In Response To: Ron Price
On: Lord's Prayer [different thread name]
RON: I agree with Jack here. The use of "debts" for "sins" clearly betrays
the saying's Aramaic and therefore probable early origin. It was only later
that this saying became associated with ritual. I trace the saying to an
Aramaic written source dated ca. 45 CE. Its form there shows no late
characteristics, and can almost certainly be attributed to Jesus.
BRUCE: My previous question still applies: How late do people think that the
(or a) primary language of Christian tradition was Aramaic?
And there are other questions. How can one "trace" a saying to a source
which only conjecturally exists? The normal language here would seem to be
"posit an Aramaic source . . ."
Further, "Aramaic and therefore probable early origin" is a non sequitur. If
Aramaic was in use as the (or a)primary medium of Christian documents in the
year 45, half a generation after the death of Jesus, it is perfectly
possible for new material to have been composed, in that year, in Aramaic.
In general: The later one imagines Aramaic to have been the (or a) primary
medium of Christian expression, the fainter grows the claim that everything
Aramaic must also stem from the Historical Jesus. It is only if Aramaic had
been Jesus's language, and that of his followers during his lifetime, but
the church immediately switched to Greek for its written documents, and
Aramaic was no longer the language of composition for the later tradition,
that evidence of Aramaicity would also count as evidence of originality.
This no one seems to suppose. Hence the existence of an Aramaic original,
supposing that to be conclusively demonstrated, cannot count as evidence of
early date, let alone an origin in the Historical Jesus.
[And there are other angles, which I at least have not seen explored. If (1)
Greek Christian documents were produced as early as 45, as I and some others
have held, and if (2) Aramaic Christian documents were also produced at that
date, and as Torrey argued, on down to the end of the century, then we
really have two traditions of Christian doctrinal development, one in
Aramaic and a parallel one in Greek. Such an elaborate situation, persisting
over that many decades, ought to have left SOME kind of trace in the extant
record. Where is that trace?]
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst