A few sections of Ezra (4:8-6:18;7:12-26) and Daniel (2:4b-7:28) are written in Aramaic. From some of the research that I have read I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s most likely “Official Aramaic”, however I can’t seem to find a good reason why the author would write in Aramaic and Hebrew. I was wondering do you have any thoughts on why the author would write both in Aramiac and Hebrew? Thanks!


I answer this in my book on Daniel. Do you have a copy? If not, you should get one! The reason for inclusion of Aramaic in the books of Ezra and Daniel is clearly different. The reason Ezra has Aramaic text is that the original letters contained in it were in Aramaic. In order to have the Aramaic parts of be in Hebrew would have required that the letters be translated into Hebrew. Because the majority of Jews at that time spoke Aramaic, it would have been superfluos to translate the Aramaic letters. The reason that part of Daniel is in Aramaic is less clear. This requires some speculation. In my book, I speculate that the entire book was in Aramaic and that, for some reason, when an editor collected the final book of Daniel, he decided to include some material in Aramaic and some in Hebrew. I do not know why this was done. This is a bit of a mystery. In my book on Daniel, I speculate the the original of Daniel was written in Aramaic, not Hebrew. My guess (and it is a bit of a guess) is that the book was translated into Hebrew and, for some reason, the editor who produced the text of Daniel which ended up in the Jewish Bible used a combination of the original Aramaic and of the translated Hebrew. It is possible to argue for the reverse, that the Aramaic section was translated from Hebrew, but because Daniel probably spoke Aramaic as his primary language, I argue that the original was in Aramaic. Again, bear in mind that this is speculation.

John Oakes


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