CHALDEE, a term sometimes applied to the Aramaic portions of the biblical books of Ezra and Daniel or to the vernacular paraphrases of the Old Testament (see TARGUM).
Most authorities have held that the new form was derived from E by dropping the lowermost crossbar; some have held that it developed out of the old Vau, a view which is not impossible in itself and has the similar development in Aramaic (Tema) in its favour.
This confirms the view that the Hebrew kipper, which appears to be a late word (specially employed in Ezek, and P.), originally had the meaning which belongs to the Aramaic viz.
The marshes in the south like the adjoining desert were frequented by Aramaic tribes; of these the most famous were the Kalda or Chaldaeans who under Merodach-baladan made themselves masters of Babylon and gave their name in later days to the whole population of the country.
In the Phoenician alphabet the earliest forms are or more rounded The rounded form appears also in the earliest Aramaic (see ALPHABET).
History, There is good reasonto regard the Druses as, racially, a mixture of refugee stocks, in which the Arab largely predominates, grafted on to an original mountain population of Aramaic blood and Incarnationist tendencies.
Syriac is the eastern dialect of the Aramaic language which, during the early centuries of the Christian era, prevailed in Mesopotamia and the adjoining regions.
Hence we may reasonably infer that the mass of the people had adopted Aramaic at a considerably, earlier period, probably, as early as the 2nd century B.C., and that the need of Aramaic translations of the sacred text made itself felt but little later.
The writing is a modified form of the old Aramaic character, and especially interesting because it represents almost the last stage through which the ancient alphabet passed before it developed into the Hebrew square character.
E 1 3 Like the Phoenician, these Hebrew signs are distinctly cursive in character, but, as the legend on the coins of the Maccabees shows, became stereotyped for monumental use, while the Jews after the exile gradually adopted the Aramaic writing, whence the square Hebrew script is descended.