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Encyclopedia Judaica, Second Edition (21 Volume Set)
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Aramaic - a Jewish language?

Looking for a good Aramaic book?

Aramaic was the lingua franca (common language) of the ancient near east. Not originally a Jewish language, it now exists mostly in Jewish books. There is some Aramaic in the Hebrew Bible (especially in Daniel), and the Talmud is primarily in Aramaic. Some prayers we recite to this day are in Aramaic - most notably the Kaddish. Aramaic and Hebrew share the same alphabet.

Today, Aramaic is not much of a living language. It's spoken by a small number of - believe it or not - Jews, Moslems, and Christians from various parts of the Middle East.

Is it Aramaic, or is it Hebrew?

However, Aramaic lives on in Jewish books. If you're not sure if a text is Hebrew or Aramaic, try this quick rule-of-thumb: Hebrew words have the letter hay in the beginning for a definite article ("the"). The Aramaic equivalent is to put an aleph at the end of the word. For example, "father" in Aramaic is abba. Wait a minute, you say? That's Hebrew? No, it's really Aramaic. The Hebrew word for "father" is av. But just to confuse you, or so you might be excused for thinking, modern Hebrew borrows abba and ima ("mother") from Aramaic!

Books on Aramaic

Here are more books to help you learn, or learn about, Aramaic. Many of them are for serious scholars of Aramaic texts.


A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament: Based upon the Lexical Work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner

by William Lee Holladay


Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Babli, Yerushalmi, and Midrashic Literature

by Marcus Jastrow


Student's Vocabulary for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic

by Larry A. Mitchel


The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Unabridged 2-Volume Study Edition)

by Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner


Aramaic Made EZ

by Daniel Jon Mahar


A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic: The Dialect of the Jews of Arbel

by Geoffrey Khan


Ritual Practices to Gain Power: Angels, Incantations, and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism

by Rebecca Macy Lesses


Grammar of Palestinian Jewish Aramaic

by William B. Stevenson


A Key-Word-In-Context Concordance to Targum Neofiti: A Guide to the Complete Palestinian Aramaic Text of the Torah

by Stephen A. Kaufman, Michael Sokoloff


Qumran and Apocalyptic: Studies on the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

by Florentino Garcia Martinez


Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek Documentary Texts from Nahal Hever and Other Sites: With an Appendix Containing Alleged Qumran Texts

by Hannah M. Cotton, Ada Yardeni


A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzantine Period (Publications of the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project)

by Michael Sokoloff


Literature of Formative Judaism: The Targumim and Other Jewish Writings in Late Antiquity (Origins of Judaism, Vol. 12)

by Jacob Neusner


A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic of the Talmudic and Geonic Periods (Publications of the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project)

by  Michael Sokoloff


A Manual of Babylonian Jewish Aramaic

by David Marcus


Studies in Targum Jonathan to the Prophets

by Pinchas Churgin, Leivy Smolar, Moses Aberbach


Grammar of Palestinian Jewish Aramaic

by William B. Stevenson


Targum Studies, Volume One

by Paul V.M. Flesher


The Targum of Judges

by Willem F. Smelik


Classical Aramaic: Book 1

by Rocco A. Errico, Michael Bazzi


A Grammar of Egyptian Aramaic

by T. Muraoka, Bezalel Porten


The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change

by J. Joel Farber, Cary J. Martin, Gunter Vittmann, Leslie S. B. MacCoull, Sarah Clackson, Simon Hopkins, Ramon Katzoff, Bezalel Porten


Al Kanfei Yonah: Collected Studies of Jonas C. Greenfield on Semitic Philology

by Jonas C. Greenfield, Shalom M. Paul, Michael E. Stone, Avital Pinnick


Studies in the Aramaic legal papyri from Elephantine

by Yochanan Muffs


Studia Aramaica: New Sources and New Approaches

by Markham J. Geller, J. C. Greenfield, M. P. Weitzman

Can't find it here? Try a search on Amazon: Aramaic


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