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Scripture, Privileged Translations of

(7,444 words)

Author(s): Flesher, Paul V.M.
In antiquity, Jews translated their sacred scriptures into two languages: the Greek translations, called the Septuagint, and the Aramaic translations, called the targums. Jews were the first in the Mediterranean world to translate their sacred texts, and they used these translations to study and teach about their relationship with God, to define their world view, and to carry out their liturgical practices. The earliest translated document was the Pentateuch, rendered in Greek in the third century b.c.e. and followed later by the rest of the Hebrew Bible. The translatio…

Aramaic in Judaism, The History of

(7,446 words)

Author(s): Flesher, Paul V.M.
The language of Aramaic first became important to Jews during the Assyrian period. From the eighth century b.c.e., to the fall of the Persian Empire, in the fourth century, Aramaic was the language of three empires that dominated the greater Mesopotamian world, namely, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia. For those four-hundred years, the fortunes of Israel and Judah/Judea were firmly under the control of those empires. Aramaic became so within Judaism during this time that even after Greek became the language of gov…