Netseran Language Institute

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The Netseran Language Institute was founded in 2013 by scholars of the Aramaic language working to reconstruct the Galilean dialect of Aramaic spoken by Yeshue and His apostles. The goal of the Netseran Language Institute is to educate a whole generation of young people as heirs of the language of Yeshue, not only as a liturgical language, but also as a practical language able to be used by regular people in their day to day lives.

What is Netseran Aramaic?

Netseran Aramaic (Aramaic: ארמיתא נצריית Pronunciation: Aramitha Netseranayit) refers to the language used in the Holy Offering and other services of the Nazarani Church. It is a distinct dialect of Aramaic, which is very closely related to and indeed a descendant of the Galilean dialect which was spoken by Yeshue and His apostles. It was also in this language that Saint Paul wrote his many epistles, including those which are now part of the Christian and Nazarani scriptural canons. As such it is the common Aramaic heritage which all the followers of Yeshue share with one another.

It is impossible to speak Galilean to-day, if only because the language does not include words for the majority of the things in our day to day lives and experiences. Taxis, computers, cars, television, radio, and even philosophy didn't exist at the time of Yeshue, meaning that the words relating to these concepts are wholly unknown in the Galilean dialect. A new, modern dialect is therefore needed if we are going to resurrect the language in a way that it can be spoken by regular people.

Aramaic is the longest surviving language in the world. A direct descendant of akkadû 𒀝𒅗𒁺𒌑 Akkadian / emegur 𒅴𒂠 Sumerian, Aramaic is the ancestor of a number of other Semitic languages and dialects.

Aramaic is the language which was spoken by the ancient Israelites, the language of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. More importantly it was also the Galilean dialect of Aramaic which was spoken by Yeshue and His apostles in the First Century of our Common Era. It was this language in which Saint Paul was writing when he commanded the Corinthians to use a single language in order to preserve them as “one mind and people”.

Current statistics on who speaks Aramaic as a first language are hard to gauge. Samaritans speak their own dialect of Aramaic, which would have been familiar to Yeshue and His apostles. Mandæans, of which still living in Iran, Iraq and the Trans-Jordan also speak a dialect of Aramaic called “Mandaic”, meaning “the language of knowledge”. There are approximately 38,000 speakers of Modern Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic as their first language in Crete, Syria and South-East Turkey. Each one of these groups also have a number of people living in the diaspora, who speak their dialects in varying degrees, usually as a second language.

Christianity however took the faith out of the realm of Semitic knowledge, culture and ideology and made it a western religion, a part of the Greek, and later Latin speaking states of Europe; leaving behind anything which could be regarded as detestable, or rather “Jewish”. This extremist antisemitism is seen throughout the writings of the “early church” fathers; and this negative attitude toward anything which could be labelled as “Jewish” contributed greatly to the decline of the Aramaic language of Yeshue. No longer did the people of God also speak the language of God. Instead they began speaking the languages of Europe, and spread them, as well as their faith, throughout the world.

This decline is the biggest challenge for those who seek to resurrect the true faith from the ashes of the European errors. It is a challenge not only because of the small number of native speakers, but also because the language has spent the last one-thousand years as a minority language, and hasn’t developed new words and expressions to cover our everyday experiences.

It’s perfectly easy to have a discussion with someone in Aramaic about Yeshue, His apostles, their ministries and travels throughout the world; but to explain how to heat food in a microwave would be a truly funny conversation, where I would have to resort to using Japanese words like “chinn” チン in order to describe the sound the microwave used to make when you pushed “starto” スタート… together with some nifty hand motions to demonstrate the action of wrapping the food, putting it in, and pressing the buttons. Basically, we need a new noun and also a new verb to describe microwave in Aramaic - and that’s what Netseran Aramaic is – the version of Aramaic closest to the Galilean dialect spoken by Yeshue in the 1st Century, which we can also speak today, and hope to be understood.

The Netseran Encyclopaedia Project

The Netseran Encyclopaedia is a project of the Netseran Language Institute, to bring the dialect of Aramaic that was spoken by Yeshue and His apostles into the modern era, as a language that the followers of Yeshue can use in their day to day lives.

We have acquired the Netseran Encyclopaedia under license from His Excellency, Hadrian Mar Elijah Bar Israel, the Emeritus Metropolitan of the Nazarani Church, who provided the initial work and impetus for the project; and we are now putting online as a free public service, able to accessed and edited by anyone with a working internet connection.

Aramaic Bible Study

The Aramaic Bible Study (ABS) program is intended as a tool for both individuals and communities to improve their knowledge of the Bible and to open up avenues of discussion about the historical background and cultural context of Yeshue and His disciples, including information about their unique Galilean dialect, how and when the scriptures were written, etc.