[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re: Yiddish - medieval Ebonics? (fwd)

Poster: clevin@ripco.com (Craig Levin)

Forwarded message:

> Poster: GaryH2018@aol.com
<major snip>
> AFAIK Hebrew died out as a *spoken* language sometime in the Second or Third
> Century BCE.  Hebrew was the language of scholarship and religion - pretty
> much as Latin was for the Christians.  So Jews had been using the local
> vernacular as their primary language for some time before the Middle Ages.  I
> suspect (without knowing) that the percentage of Jews who could speak Hebrew
> was similiar to the percentage of Christians who spoke Latin.

Worng. Most Jews would have had to have known Hebrew, because the
basic religious education for Jews has been conducted by teaching
the child Hebrew, and then introducing the child to the Torah and
the Talmud, all of which are in Hebrew. Unlike the Mass, where
the average person is a spectator, watching the priest do stuff
in the front of the church, the Jew is an active participant.
There is nothing a rabbi can do that any other Jew cannot do,
including the conducting of services; this is, in fact, the point
behind the bar mitzvah.

While one would not have spoken it on a regular basis, it would
have remained familiar to the Jew. Also, in the time when much of
the long-distance commerce was being conducted by Jews, the
correspondence and negotiations were carried out in Hebrew. After
non-Jewish merchants got into the act, and pushed the Jews out,
Hebrew became restricted, more or less, to use in the ritual and
intellectual realms, until the founding of Israel.

Craig Levin
List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://merryrose.atlantia.sca.org/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org