Saturday, April 03, 2010
It's Easter, and the Christian Science Monitor has an article here on efforts in Syria to retain and revive Aramaic, as there are three villages in the country where the language is still spoken and Syria is understandably proud of being the only country in the world where Aramaic is still spoken. In the midst of the article we find the following:
Rezkallah plans to introduce a new course this summer which, for the first time, will include a textbook using Aramaic to English translations – effectively opening up the institute to non-Arabic speaking students for the first time since it was founded.This textbook will probably end up being the most important development for the language in a long time since a textbook in English then makes it easy to create versions in French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. which are the languages where one finds the largest Christian population as well. It's certainly a bit odd that in spite of the world's 2 billion or so Christians the language of Jesus Christ has been reduced to such a small area, and it may have something to do with the tendency of Christianity to focus on translating the Bible into other languages while giving almost no emphasis to the fact that they are translations from other languages. The existence of a King James Only movement may be another sign that there needs to be a bit more emphasis there.
My advice is simple: just include the original Greek and Hebrew on the right (or left) in every Bible. The majority doesn't need to understand it; it would simply be there to serve as a reminder, and also stoke the curiosity of those who like to delve into the passages in further depth. Something like this, although the Greek could be a bit smaller in comparison (it ended up being pretty big compared to the English here):
An article from 2004 when Rezkallah began the Aramaic program can be read here.