Monday, April 05, 2010

More on Maaloula

ARAMAIC WATCH: The BBC has a short video on Aramaic in the Syrian town of Maaloula (Ma'aloula, Malula). (May not be available outside the U.K. Sorry.) Predictably, it is not without errors. It refers to Aramaic as "the world's oldest language," which is odd. It's not even the world's oldest spoken language: Greek and Hebrew go back as far. The video also says that the Aramaic speakers in Maaloula speak "the same dialect" that Jesus spoke. Nonsense. They speak what is very broadly the same language, but hardly the first-century Galilean dialect of Jesus. The piece also mentions the Aramaic Institute there without mentioning that it has been shut down by the government on the grounds that the alphabet looked too much like Hebrew.

Still, it's nice to see Aramaic continuing to get some media attention, even after the Mel Gibson hype of some years ago has died down.