Jewish Palestinian Aramaic

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Jewish Palestinian Aramaic
Region Levant
Era 150 BCE - 1200 CE
Hebrew alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 jpa
Glottolog pale1261[1]

Jewish Palestinian Aramaic was a Western Aramaic language spoken by the Jews during the Classic Era in the Levant, specifically in Hasmonean, Herodian and Roman Palestine and adjacent lands in the late first millennium BCE and later in Syria Palaestina and Palaestina Secunda in the early first millennium CE. A dialect of this language was spoken by Jesus.[2] The Son of God Text (4Q246), found in Qumran is written in this language as well. Today most Palestinians have ancient Aramaic tribal names which indicate Palestinians converted over the centurys.

There were some differences in dialect between Judea and Galilee, and most surviving texts are in the Galilean dialect: Michael Sokoloff has published separate dictionaries of the two dialects.


After the defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE, the center of Jewish learning in the land of Israel moved to Galilee. With the Arab conquest of the country in the 7th century, Arabic gradually replaced this language.

The most notable text in this dialect's corpus is the Jerusalem Talmud, which is still studied in Jewish religious schools and academically, although not as widely as the Babylonian Talmud, most of which is written in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic. There are some older texts in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, notably the Megillat Taanit: the Babylonian Talmud contains occasional quotations from these.

Many extant manuscripts in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic have been corrupted over the years of their transmission by Eastern Aramaic-speaking scribes freely correcting "errors" they came across (these "errors" actually being genuine Jewish Palestinian Aramaic features). To date, all formal grammars of the dialect fall victim to these corruptions, and there is still no published syntax.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Palestinian Jewish Aramaic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ [shavr "'Passion' Stirs Interest in Aramaic"]. National Public Radio. 25 February 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2011. Jesus would have spoken the local dialect, referred to by scholars as Palestinian Jewish Aramaic, which was the form common to that region, Amar says. 


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