Aram (Biblical region)


Aram (Biblical region)

Aram is the name of a region mentioned in the Bible located in central Syria, including where the city of Aleppo (aka Halab) now stands. Aram stretched from the Lebanon mountains eastward across the Euphrates, including the Habur valley in northwestern Mesopotamia. The name is traditionally derived from Aram, son of Shem, a grandson of Noah in the Bible [See Genesis X:22] .

An inscription of Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2250 BC) provides the earliest reference to "Aram" as a place name, but scholars have disagreed as to its actual location and significance. Other early references to a place or people of "Aram" have appeared at the archives of Mari (c. 1900 BC) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BC). The indisputable presence of the Aramaeans (speakers of Aramaic) in the region dates to the late 12th century BC.

Two medium-sized Aramaean kingdoms, Aram-Damascus and Hamath, along with several smaller kingdoms and independent city-states, developed in the region during the first millennium BCE. A few stele that name kings of this period have been found (see, for example, the Zakkur stele). The Chaldeans who settled in southern Babylonia around 1000 BCE were founders of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 625 BCE are also believed to have been an Aramaean tribe.cite book
author = Watson E. Mills
coauthors = Roger Aubrey Bullard
title = Mercer Dictionary of the Bible
url = http://books.google.com/books?id=goq0VWw9rGIC&printsec=frontcover#PRA2-PA52,M1
year = 1990
publisher = Mercer University Press
isbn = 0865543739
oclc = 20852514
pages = pp. 52
] However, this is not certain and some dispute the alleged Aramaean ethnicity among the Chaldean dynasty. [cite web
url = http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=336&letter=C&search=Chaldeans
title = Chaldea
publisher = Jewish Encyclopedia
quote = The Chaldeans were a Semitic people and apparently of very pure blood. Their original seat may have been Arabia, whence they migrated at an unknown period into the country of the sea-lands about the head of the Persian gulf. They seem to have appeared there at about the same time that the Arameans and the Sutu appeared in Babylonia. Though belonging to the same Semitic race, they are to be differentiated from the Aramean stock; and Sennacherib, for example, is careful in his inscriptions to distinguish them. When they came to possess the whole land their name became synonymous with Babylonian, and, though conquerors, they were speedily assimilated to Babylonian culture. The language used by the Chaldeans was Semitic Babylonian, the same, save for slight peculiarities in sound and in characters, as Assyrian. In late periods the Babylonian language ceased to be spoken, and Aramaic took its place.
]

As Christians began to inhabit that area of Syria, a dialect of Aramaic, Syriac, was born. Hence Syriac has been associated with Christian Syrians.

Today in this same area, there are several Eastern Catholic Churches that are distinct from the Latin Rite. Two of these are the Maronite Church and the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church, both common to Syria and Lebanon.

ee also

*Aram-Naharaim
*Aram Rehob

References


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