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Judeo-Persian

Judeo-Persian was a language spoken by the Jews living in Persia.

The earliest evidence of the entrance of Persian words into the language of the Israelites is found in the Bible. The post-exilic portions, Hebrew as well as Aramaic, contain besides many Persian proper names and titles, a number of nouns (as "dat" = "law"; "genez" = "treasure"; "pardes" = "park") which came into permanent use at the time of the Achæmenidæ.

More than five hundred years after the end of that dynasty the Jews of the Babylonian diaspora again came under the dominion of the Persians; and among such Jews the Persian language held a position similar to that held by the Greek language among the Jews of the West. Persian became to a great extent the language of everyday life among the Jews of Babylonia; and a hundred years after the conquest of that country by the Sassanids an amora of Pumbedita, Rab Joseph (d. 323), dared make the statement that the Babylonian Jews had no right to speak Aramaic, but should speak either Hebrew or Persian. Aramaic, however, remained the language of the Jews in Palestine as well as of those in Babylonia, although in the latter country a large number of Persian words found their way into the language of daily intercourse and into that of the schools, a fact which is attested by the numerous Persian derivatives in the Babylonian Talmud. But in the Aramaic Targum there are very few Persian words, owing to the fact that after the middle of the third century the Targumim on the Pentateuch and the Prophets were accepted as authoritative and received a fixed textual form in the Babylonian schools. In this way they were protected from the introduction of Persian elements.



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