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Aramaic Language ~ Aramaic Lord's Prayer

The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
A Healing Journey with the Aramaic Lord's Prayer: Reclaiming the Mysticism of Jesus through His Native Language
by Neil Douglas-Klotz and Elizabeth A. Reed

This 20-lesson online course, guides you on a journey of healing with the Aramaic Lord's Prayer. Return to this ancient prayer and to Jesus' original language and original style of prayer. Become a channel of Divine love, joy, delight, healing, and peace by embracing the prayer of Jesus, as if for the first time. See what new meanings await your life!

Learn More Now! [Audio Message by the author]

Pronunciation of Key Aramaic Words in the Aramaic Lord's Prayer
Q & A by Rev. Elizabeth Reed, Ph.D.

Question: I am using the Neil Douglas-Klotz's Prayers of the Cosmos (book and CD) to augment my work with your online course on the Aramaic Lord's Prayer.

I find that in the (eCourse) Lesson 9, the "tzevyanach" of the book and CD is represented as "sebyannach". Is this a spelling change? Is the pronunciation different from what is taught on the CD, and if so, what is the correct pronunciation now? Please clarify this inconsistency so that I can learn it correctly.

Answer: Thank you for engaging this Aramaic Lord's prayer course with such seriousness and devotion. The answer to your question in a nutshell is: both spellings are correct. The pronunciations are very similar and almost the same. The first is a harsher "s" sound (combining the letters "t" and "z") and most would pronounce the second a bit softer, as our U.S. English "s" sound. For most of us, the nuance in the sound is negligible (unless you are undertaking an academic study of Aramaic, which is best done in an academic setting).

The reason for the different spellings (transliterations of pronounced ancient form of Aramaic) is that Neil's scholarly work has taken him through many levels of translations and many forms of translation. Also through many forms of how to help Westerners shape their lips and tongue to best approximate the Aramaic language.

Finally, in this particular case, the "Tzebyannach" into "Sebyannach" more approximates the root relationship of the word in the Aramaic Lord's Prayer with the root word "Saba Ana" (meaning the "pleasure power" or "desire" of the Holy One). "Saba Ana" is the response Yeshua made whenever someone came to him and asked for healing -- meaning: "In union with the desire or pleasure power of the Divine One I offer this"

Regardless, the pronunciation is the same one. If you learn this, you are approximating the language from this particular scholar's perspective. There are many "camps" of scholars and various nuances of pronunciations. Some scholars lean to pronunciations of more modern day Aramaic. Others lean to what is known or assumed about pronunciations in the first century Middle East, or what can be referred to as "Biblical Aramaic."

An additional message from Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D. ©

My recordings are fine to learn prayers in ancient Aramaic. The pronunciation I use is a recreation of the Aramaic Jesus would have spoken, combining the two current modern intonations used in Aramaic churches with a "touch" of ancient Hebrew.

There are two current modern spoken Aramaic dialects, and neither is very similar to the other, even in vocabulary. A good modern phrasebook that details the differences is Modern Aramaic published by Hippocene Books. Very good online learning tools for one of the modern dialects (modern Assyrian) can be found at This includes also some songs.

Considering modern Arabic, there are also a number of different dialects (Moroccan, Egyptian, Palestinian) and these also have different vocabularies (not simply pronunciations) often even for common things. Although there is a "Modern Standard Arabic" taught in universities, this is a really a pastiche that no one speaks in practice and would identify one as a foreigner.

If simply "seeding" the feeling of a language is the most important thing, then anything actually spoken would help. Even the Yiddish, combining bits of German and pre-modern Hebrew, will help with the "Sprachgefühl," as the Germans say.

Copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth A. Reed. All rights reserved.

Neil Douglas-Klotz and Elizabeth A. Reed
Rev. Elizabeth Reed, Ph.D. is the creator and instructor of these online courses, which approach the teachings of Christ through the language he spoke, the Aramaic Language:

Breathing with the Divine Breath: Deep Inner Healing in The Beatitude Way

A Healing Journey with the Aramaic Lord's Prayer: Reclaiming the Mysticism of Jesus through His Native Language with Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D.

Attention Reader:
You may also find this article of interest: Pronunciation of Aramaic Words ~ The Aramaic Lord's Prayer

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