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An Aramaic approach to Q

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  • Dave Gentile
    David, I also agree here. I now have one of Casey s books, and have started reading parts. He seems to have some good information and seems, in general, to
    Message 1 of 35 , May 29, 2009

      I also agree here. I now have one of Casey's books, and have started reading parts. He seems to have some good information and seems, in general, to reason in a sound manner. He may even convince me I need to posit some sort of Aramaic connection between Matthew and Luke (the easiest being that "Matthew" wrote a complete Greek gospel, and parts or all of that in Aramaic translation at the same time. But I'm not there yet.

      In one section I'm looking at Casey argues for a connection between the gospels in Greek for one word and in Aramaic for another word. My idea above would cover this, but Casey solution bothered me at this point. I'm on pages 71-72, and he is looking at the beginning of Mat 23:23-36//Luke 11:39-51. He points out the word UPOKRITAI "hypocrites" meant "actor" at the time, and this would have been an effective charge against the Pharisees, because of its Hellenistic connection. Thus he concludes the original version of this word must have been Greek and not any candidate Aramaic or Hebrew words. O.K. so far.

      He then writes, "We should therefore conclude Jesus used UPOKRITAI polemically in passages such as Mat. 6:2-5. My reaction - "Whoa! Too fast." To be clear he seems to be putting this Greek word in the mouth of the historical Jesus here, I can't see what else he could mean. It's not unreasonable that Jesus could have known some Greek and used it. But this is certainly a jump. In fact he seems to jump to the historical Jesus regularly.

      Even supposing Casey's hypothesis, that Matthew is working from an Aramaic Q, and supposing we accept that this word was originally in Greek, all we have really shown is that "Q" contained a Greek word at this point, even if it was mostly Aramaic. We have not arrived at the historical Jesus here, unless you equate the Q text with the historical Jesus.

      What is interesting here is that Casey (here and at other points) has the connection from Matthew to Luke in both Aramaic and Greek (something with which I could potentially agree), but also seems to be, as you point out, almost automatically equating Anemic with the historical Jesus. On the other hand he does show the sitz im leben of certain things matches the concerns of the historical Jesus and not the later church. This could argue for an early date. On the other (third?) hand in Matthew such events which might reasonably correspond to things the historical Jesus would have been concerned with are connected to Matthian arguments about contemporary things Matthew is concerned with. In other words, the (say 80 AD) author Matthew is using a plausible historical setting to make a relevant contemporary point. This certainly provides an alternative explanation for the sitz im leben corresponding to the time of the historical Jesus.

      In short - good arguments for an Aramaic connection of some sort, not good arguments for an early date, at least that I've seen so far.

      Dave Gentile

      --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, David Mealand <D.Mealand@...> wrote:
      > I argued that item Q below on "Synoptic"
      > was a non sequitur. I don't see how
      > an early origin can be inferred solely
      > from a text having an Aramaic original.
      > Proposition Q
      > "The use of "debts" for "sins" clearly betrays
      > the saying's Aramaic and therefore probable early origin."
      > I see that it is now claimed
      > (by another contributor)
      > that Maurice Casey holds such a view:
      > It is asserted that:
      > "Maurice Casey, argues quite persuasively
      > that Mark is in fact from the 40s and
      > does so precisely on the basis of
      > Aramaic language and style"
      > I readily grant that Maurice Casey has
      > rightly moved from observing strange
      > Greek, to offering an Aramaic substratum
      > which explains the strangeness of the Greek,
      > and that this is a good way to proceed.
      > He does also propose an early date.
      > But I would be very interested to see if
      > anyone can _rehearse here_ an argument which
      > can proceed directly from evidence of
      > Aramaic underlying a text to a date
      > of 40CE for that text rather than 50 or
      > 60 or even 70, _simply on the grounds of
      > the Aramaic_.
      > We normally date texts by their content, and
      > historical context. They must be later than
      > external events of which they are aware.
      > They must be earlier than later texts which use them.
      > Such arguments can be valid reasons
      > for giving something a probable
      > range of dates.
      > David M.
    • Ron Price
      ... Jack, I can t comment on Matthew s knowledge of Hebrew, but Matthew s retention of debts could have been for other reasons than his lack of understanding
      Message 35 of 35 , Nov 25, 2009
        Jack Kilmon wrote:

        > I am convinced that Matthew was neither Aramaic nor Hebrew competent and
        > used Mark and a Q document in translational Greek. Luke, however, was
        > Aramaic competent and used Mark and an Aramaic Q which he translated
        > himself. This is why Luke explains the Hoybyn/"debts"/"sins" idiom in his
        > version of the LP and Matthew does not.


        I can't comment on Matthew's knowledge of Hebrew, but Matthew's retention of
        "debts" could have been for other reasons than his lack of understanding of
        the Aramaic word. Both Matthew and Luke transliterate and thus retain the
        Aramaic words "mammon" (Mt 6:24 // Lk 16:13) and "saton" (Mt 13:33 // Lk

        Also, Matthew's gospel is widely thought to have been written in Antioch of
        Syria. Wasn't the Syrian dialect of Aramaic the main language of that town?
        Wouldn't it follow that Matthew probably had some understanding of Aramaic?

        Ron Price,

        Derbyshire, UK
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