Diaspora / Hebrew / Hebrew Letters / Jewish History / Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

The language of the Jews in Babylon

Those of you who are interested in finding out more about the Talmud should definitely read THE ESSENTIAL TALMUD by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The book is for beginners as well as advanced people. Easy to understand and teaching about the history of the Talmud and it’s structure:
On page 18, Rabbi Steinsaltz mentions a very interesting subject: The language of the Jews who, after the destruction of the First Temple, were forced into exile by the Babylonians. How then did the Jews communicate in Babylon and what kind of language did the Babylonians use ? 
Generally speaking, the Babylonians in those days were using an Aramaic dialect similar to the spoken Aramaic of the Jews. There were only minor differences in terms of dialect and accent but the two sides understood each other.
The Hebrew language even survived the Babylonian dispora but it was only spoken by Jewish scholars. The common Jew living in Babylon was not able to speak or understand Hebrew but only communicated in Aramaic.
I find this subject extremely interesting because when you look at all the Jewish historical sites in Jerusalem, of course you start asking yourself how those people lived more then 2000 or even 3000 years ago. What did they eat ? How was there daily life and what language did they use ? However, once you find out, you start realizing that they were not so much different from us today. At least in terms of food. 🙂

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