THE ARAMAIC DIALECT OF NEDARIM
Not all of the Babylonian Aramaic which is recorded in the Talmud is of a homogeneous nature. There are major grammatical and lexical differences which set the Babylonian tractate of Nedarim apart from the remainder of the Talmud.;In order to make some headway in accounting for the linguistic difference of Nedarim, an exhaustive study of the entire tractate with all of its variant readings was undertaken. A convincing study must, however, seek corroboating evidence to confirm the grammatical and lexical features found in both the text and the variant readings. The dialect of the entire tractate was, thus, examined and compared to the other varieties of both easten and western Aramaic.;Observations. The Vilna edition of Nedarim, although having preserved in it many significant readings not recorded elsewhere, is not, nevertheless, written entirely in the distinctive Aramaic dialect of Nedarim. Many examples of Babylonian Talmudic Aramaic actually appear directly alongside the distinctive forms. The Vilna edition of Nedarim, thus appears to reflect a text in the midst of a dialectal transition.;The variant readings for Nedarim are also not just the results of random scribal alteration, but rather, a record of the text in the various stages of its transition.;Targumic and Geonic Aramaic also reflect most of the same features as the idiom of Nedarim.;Conclusions. Official Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Persian empire, survived among the Jews of Babylonia as a literary dialect. In it, the Targumim to the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets were prepared. Centuries later, this literary Aramaic was used by the Geonim to record their vast literature of halachic treatises and responsa.;In light of the presence of this dialect in Nedarim, it is possible that Nedarim was originally transcribed in this official literary dialect only to be later subjected to a slow process of dialectal change to conform to the spoken dialect.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-04, Section: A, page: 1566.