Yochanan Bitan-Buth wrote --
>Papias said 'Hebrew'. While some PLACENAMES in NT with Aramaic
>etymologies are also called Hebrew, it is a serious mistake of NT
>scholarship to assume that 'Hebrew' automatically meant 'syriac' (i.e.
>'Aramaic' as is was called in both Hebrew and Greek in the first
>century land of Israel.)
According to Geza Vermes, Emeritus Professor of Jewish Studies, Oxford
University, the phrase hEBRAIDI DIALEKTW in the Papias tradition
concerning Matthew's LOGIA
>"normally means in Aramaic"
(G. Vermes, "The Changing Faces of Jesus", - London, 2000 - page 148.)
According to Alan Millard, Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Ancient
Semitic Languages, Liverpool University,
>"As a well-taught, observant Jewish boy, Jesus would have learnt to
>read the Scriptures in Hebrew. Was that the language he spoke? The few
>scholars who have tried make that case have not convinced many others.
> ... These observations may be held to favour the antiquity in
>Christian tradition of the Aramaic words of the Gospels, words believed
>to be those Jesus himself and those around him spoke.
> ... On this evidence we can assume that Jesus spoke Aramaic as a
>matter of course.
(Alan Millard, "Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus", -- Sheffield,
2000 -- section on 'The Language of Jesus', pages 140-147.)
If Jesus spoke and taught mostly in Aramaic, and if the Papias tradition
concerning Matthew's LOGIA refers to the apostle Matthew writing down
what Jesus said, then presumably hEBRAIDI DIALEKTW in the Papias
tradition has its "normal meaning" of in Aramaic.
It seems that the "serious mistake" is being made outside main stream NT
scholarship, and is not peculiar to it.
In fact, my hypotheses concerning the synoptic gospels, (the Greek Notes
Hypothesis and the Logia Translation Hypothesis) are not affected by
this question. If it could be shown that the apostle Matthew wrote in
Hebrew, not Aramaic, then substituting "Hebrew" for "Aramaic" in my
arguments would make them neither more nor less valid.
Randall Buth also wrote --
>A narrative semitic source to Mark/Luke or something in common behind
>them could almost certainly NOT have come from Aramaic but YES, could
>have come from Hebrew. This conclusion becomes rather self evident when
>comparing narrative literary style of both Aramaic and Hebrew from late
>second temple times and their reflexes in Greek.
It seems not to be quite so self-evident to Maurice Casey in "Aramaic
sources of Mark's Gospel" (Society for New Testament Studies, monograph
102, Cambridge, 1998) --
>"We have seen that there should be no doubt that Jesus spoke Aramaic,
>or that Aramaic was the language in which the traditions about him were
>first transmitted (page 260)."
I think that, for the moment, I go along with Millard. His arguments are
convincing to me. But, as I said above, from my view-point it would not
matter that much to me if it is shown that hEBRAIDI DIALEKTW in the
Papias tradition means "in Hebrew", since it would not significantly
affect my hypotheses concerning the origin of the synoptic gospels.
Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
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