aramaic, a mix of Syriac and Greek, which was discontinued in the 13th century only to be rediscovered by scholars in the 18th century. “This was an entire community of people who had a literature, art, and spirituality,” Phelps tells Gray. “Almost all of that has been lost, yet their cultural DNA exists in our culture today. These palimpsest texts are giving them a voice again and letting us learn about how they contributed to who we are today.”

Now, I don't agree two languages as different as Syriac and Greek can just "mix". Arguably the grammar was mainly at least Syriac and the vocabulary had lots of Greek additions.

But the language did exist, and therefore the community did exist. And if their literature is gone, it could be because the counter-Crusades after Third Crusade failed, eradicated them. But Gaels are Gaels, even if only one % have Gaelic as native language, and Christian Palestinians remain the group Christian Palestinians, even if they were more or less forced to switch to Arabic. Their language prior to that is what early Christians in the Holy Land spoke.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Saint Frances of Rome

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