The Languages of Monotheist Religions: A Linguistic Exploration in a Time of Turmoil in Israel and Palestine (part 1)

The Languages of Holy Texts in Monotheist Religions: A Linguistic Exploration in a Time of Turmoil in Israel/Palestine

Language is an integral aspect of religious identity, and monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are no exception. The sacred texts of these faiths are written in specific languages, each with its unique historical and linguistic characteristics. In this discussion, we will explore the languages of the holy texts in these three major monotheistic religions, examining their commonalities and differences.

The world of so-called “monotheist religions” is indeed primarily a world full of languages, dialects, different scripts, each with different status according to the historical and social context or the political and religious authorities. Most people have heard of “monotheist” religions and languages like Hebrew, Greek, or Arabic. But how many are aware of “holy” or “religious” languages like Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, or Geʿez? And how many people know exactly what the Talmud, the Hadith, the non-canonical Gospels are, and the languages they have been written in? Except for well-versed scholars, who is aware of the difference between “Semitic” and “Indo-European” languages, both of which played a critical role in the history of these religions? In this series of short notes, I will attempt to provide some explanations on the so-called monotheistic religions.

 

A chart of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic abjads and alphabets (class handout).

Source of this picture: Sean Manning’s website.

 



Cite this blog post
Baudry Pierre (2023, October 26). The Languages of Monotheist Religions: A Linguistic Exploration in a Time of Turmoil in Israel and Palestine (part 1). Deciphering international politics - religion, economics and international affairs. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/ve08

Baudry Pierre

Ph.D. CNRS/EPHE (Paris), Assistant professor.

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