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XI
PREFACE

signifying to talk against, murmur; כַ‏ּ‏סְכַ‏ּ‏ס, apocopated כֶ‏ּ‏סֶ‏ךְ, is a transposition of סכסך. שלשל interchanges with לשלש in the nouns שלשול and לשלשת, with their Aramaic equivalent לשלושתא, and in the contracted forms לשישית and שלשושית.[1]

It need scarcely be said that these outlines of Talmudic etymology by no means exhaust the subject. They have been given a place here for the purpose of showing the basis upon which the work has been constructed, and as a justification of the author's deviation from the views hitherto prevailing on the subject under consideration.

A few remarks on foreign words in the literature which for the sake of brevity is here called Talmudic, may not be out of place in this preface.

The intercourse between the Jews of the Talmudic ages with Greek and Latin speaking gentiles was not only that of trade and government, but also of thought and ideas. Along with the apostles and teachers of young Christianity, and even before their time, Jewish champions of religion and morality lectured in the private rooms of princes and princesses, noblemen and matrons. Instances of intimate association of prominent Jewish teachers with emperors, kings, philosophers, and scholars and their families are related in the Talmudic records in numbers large enough to account for the adoption of words like philosophy, astrology, epilogue, &c, not to speak of such terms as were borrowed by the Jews together with the objects or ideas which they represent. A footstool was called hypopodion, a tablet pinax; the profligate gourmand's emetic taken before meals, or rather between one stage of the banquet and the other, was called by its jocular name ἀποκοτταβίζειν (to play the cottabus), and adopted in the general medical sense; and so forth.

This accounts for the large number of Greek and Latin vocables in the so-called Jerusalem Talmud grown up under the Greco-Roman influences of the Cæsars, and more still in those Targumim and Midrashim which were compiled in the Byzantine empire. The Agadah, taking its illustrations from the daily environment, speaks of Cæsar, Augustus, duces, polemarchi, legiones, matrona, schola, &c, while in legal discussions the institutions of the governments, in so far as they influenced or superseded the Jewish law, had to be called by their foreign names. Agoranomos and agronomia, angaria and parangaria, epimeletes, epitropos, bulé, and innumerable other terms were embodied in the Jewish vocabulary, although not always dislodging their Hebrew or Aramaic equivalents.

Owing to copyists' mistakes and acoustic deficiencies of transmission in distant ages and countries in which these foreign words were but vaguely understood, the student has on this point to contend with a vast number of corruptions and glossators' guesses at interpretation. In most cases, however, these corruptions are recoverable through the medium of correct or differently corrupted parallels.

  1. See Jastrow, Transposed Stems, Drugulin, Leipzig 1891, and the Dictionary under the respective words.