I assume that the Tanaaim and Amoraim in Eretz Yisrael spoke Hebrew, so why is the Talmud Yershalmi in Aramic not Hebrew?

  • 4
    Why would you assume that?
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 1:21
  • Are you simply assuming that they were able to speak Hebrew (and therefore should have made a point of writing it in Hebrew if they could have) or that they primarily spoke Hebrew (and therefore would naturally have written it in Hebrew)? Because the former is true but the latter is probably not.
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 8:21
  • 1
    Yeah, I'm with DoubleAA. Why would you assume those in Eretz Yisroel spoke Hebrew and not Aramaic. Aramaic was the common language in most all the Middle East during the First and Second Centuries.
    – ezra
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Actually, it seems that the spoken language of the time was Aramaic. Even in the Mishna, written while the Jewish people were still in Israel, often when document are quoted, it is usually in Aramaic.

Consider, for example, Megillas Taanis, which was written as a calendar of sorts for the nation at large, written by early Tannaim (Shabbos 13a) and entirely in Aramaic. It seems that scholarship was in Hebrew, but the common folk spoke Aramaic.

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