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The Aramaeans and Nineveh

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Fred Aprimmoderator

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The Aramaeans and Nineveh

Jan-04-2002 at 00:56 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Let me start this post by asking, what does the opinion of a missionary, like Grant for example, who claimed that the Assyrians were in fact Jews, worth? It could worth something for some but it could mean nothing for others. As far as Assyrians are concerned, Grants theory is just like that; another claim and the claims and theories out there on every single topic are plentiful, as we know. And are all claims factual? Well, may be but again may be not. Why do many writers prefer to create a controversy with issues that could be looked at in a much simpler manner? We cannot tell what the motives of people such as Grant were! But we know that writers look for personal glory and they rather build controversy, which is almost always the key for attracting attention and interest in most cases.

The theory or claim that the Christians of Mosul region are Aramaeans and not Assyrians based on the reason that the Assyrians abandoned their original Akkadian language and adopted the Aramaic language is indeed strange. Few of special interest has propagated such claim including John Joseph and I personally do not see it more than another theory, no more no less. The facts regarding the Aramaean society are well documented. They are based on thorough studies that agree on the general understanding that the structure of the Aramaean society was based around family kinships stuck together in some almost primitive manner. The Aramaeans never established an empire to the true sense of the word; they did not have that political or cultural cohesiveness necessary for survival as a political and national people.

Let us read a typical paragraph describing this general understanding: "Many problems beset scholarly understanding of the appearance of the Aramaeans. Partly it is connected with the fact that the general designation 'Aramaeans' masks the fact that they are not a unified group, except in terms of their language." (The Ancient Near East: c. 3000-330 BC. Volume II. Amelie Kuhrt. London. First published 1995, reprinted 1998. p. 393)

Later the author, in that scholarly work, says that it existed in Syria small states that were literally called Bet, i.e. house, like "the House of Adin" (Bet Adini, modern Tell Ahmar) or "the House of Gusi" (Bet Agusi, north of Aleppo), states that were derived from a prominent member of a dominant family. In addition, there existed small kingdoms like Damascus and Hamath. The Assyrian and Old Testament evidence confirm that some principalities were in some sense Aramaean by defining them as "Aram Damascus". (The Ancient Near East: c. 3000-330 BC. Volume II. Amelie Kuhrt. London. First published 1995, reprinted 1998. p. 394)

Indeed, the Aramaeans were present in Babylonia and Assyria but there is doubt regarding their survival strictly as 'Aramaeans' in those two regions as centuries went by. Assyrians did adopt the Aramaean language because they were smart enough to understand the benefits of adopting a simpler language of less complicated scrip, i.e. the alphabet that the entire population can use instead of the more complicated Assyrian Akkadian. But did the Assyrians while still an Empire who adopted Aramaic in around 752 BC, meaning, used Aramaic for some 150 years before the fall of the Empire, stop being Assyrians as people because they began to use a different language? The answer is a simple no.

We need to ask ourselves: Can we, as truly educated people, unconditionally accept everything we read simply because they are published material? We could say yes but not in all cases and not regarding all topics. There is so much history that is still to be written, but, still, I believe that in many cases the human mind is capable in analyzing many of the things it faces with the presence of basic knowledge. Having stated that the 64,000 dollars question accordingly would be: Why should we even doubt that the Assyrians, who established one of the greatest empires in the ancient history; contributed so much even to the world we live in today; who have not been proven, beyond any reasonable doubt, that they were totally exterminated; and who have not migrated en masse and left their homeland, could not survive as Assyrians? Adopting the Aramaic language could not have been a factor in the disappearance of the Assyrians, as few claim, since the Assyrians Empire continued for 150 years after the Assyrians have used the Aramaic language. Why should the Assyrians fail to survive yet some migrants or prisoners like the Aramaeans succeeded to survive in that same land and when both the Assyrian majority and the others went through and faced the same fate later in time?

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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