The Aramaic of Qumran

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Eric Reymond



The recent publication of A Grammar of Qumran Aramaic by T. Muraoka provides a much-needed analysis of this important corpus of Aramaic texts. The grammar treats not only the corpus of texts found near Wadi Qumran, collectively known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, but also texts from neighboring regions along the Dead Sea, including Wadi Murabba’at and Naḥal Ḥever. (Collectively, these texts represent some of the most important sources of information about Aramaic from this period of time.) The book is thorough and well written and represents the first in-depth grammar of these texts; it goes well beyond the only other existing grammar, that of Ursula Schattner-Rieser, L’araméen des manuscrits de la mer Morte: I. Grammaire. Muraoka’s grammar lists copious textual citations that give a reader the sense that the observations are backed up by solid data. All the same, it does not attempt to state more than the evidence can allow. The thoroughness of the treatment allows one to compare afresh some points of contact between the grammar of these texts and that of the Hebrew scrolls. Despite the usefulness of this grammar and the nuance with which it is realized, the grammar does contain some points of confusion and inconsistency, some of which are outlined below.

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