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Catholic Dictionary




A branch of the Aramaic language, spoken in Edessa (city of modern Turkey) and the surrounding region sometime before the beginning of the Christian era. It was used extensively in the early Church, e.g., in the Diatessaron and Peshitta translations of the Bible. After the religious divisions of the fifth century it continued as the language of the East and West Syrians. But once Arabic became the current vernacular, Syriac became a more or less artificial language.