Reviews - What do customers think about Grammar of Palestinian Jewish Aramaic?
Not a Bad Grammar Depite Appearances Feb 1, 2003
Right now there is a dearth of good Aramaic grammars on the market. Excepting Syriac, which can claim Wheeler M. Thackston's "Introduction to Syriac" the Jewish, Old, and Imperial dialects of Aramaic are accessed through grammars which, though in most cases posessing some merit, universally lack many of the qualities of a good grammar or textbook. This little grammar is no exception.
Though the compact size is convenient, the text of this grammar is downright ugly, with vocalizations written in by hand and the English text written on an ancient typewriter. The whole of the text is horribly compact, making it easy to overlook sections when searching for answers. The situation would be intolerable were it not for the fact that the book is organized by numbered paragraph markers. Explanations are painfully brief and assume a good bit of knowledge of Semitic languages (if not knowledge of another dialect of Aramaic) and philological training.
I would have considered this grammar a total loss except that the little bugger does actually have a huge amount of information in it. Being trained as I am at the business of learning dead Semitic languages, I am able to get around with the book and I have rarely been disappointed in my search for an answer to any particular question. The book is careful to show distinctions between Targumic Aramaic and Midrashic Aramaic, both subdialects that come under the umbrella of Palestinian Aramaic. It also frequently references Biblical Aramaic.
Finally, I should note that this book is strictly a reference grammar. It is organized by grammatical structure, and pays no mind to organization in lessons that introduce a student to the language through gradual introduction of concepts based on frequency or ease of learning. There are of course no excercises or glossaries.
Not for the novice, but an Aramaist or Hebraist who wants to dig into the Targums could profit much from this work.
Concise, sharp little grammar, with clear paradigms. Issue! Apr 26, 1999
I acquired this used at a theologue store, found the loss by theft grevious. This sharp, brief little grammar is in English with Hebrew-letter paradigms, is about all one needs for a deep first glance at this language, important for NT and Talmudic studies. Oxford University Press, PLEASE RE-ISSUE this priceless, quite-singular gem of a primer! this helpful, singularly valuable primer!