Aramaic: abba

Ben Jamin

Senior Member
Polish
I have recently read that the word "abba", which I always believed meant just simply "father" in Aramaic, has a meaning of "affectionate word for father, that has no eqivalent in the English language".
Is this true?
 
  • origumi

    Senior Member
    N/A
    In Gemaraic times (c. 2-5 century AD) "abba" was used among Jews (and I guess also among Gentiles) as a title of respect & affection, similarly to "rav" or "reib" among modern religious Jews. This is regardless of being a biological father or a certified rabbi.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Gemaraic times (c. 2-5 century AD) "abba" was used among Jews (and I guess also among Gentiles) as a title of respect & affection, similarly to "rav" or "reib" among modern religious Jews. This is regardless of being a biological father or a certified rabbi.
    But was it still used as a "normal" noun for a father? In such a case it would be quite similar with the use of "father" to address Catholic priest in many countries today.
    Could you link to that thread?
    What is the meaning of "abba"
     
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    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I guess you're referring to this:
    Furthermore, the word abba should not be translated as father. It is an intimate term for a male parent. The closest equivalents are daddy, tatus, or papa but even these do not convey the connotation of the Hebrew and Aramaic word.
    It seems to me that NotNow is referring to the current usage in Modern Hebrew, but even so this is not a correct characterization, since it is actually the primary word for father in informal contexts.

    In Talmudic Aramaic, I would not the word is in any way similar to the use of "father" for Catholic priests. It was used for people the speaker admires and respects, but not necessarily having any formal position in society. But perhaps that says more about the differences in these societies (a society where respect is earned by reputation vs. one where it is earned by a formal process) rather than about the usage of the words.

    Yes אבא (’abbā) was still the normal word for father in Aramaic, although perhaps it was less common in this form itself, but more common in possessive constructions like אבוהי דגברא (’avūhi d'gavrā), meaning "the father of the man", using גברא (gavrā), "man", just as an example.
     
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