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The Legacy of the Aramaeans and the Aramaization of the Middle East

The PEF AGM lecture by John Healey, Manchester University

 

Having briefly outlined the early history of the Aramaeans, Professor Healey will discuss the Aramaization of the Middle East in the period from approximately 900 BCE to 900 CE, showing how the use of Aramaic spread into new areas beyond its original homeland, becoming widespread, for example, in Palestine/Jordan and reaching into northern Arabia and the Gulf. In the Greek and Roman periods it survived the political impact of Greek, often being used alongside the latter (as, for example, in Palmyra). Peoples of Arabian background adopted the Aramaic language and some of its associated culture.

The arrival of the Arabs and subsequently of Islam is traditionally regarded as a process whereby the Fertile Crescent was Arabized: Professor Healey will argue that we can also regard the incoming Arabians as having been at least in part Aramaized through the adoption of the cultural values of the Aramaeans. The most obvious example of this latter process is the adoption of the Aramaic script for the writing of Arabic, but the Aramaeans continued to make their mark on the Islamic world into the Abbasid period through the role the Syriac dialect of Aramaic played in the translation of Greek works into Arabic.

 

This lecture will follow the AGM, which members are allowed to attend. Please be aware, that the AGM may over run and the lecture could be late starting. 

The Palestine Exploration Fund, 2 Hinde Mews, Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2AA
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