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2012 - The Earliest Syriac in its Aramaic Context

Annual Semitic Philology Lecture - 2012


The Earliest Syriac in its Aramaic Context

Professor John Healey
University of Manchester

5.00pm, Tuesday, 29th May, 2012
Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Sidgwick Site)
Room 8-9


The event will be followed by a reception.


The lecture will discuss and illustrate the earliest surviving "Syriac" inscriptions and documents (1st – 3rd centuries CE) and their significance for our understanding of the emergence of Classical Syriac. By contrast with the almost exclusively Christian literature produced in Classical Syriac, "Old Syriac" was used in a largely pagan context and is to be understood linguistically and culturally in the context of other contemporary epigraphic corpora such as the texts from Palmyra and Hatra. The considerable variation among the Aramaic dialects in this region of Syria and Mesopotamia at this period will be examined, as will the emerging evidence for the later use of Syriac for commercial purposes.