Syriac–One of the Most Beautiful Languages in the World

 by Brandon Hoffman
Something I am becoming increasingly interested in is Syriac Christianity. Much work has been done on Greek and Latin Christianity; not as much done on Syriac. It is, however, an important tradition with roots that go back to the early church. Furthermore, the earliest Christians in China were of the Syriac Christian tradition. Therefore, I would like to start working this theme into my blog as I learn more about the Syriac Christian tradition.

I have already begun introducing Syriac Christianity with scattered mentions here and there, as well as two posts concerning resources and a bibliography related to it (particularly regarding it in Asia). But I would like to be more intentional about it as I begin to specialize more in this area of Church History and Historical Theology.

One thing to begin with, then, might be an introduction to the language, as I am obsessed with languages. Syriac is related to Hebrew and is derived from Aramaic. As such, it is also related to Arabic and other Semitic languages. And although it has ancient roots, like Arabic it is still used in the world, though probably by fewer people than those who speak Arabic.

This video (which calls Syriac “Aramaic”) shows several pictures of the Syriac language and might serve as a way to introduce it to others who perhaps have never heard of it (as I myself did not until recently). In the video, one might notice the care taken by scribes in copying Syriac texts–similar to Hebrew scribes from whom they undoubtedly, originally learned.

The actual title of the video is “Aramaic–the most beautiful language in the world.” That might be an overstatement; so many, if not all, languages vie for that title. That also might be an overstatement. Having begun studying Syriac though, I can say that it is pretty cool; you might think so too after watching the video!