Biblical Aramaic Resources

Recommended by Daily Dose of Aramaic
Aramaic GrammarsOther Resources

Teaching Grammars

Biblical Aramaic for Biblical Interpreters
by Scott N. Callaham

The teaching videos of Daily Dose of Aramaic are keyed to this textbook, which wields a reader’s preexisting Hebrew knowledge as an ideal tool to construct a “language bridge” to Aramaic. Since it comprehensively reviews Hebrew grammar as it teaches Aramaic, this book benefits everyone in biblical language study programs and facilitates biblical interpretation through all Old Testament texts. Aramaic need no longer be an outlier field of study for specialists only!

Available in English and in Chinese

An Introduction to Aramaic, 2nd edition
by Frederick E. Greenspahn

As the title implies, this textbook introduces Aramaic as a language, though focus indeed remains mostly upon the Aramaic texts in the Bible. In line with its broader linguistic orientation, the book modifies some biblical texts to simplify teaching grammatical concepts and introduces students to non-vocalized Aramaic literature such as the Targums and Dead Sea Scrolls. This is both a textbook and a workbook, and an answer key to exercises appears conveniently at the end of the book.

Also in English and in Korean

An Introduction to Biblical Aramaic
by Andreas Schuele

Schuele’s intent in this textbook is to make the scholarship and insights of Rosenthal’s standard grammar more accessible to students. There are appendices that introduce extrabiblical Aramaic texts. Like Greenspahn’s work, this is both a textbook and a workbook, and it maintains its usefulness as a reference work after one’s first reading of the book.

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Basics of Biblical Aramaic
by Miles V. Van Pelt

Written as a follow-on to Basics of Biblical Hebrew by Pratico and Van Pelt, this textbook mirrors the former work’s method of biblical language study. Therefore, Van Pelt treats the verbal system sequentially by stem, running through the perfect, the imperfect, the imperative, and so forth, of each stem for both strong and weak verbal roots before moving on to other stems. The book reproduces all Aramaic biblical texts, along with reading notes and a glossary. A set of video lectures is available for purchase to accompany the book.

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Intermediate Grammars

A Short Grammar of Biblical Aramaic
by Alger F. Johns

Now that the above elementary grammars are available for introducing Biblical Aramaic, classic works such as Johns may more appropriately shift to the “intermediate” category. Johns strikes a pleasing balance between comprehensiveness, technicality, and student-friendliness, and this book maintains its value as a reference work. An advantage to using this textbook is the availability of An Annotated Answer Key to Alger Johns’s A Short Grammar of Biblical Aramaic by James N. Jumper.

Available in English and in Korean

A Biblical Aramaic Reader, 2nd revised edition
by Takamitsu Muraoka

Developed for use in Muraoka’s itinerant teaching ministry and drawing upon philological sensitivity developed over a lengthy career of abundant contributions to Semitic studies, this handbook is especially useful when teaching an intensive course with students who are already well-trained in Biblical Hebrew. This orientation prepares students to read Biblical Aramaic texts, for which this book provides helps.

A Grammar of Biblical Aramaic, 7th expanded edition by Franz Rosenthal

Rosenthal is the essential, standard intermediate Biblical Aramaic grammar. Its depth of technical detail makes it a valuable resource for becoming familiar with the language beyond the introductory level. However, its treatment of grammatical issues in dense paragraphs can, in practical terms, render it rather difficult to use below the level of doctoral studies.

Also available in French and Persian.

Biblical Aramaic and Related Dialects: An Introduction
by Edward Cook

This textbook excels at drawing students into the study of Biblical Aramaic as a language of the Ancient Near East. For an illustration of grammatical points and for inductive learning through reading, Qumran and Egyptian Aramaic texts appear alongside biblical texts throughout the book. Although the back cover advertises the book for introductory-level use, its depth of detail commends it as perhaps the best intermediate-level Biblical Aramaic textbook now available.

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Reference Grammars

Grammatik des Biblisch-Aramäischen
by Hans Bauer and Pontus Leander

Bauer and Leander’s reference grammar of Biblical Aramaic remains a standard reference, despite its age and concomitant use of superseded terminology.

Altaramäische Grammatik
by Stanislav Segert

Segert analyzes the grammar of various ancient dialects of Aramaic, including the Aramaic attested in biblical texts. Coverage of linguistic data is both broad and deep. A helpful chrestomathy and glossary appear at the end of the book.

HANDBOOKS

Aramaic Ezra and Daniel: A Handbook on the Aramaic Text
by John A. Cook

Cook’s textual commentary is grounded in modern linguistic analysis rather than traditional philology. Aware that many readers approach the book without prior training in linguistics, Cook provides an orientation to his analytical categories and the major linguistic issues he addresses in Biblical Aramaic. This book fills a previous gap in literature; hence it has become an essential resource for interpretation of the biblical passages it treats.

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Biblical Aramaic: A Reader and Handbook
edited by Donald R. Vance, et al.

This book is indeed both a valuable reader and a handbook, in that it contains all the passages of Biblical Aramaic and supplies detailed reading notes. While there are other “readers” in existence, this one is especially helpful for its focus on grammatical analysis, in that the book provides materials such as categorized word lists that aid the reader in developing a feel for the language.

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LEXICONS AND DICTIONARIES

Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, Vol. 16: Aramaic Dictionary
edited by Holger Gzella

Crowning the venerable TDOT series is this final volume on Aramaic. As a theological dictionary, it does not profile “grammar words” like prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, and particles. However, most of the remaining vocabulary of Biblical Aramaic receives at least paragraph-length treatment. These entries place Biblical Aramaic firmly within the context of other formerly living Semitic languages of the Ancient Near East and cast further light upon semantic issues for the biblical interpreter.

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Also available in the original German

The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament
edited by Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, and Johann J. Stamm

This standard academic lexicon for Biblical Hebrew (HALOT) also covers the Aramaic of the Old Testament. Although more expensive than classic lexicons of the past, its importance is difficult to understate.

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Also available in the original German

A Lexicon of Biblical Aramaic edited by Ernst Vogt

This lexicon is naturally focused exclusively upon Aramaic, unlike HALOT, and it is more affordable. The “clarification” mentioned in the subtitle has to do with the consultation of extrabiblical Aramaic literature.

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Also available in the original Latin

OVERVIEW OF SYNTACTICAL ISSUES

Advances in the Study of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic
by Benjamin J. Noonan

Noonan provides a reader-friendly orientation to the state of scholarship on the major issues of Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic grammar and syntax. He takes into account the valuable contributions of scholars who write in languages other than English. Intermediate to advanced students of Hebrew and Aramaic should consider this book required reading.

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READING AID

Keep Up Your Biblical Aramaic in Two Minutes a Day
edited by Jonathan G. Kline

Written very much in the same spirit as Daily Dose of Aramaic, this book helpfully provides short Biblical Aramaic readings for every day of the year.

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From the Video Blog

Textbook

Welcome to the grammar learning sessions of Daily Dose of Aramaic. I'm Scott Callahan and I've written a textbook: Biblical Aramaic for Biblical Interpreters that I have specifically designed to meet the learning needs of students. I recommend using this textbook to...

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