Early Galilean Aramaic, the mother tongue of Jesus, is a language that has all but fallen into obscurity. It is perhaps one of the least understood of the ancient Aramaic dialects and is rather distinct.
This project takes a careful reconstruction of The Lord's Prayer in early Galilean and crafts it into a bracelet made from lead-free pewter so that one can take the Prayer around with them wherever they go as a constant reminder of those powerful words spoken 2,000 years ago.
How the Bracelet is Made
The bracelet is made up of 7 pewter pieces in total: Six (6) double-sided segments with the Prayer written on them in Herodian script (a type of handwriting contemporary to the first century) and one (1) "charm" or "drop" that indicates which segment the prayer starts and finishes on. We're hoping to offer a number of different "stock" drops (which we're still working on) as well as provide custom drops for backers who sign up for them.
These pewter pieces are held together with anywhere from 45 to 100+ chain links depending upon the connection configuration, which allows the segments to swing freely and the bracelet to be resized to fit nearly any wrist.
The masters for the segments and drop were originally hand-pressed and carved out of polymer which was then cured in an oven. Once they were cool, any rough edges were finished and smoothed out with needle files by hand each segment was then press-cast into a silicone compound that can withstand the heat of the molten metal.
All six segment molds are then lined up side-by-side and the pewter is melted in a crucible and poured in to each gate and sprue in sequence. Sprues fuse together as everything cools. Each piece is then hand-cut from their sprues, sharp edges are finished smooth, and they are hand-burnished to a shine.
From there, they are sorted and assembled by the experienced artisans of Caruso Kith Kin & Co LLC.
What is Galilean Aramaic?
Galilean Aramaic is a Western dialect of Aramaic. Its closest contemporary cousins were Samaritan Aramaic and Christian Palestinian Aramaic (CPA), all of which share similar features. Where there are a number of modern Eastern Aramaic dialects, the only dialect of Western Aramaic that survives to this day is spoken in the three villages of Ma'loula, Bakh'a, and Jub'addin in Syria. Sadly with current events and violence in the Middle East, the fate of this dialect is uncertain.
Galilean was so very distinct from other contemporary dialects spoken during Jesus' lifetime, such as Judean Aramaic, that a Galilean could be told apart simply by their speech. Indeed we find this very thing happening in the New Testament:
Matthew 26:73: "After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, 'Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.'"
Because of how Galileans spoke differently, early Judean Rabbis thought poorly of them, accusing them of "sloppy speech." There are several anecdotes in the Talmud Bavli (the "Babylonian Talmud") where Galileans are mocked due to how they didn't distinguish between certain consonants and vowels where they were much more distinct and articulate in the prevalent Judean/Babylonian dialect. One such story even forbid Galileans from speaking in the Temple for fear that they might mispronounce something and offend God, himself!
However, despite these differences, after the fall of the Temple in 70 AD, there was a large migration of rabbis to Galilee, and that when the dialect flourished. Great works such as Talmud Yerushalemi (the "Palestinian Talmud") and the Rabba series of Jewish Biblical commentary were penned, and large schools were founded. This is where "Classical" Galilean begins (the "granddaughter dialect" to that which Jesus spoke) and it continued into the Byzantine period.
Sadly, in the 600s AD with the rise of the first Patriarchal Caliphate, Galilean was quickly supplanted as the everyday language in Galilee by Arabic, and the linguistically "orphaned" Western, Galilean texts soon fell into the hands of Eastern Aramaic-speaking scribes for preservation.
As these scribes transmitted and re-copied these texts over the next thousand years, they were amazed at how many "errors" they found in them, freely correcting the spelling and grammar mistakes wherever they came across them. At the time, they did not realize that most of these "errors" were not mistakes at all, but were right and proper Galilean Aramaic!
It was not until the discovery of Galilean manuscripts in a genizah in Cairo, Egypt that scholars had realized what had happened. A genizah for all intents and purposes, is a manuscript "cemetery" where old, worn-out manuscripts were retired and eventually ceremonially buried. These old manuscripts displayed "uncorrected" features that made sense of a number of curiosities about Galilean that scholars had been pondering for a very long time, and from there were able to paint a better picture about the dialect.
These particular discoveries about Galilean are so recent (most made in the past ~50 years) that to this day every grammar written on the Galilean dialect to date has fallen victim to these corrupt "corrections," and there is still no articulated syntax.
This means that anyone who wants to learn Galilean has a huge task ahead of them, and must first learn classical Aramaic dialects before going at the task from holographic, unconventional angles. Even today, Galilean tends to give scholars who are more familiar with the more prolific Eastern Aramaic dialects pause with its unusual spelling, vocabulary, and grammar.
By supporting this project, you are directly -- and in no small way -- helping to save Galilean Aramaic from obscurity by bringing it into your life.
You can see all of the rewards that we are offering supporters in the list on the right, and here are some of the options that are available for some of the choices:
For our $25 support tier, we have several varieties (in pewter and chainmail) to choose from, and as we reach stretch goals we may add some more. Each and every one of these is hand-made by us.
These are the current designs that we have in order for the bracelet drops. If you have any ideas for other insignias that would appeal to your friends, we'd love to hear about them.
Available Link Colors
All of these links are in anodized aluminum, which is light, color-fast and hypo-allergenic.
We have a few stretch goals for this project that will be unlocked if we reach thresholds above our initial funding requirement.
$2,000 - *Titanium* Segment Links
If we reach the $2,000 mark, we can open up the option of having titanium links connecting the plates for those with nickel allergies. These links are a similar color to the pewter we use and are 100% hypoallergenic and nickel free!
$2,500 - *Titanium* Chain Links
If we reach the $2,500 mark, we can open up the option of having titanium chain links for those with aluminum allergies. These are a similar color to the pewter we use and are 100% hypoallergenic while being aluminum and nickle free!
$5,000 - *Silver* Chain Links
If we reach the $5,000 mark, we can open up the option of having sterling silver chain links. These are also hypoallergenic, but you'll have to add $25 for each bracelet you want to have silver links on.
Risks and challenges
Thankfully, the risks on this project are few as if the threshold for funding is met, we will be able to successfully order the materials in sufficient quantity without fear of missing ordering thresholds.
We will not outsource anything so we will not have to rely upon a manufacturer; all bracelets will be made from raw materials right here in New Jersey. On the crafting and assembly side, we have enough able-bodied artisans in our team to make the bracelets in large numbers and at the same high quality (and more people in reserve that we can call upon to help if we have more backers than we can immediately handle).
We're excited about this, and with your help we can make it happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)