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Why does Hebrew and Greek appear in Pilatos' sign?
Shlama Akhay Brian & Distazo,

Brian - my parents, 2 sisters and 1 brother spoke/speak Aramaic perfectly. But none of them ever learned how to read and write it. In fact, in my immediate family only my maternal grandmother and I ever learned it. No uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., even though all are perfectly proficient in speaking and understanding it.

When my parents were in school in Lebanon, they obviously learned Arabic. They used to write Aramaic in the Arabic script. Both my sisters grew up there, so the same thing.

My younger brother and I were born here. We never learned Arabic. But we did of course learn the Latin script used to write English. We often send emails or text messages to each other in the Aramaic language, but using this same Latin script you are reading. Assyrians in Russia use the Cyrillic script.

My paternal uncle and his sons who lived in Greece in the 70s used to send my dad letters in Aramaic, but using the Greek script (he had a friend who was Greek read them to him.)

Search google for Assyrian forums and you'll find quite a few posts that are Aramaic, but in Latin (English) script.

I'm ashamed to say, but 90% of Aramaic speakers today cannot read and write in their own language. That's been going on for centuries.

In any case, I said all this to answer your question regarding historical and cultural settings during that time. Many people may not have been able to read the Aramaic script, but could do so in Latin or Greek characters (without the need to understand the Greek or Latin languages themselves.)

The name for this phenomenon, btw, is Garshuni.

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Jews in the Middle East used to write Arabic in Hebrew script, also. That's because when their lingua Franca changed from Aramaic to Arabic, they still used their own script to write Arabic.

To summarize, language and script are not always the same thing. Just look at the Targums on this site. Many different scripts have and continue to be used to write the Aramaic language. As far back as the empire where they wrote it in cuneiform.

If you're not confused yet, allow me to throw another monkey wrench into it. What's commonly referred to as "Hebrew script" isn't Hebrew at all. In fact, it is Aramaic. The square script. If you want to see the original Hebrew writing, take a look at the Torah of the Samaritans. They have preserved the old Hebrew script.

Why is the Aramaic script called "Hebrew?" For the same reason the Aramaic language back then was called "Hebrew", because the Hebrews used it. Simple.

So yes, they spoke "Hebrew" back then. And the sign was in "Hebrew." Which is really Aramaic.

Today Assyrians tell you they speak "Assyrian", even though it bears no semblance to the old Akkadian language that was known as Assyrian. They are actually speaking Neo-Aramaic. But this has become known today as "Assyrian." Why? It's simple, because that's who speaks it.


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Re: Why does Hebrew and Greek appear in Pilatos' sign? - by Paul Younan - 04-13-2013, 03:04 PM

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