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Re: What's his name? (was: son of who?)

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  • Mahlon H. Smith
    ... Jack s right, Ian. I got your message on-list & so did everybody else (check Findmail). If you don t want to post to list in replying to a public message
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 3, 1998
      Ian Hutchesson wrote:
      >
      > If you hadn't noticed, Jack, mine was a private to you -- I didn't send it
      > to XTalk.
      >

      Jack Kilmon wrote:

      > No, I didn't. My e-mail program habitually replies to sender and I
      > always have to add the list.
      >

      Jack's right, Ian. I got your message on-list & so did everybody else
      (check Findmail). If you don't want to post to list in replying to a
      public message you have to manually delete the crosstalk address. You
      didn't this, even if you intended to.

      Jack wrote:

      > The overwhelming evidence is that his name was Y'shua <Aram>y$w(
      >

      Ian replied:

      > I have been underwhelmed so far, Jack. You have never provided anything more
      > than opinion on the subject.
      >

      Jack retorted:

      > I have provided much more than that and if you are interested in
      > covering this ground again......
      >

      Boys, boys! This is getting to sound like children in the marketplace!
      Not to put words into Jack's mouth, I take it that his reference to
      "overwhelming evidence" is simply that IHSOUS is not a native Greek name
      & is found in Greek texts only as a transliteration of the Hebrew name
      Yehoshua (LXX) or its Aramaic variant Yeshua. Unless the parents of
      Jesus were totally Hellenized (which is unlikely for 1st c. CE non-urban
      Palestinians of non-aristocratic status) the given form of his name was
      probably *not* "IHSOUS" (Yay-soos) but a Semitic prototype.

      Without getting mired down in a debate over evidence for the currency of
      spoken Hebrew among 1st c. Palestinian Jews, there are several good
      reasons for presuming that the native tongue of Jesus himself was
      Aramaic rather than Hebrew: (1) He was probably of Galilean stock (his
      family's alleged ties to Judea are few & late in the tradition), (2)
      Galilean Israelites had been subjected to Aramaic culture for more than
      half a millennium before Judean occupation, (3) during the second
      commonwealth even the literary Hebrew of Judean texts was invaded by
      Aramaic, & (4) the Semitic phrases ascribed to Jesus in the synoptics
      are in Aramaic rather than Hebrew. No comparable case can be built to
      show that Jesus' native tongue was Hebrew rather than Aramaic.

      Ergo, the name by which HJ was actually known among his contemporaries
      was most probably Yeshu'a. I prefer the shortened form Yeshu' for 2
      reasons: (1) ayin is a glottal stop which in "y$w(" occupies the
      non-accented final syllable position, so there is no way of knowing how
      much vocalization it was actually given, & (2) 1st c. Galileans were
      regularly accused by contemporary Judeans of dropping their initial &
      final vowels (so Elazar becomes Lazar, which was then given a Greek
      suffix in the NT as Lazaros). Hence, the original pronunciation of
      Jesus' name was probably "Yeh-SHOO" or at most "Yeh-SHOOuh"; certainly
      not, Yeh-shoo-AH.

      So IF one is referring to the historical subject behind the Greek NT
      texts, it makes perfectly good sense to use Yeshu or Yeshua rather than
      Jesus. One might even argue that IF one is referring to the theologized
      characterization of HJ in the text of the Greek NT, one *should* use
      "Iesous" rather than "Jesus" since (a) the later name inevitably carries
      later popular pietistic connotations that were not intended by the NT
      authors & (b) the vocalization "DGEE-ZUSS" doesn't even remotely
      approximate the correct pronunciation of the name in the Greek NT texts.
      If one accepts, vocalic mutation one might just as well call the central
      figure of Christianity "Chase" since (a) CHAY- is closer than DJEE- to
      the Greek pronunciation of IH- & (b) the final "s" is simply a residue
      of the Greek masculine nominative & was *not* used in the vocative by
      which he was actually addressed (Greek: IHSOU, Latin: Iesu).

      There is absolutely no more reason for maintaining that the mutated form
      of HJ's name "Jesus" should be any more sacrosanct than the mutated form
      of the tetragrammaton "Jehovah." Both are based on mispronunciations by
      semi-literate Normanized Anglo-Saxons whose dialect is no longer spoken
      by any contemporary person who claims to use English. The fact that it
      is a readily recognizable convention is no reason for preserving it, if
      it carries undesired connotations. We have gone through an era when many
      medieval English conventions have been changed (from forms of personal
      address to standards of measure). Once one gets over the initial novelty
      of the new conventional terms, very few people seem to regard the change
      worth protesting.

      Thus, I will persist in referring to HJ as Yeshu bar Yosef, since that
      best approximates how he was most probably known by those who REALLY
      knew him.

      Shalom!


      Mahlon

      --

      *********************

      Mahlon H. Smith,
      Associate Professor
      Department of Religion
      Rutgers University
      New Brunswick NJ

      http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... Why not Yeshu bar Miryam? (cf. Mark 6:3) Stephen Carlson -- Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@mindspring.com Synoptic Problem Home
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
        At 02:07 AM 10/4/98 -0400, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
        >Thus, I will persist in referring to HJ as Yeshu bar Yosef, since that
        >best approximates how he was most probably known by those who REALLY
        >knew him.

        Why not Yeshu bar Miryam? (cf. Mark 6:3)

        Stephen Carlson
        --
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
        "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
      • Ian Hutchesson
        ... Mahlon, I have the original here. Please think about that. (While I can guarantee you I sent a post only to Jack at 19.49 on Oct 3, it is that which Jack
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
          >Jack's right, Ian. I got your message on-list & so did everybody else
          >(check Findmail). If you don't want to post to list in replying to a
          >public message you have to manually delete the crosstalk address. You
          >didn't this, even if you intended to.

          Mahlon, I have the original here. Please think about that.

          (While I can guarantee you I sent a post only to Jack at 19.49 on Oct 3, it
          is that which Jack replied to on list. You got a different post responding
          to Mike on the list about an hour later.)

          >Boys, boys! This is getting to sound like children in the marketplace!

          I would say, read Jack's argument, but from this post I guess you would
          probably agree with him.

          >Not to put words into Jack's mouth, I take it that his reference to
          >"overwhelming evidence" is simply that IHSOUS is not a native Greek name
          >& is found in Greek texts only as a transliteration of the Hebrew name
          >Yehoshua (LXX) or its Aramaic variant Yeshua. Unless the parents of
          >Jesus were totally Hellenized (which is unlikely for 1st c. CE non-urban
          >Palestinians of non-aristocratic status)

          This is problematical: if we assume the parents were from Galilee with GLuke
          and not from Judea as implied in GMatt, you have no information as to the
          linguistic situation in Galilee and are merely projecting your opinions
          about Judea on Galilee.

          (I have argued in the past for a Yahwistic presence in Galilee, but this
          does not mean I assume they spoke Hebrew or Aramaic. It is probable that
          Aramaic was stronger in Galilee.)

          > the given form of his name was
          >probably *not* "IHSOUS" (Yay-soos) but a Semitic prototype.

          I know we don't have a character set for IPA transcriptions, but hell this
          hokey system of weird approximations is awful. I tried /iesu:s/ earlier (but
          that was influenced by the Italian lack of a letter for a frontal liquid --
          a similar problem in the Greek), which has got to be closer to the original
          than varieties of "Yay-soos".

          >Without getting mired down in a debate over evidence for the currency of
          >spoken Hebrew among 1st c. Palestinian Jews,

          And then you get mired down!?

          >there are several good
          >reasons for presuming that the native tongue of Jesus himself was
          >Aramaic rather than Hebrew: (1) He was probably of Galilean stock (his
          >family's alleged ties to Judea are few & late in the tradition),

          The Nazareth tradition is not in Q. It is not in GMark (despite 1:9 which
          has not been taken on by the other synoptics: provenance was exremely
          important to have it omitted), and while GMatt has a birth in Bethlehem he
          knows nothing about a prior stay in Nazareth and in fact has the family move
          to Nazareth in 2:23 to smooth conflicting traditions. (Note: GLuke has the
          family start off in Nazareth and sticks to these guns throughout the
          gospel.) The underlying family tradition of GMatt is not Galilean but Judean.

          >(2) Galilean Israelites had been subjected to Aramaic culture for more than
          >half a millennium before Judean occupation,

          The last three hundred years of which had felt a strong Greek influence. For
          at least 150 years it was under the yoke of Greek colonists who, if like
          other places in the Greek colonial world, had control of the majority of the
          land and the local people were a type of serf on those lands.

          >(3) during the second commonwealth even the literary Hebrew of Judean texts
          >was invaded by Aramaic,

          While your statement may be partially correct, it is not an argument.

          Remember that the OT/HB has minimal Aramaic content (which is an attempt to
          reproduce Persian chancelry Aramaic); Daniel's visions, written circa 165
          BCE, were in Hebrew; Ezra whose final state was reached after the time of
          Josephus was written in Hebrew and fake Persian Aramaic; Ben Sira was
          written in Hebrew; 80% of the DSS were in Hebrew; the Ben-Kosiba documents
          were divided between Hebrew and Aramaic. (Hey, if you like "Bar-Kochba".)

          >& (4) the Semitic phrases ascribed to Jesus in the
          >synoptics are in Aramaic rather than Hebrew.

          The existence of Aramaic phrases are an argument against them having been
          original. If we really had sayings translated from Aramaic, why translate
          all but these few insignificant scraps? I can understand leaving cultically
          important phrases in the original, but "get up little girl"? You can't
          seriously say anything based on those phrases.

          >No comparable case can be built
          >to show that Jesus' native tongue was Hebrew rather than Aramaic.

          You have not shown that Jesus' native tongue was Aramaic. It is not my
          intention to show that it was Hebrew. There is not enough evidence.

          >Ergo,

          Come on, Mahlon, there's no "ergo" about it.

          >the name by which HJ was actually known among his contemporaries
          >was most probably Yeshu'a. I prefer the shortened form Yeshu' for 2
          >reasons: (1) ayin is a glottal stop which in "y$w(" occupies the
          >non-accented final syllable position, so there is no way of knowing how
          >much vocalization it was actually given, & (2) 1st c. Galileans were
          >regularly accused by contemporary Judeans of dropping their initial &
          >final vowels (so Elazar becomes Lazar, which was then given a Greek
          >suffix in the NT as Lazaros).

          You mean he wasn't called Lazaros? How do you know? (The etymology has been
          well documented by Vermes, but etymololgy doesn't indicate what the person
          was called.)

          >Hence, the original pronunciation of
          >Jesus' name was probably "Yeh-SHOO" or at most "Yeh-SHOOuh"; certainly
          >not, Yeh-shoo-AH.

          But all we've got is IHSOUS, /jesu:s/. (/j/ is the IPA for the frontal
          liquid as is pronounced by the Germans ["ja"].) Perhaps it should also be a
          long /e:/ and so we might have /je:su:s/. (Europeans would find this easier
          to understand than

          >So IF one is referring to the historical subject behind the Greek NT
          >texts, it makes perfectly good sense to use Yeshu or Yeshua rather than
          >Jesus.

          Here, "behind" is a "euphemism" for "beyond". I agree it makes "perfectly
          good sense" from your way of thinking, but that is not working with what we
          have. You have not shown that Jesus was not spoken to as /iesu:/ or referred
          to as /iesu:s/. You have merely shown why you want to call him Yeshu(a).

          >One might even argue that IF one is referring to the theologized
          >characterization of HJ in the text of the Greek NT, one *should* use
          >"Iesous" rather than "Jesus" since (a) the later name inevitably carries
          >later popular pietistic connotations that were not intended by the NT
          >authors & (b) the vocalization "DGEE-ZUSS" doesn't even remotely
          >approximate the correct pronunciation of the name in the Greek NT texts.

          I have already argued that that is beside the point. We constantly use forms
          of foreign names in English that hardly approximate the original names. Does
          this mean we should wholesale stop using culturally accepted forms because
          it doesn't agree with what you surmise about the possible real name used for
          Jesus? The language user base has already spoken: you are urinating into the
          wind with this sort of argument.

          >If one accepts, vocalic mutation one might just as well call the central
          >figure of Christianity "Chase" since (a) CHAY- is closer than DJEE- to
          >the Greek pronunciation of IH- & (b) the final "s" is simply a residue
          >of the Greek masculine nominative & was *not* used in the vocative by
          >which he was actually addressed (Greek: IHSOU, Latin: Iesu).

          Which ends up in medaieval Latin as Gesu' and hence our form.

          >There is absolutely no more reason for maintaining that the mutated form
          >of HJ's name "Jesus" should be any more sacrosanct than the mutated form
          >of the tetragrammaton "Jehovah." Both are based on mispronunciations by
          >semi-literate Normanized Anglo-Saxons whose dialect is no longer spoken
          >by any contemporary person who claims to use English.

          Your etymologies are wonky. You need to go back to the medaieval Latin. The
          Italian "Gesu'" is based on the Latin not the Normanized Anglo-Saxon. And
          the only reason I stopped using Jehovah when I was a teen was to raz the JWs.

          >The fact that it
          >is a readily recognizable convention is no reason for preserving it, if
          >it carries undesired connotations.

          True, but you forget the language user base. Imagine the difficulties
          Microsoft had trying to improve MS-DOS when it was the operating system of
          preference and that was only after ten years of total dependence.

          >We have gone through an era when many
          >medieval English conventions have been changed (from forms of personal
          >address to standards of measure). Once one gets over the initial novelty
          >of the new conventional terms, very few people seem to regard the change
          >worth protesting.

          You seem to underestimate the user base. Try and convince people to change
          over from NTSC to the rest of the world. Try and get the English to change
          over to the other side of the street. Try and get the millions of people
          throughout the English speaking world to stop using "Jesus". Try and face
          reality.

          >Thus, I will persist in referring to HJ as Yeshu bar Yosef,

          I guess it's not a bad guess, given your starting assumptions, but it is
          still only a guess.

          >since that best approximates how he was most probably known by those who
          >REALLY knew him.

          How on earth can you make any statements about "those who REALLY knew him"?
          You can sit in New Jersey at the end of the twentieth century and think you
          can look through an American cultured, church manipulated, 1800-year-old
          Greek gospel filter of unknown provenance and think you can talk about what
          "those who REALLY knew him" knew. This has got to be a joke, Mahlon. We are
          still trying to distinguish what Jesus' words were as against what later
          tradition say they were. We are still trying to separate the words from the
          gospel writers' artifice.

          >I will persist in referring to HJ as Yeshu bar Yosef

          This is credo, Mahlon, pure and simple.

          I was taught when I was a kid, "you can call me anything you like, but don't
          call me late for dinner."

          All you have are Greek texts, no original anything. Note the error you made
          at the start of this post. My objection is not to the use of the names per
          se, but to the institutionalised errors implied by the assumptions. You have
          no reality control.


          Ian



          And why send copies to Jack and me when we are going to get one from the
          list anyway?
        • Jack Kilmon
          ... That would not conform to Jewish naming practices. He would have been identified with his father. It was the father who conferred the name and in so
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
            Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
            >
            > At 02:07 AM 10/4/98 -0400, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
            > >Thus, I will persist in referring to HJ as Yeshu bar Yosef, since that
            > >best approximates how he was most probably known by those who REALLY
            > >knew him.
            >
            > Why not Yeshu bar Miryam? (cf. Mark 6:3)

            That would not conform to Jewish naming practices. He would
            have been identified with his father. It was the father who
            conferred the name and in so doing gave the son legitimacy
            and position in the family and community. His name, therefore,
            would have been Yeshua bar (or ben) Yosef. The same practice
            would have held for Miryam who would have been Miryam bas
            Yahoyakim. (if that name for her father is historical).

            Jack
            --
            ______________________________________________

            Min d'LA rokHEM l'maRAN yeSHUa meshyCHA niheYAH. maRAN aTHA

            Jack Kilmon
            jkilmon@...

            http://www.historian.net
          • Mahlon H. Smith
            ... No objection. So why do you rant & rave against the greater probability of an Aramaic pronunciation? It s your vehement refusal to look behind the
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
              Ian Hutchesson wrote:

              > (I have argued in the past for a Yahwistic presence in Galilee, but this
              > does not mean I assume they spoke Hebrew or Aramaic. It is probable that
              > Aramaic was stronger in Galilee.)
              >

              No objection. So why do you rant & rave against the greater
              "probability" of an Aramaic pronunciation? It's your vehement refusal to
              look behind the orthography of Greek texts most probably composed a
              generation & more after HJ's death in urban centers remote from the
              region in which he actually lived that totally mystifies me. Unless one
              could prove that (1) Greek was the universal language of Galilee & (2)
              the gospels were composed by those who shared HJ's regional culture, I
              would think that anyone with linguistic training that included the
              vagaries of vocalic mutations would be willing to grant that NT koine
              orthography is *not* a good indicator of how HJ's name was actually
              pronounced.

              >
              > I know we don't have a character set for IPA transcriptions, but hell this
              > hokey system of weird approximations is awful. I tried /iesu:s/ earlier (but
              > that was influenced by the Italian lack of a letter for a frontal liquid --
              > a similar problem in the Greek), which has got to be closer to the original
              > than varieties of "Yay-soos".
              >

              Closer to the original of what? The pronunciation of IHSOUS (imagine
              Greek characters) by readers of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John or Paul? What
              gives us the right to assume that all of these would have pronounced the
              written word in the same way? Was NT koine Greek exempt from regional
              phonetic variations that characterize all languages even in this day of
              electronic communications? Even if one assumes the existence of a
              standard BBC koine in literate urban centers where the gospels were
              composed, can one take for granted that this was the standard dialect in
              small villages in lower Galilee?

              Now, please tell me just how I am supposed to pronounce /iesu:s/? Is the
              "i" vocalic or consonantal? Is the "e" long (like the Greek eta) or
              short (like epsilon)? Is the "s" a clear or aspirated sibilant? Is the
              "u" long (like upsilon) or short (as in English "up")? See the problem?
              That's why, given the character set limitations of e-mail, I opted for
              "Yay-soos" as hokey as it appears from a standard linguistic
              perspective. Anyway, my point was that this was probably *not* the way
              HJ's name was originally pronounced.

              You note that Greek orthography lacks the ability to distinguish a
              frontal liquid from vocalic "i". It also lacks the ability to
              distinguish a clear sibilant (ss) from an aspirated on (sh). Since the
              name IHSOUS is Semitic & not Hellenic, its original pronunciation
              probably involved a "sh" that the Greek was incapable of transcribing.
              So anyone who insists that the first "s" in Jesus be pronounced "ss" is
              probably wrong.

              My wife, who is Hungarian, regularly laughs at me for mispronouncing
              Hungarian names that contain an "s" between two vowels. It has traken me
              almost 30 years to remember that if I pronounce this "ss" as an English
              speaker would, I got it wrong, because in Hungarian "s" by itself is
              "sh". (To be pronounced "ss" it would have to be spelled "sz").

              So, even if I granted that /iesu:s/ represented a useful transliterated
              standard Greek phoneticization of IHSOUS, it probably would not be an
              accurate representation of the phoneticization of this name by Galilean
              Jews.


              > The Nazareth tradition is not in Q. It is not in GMark (despite 1:9 which
              > has not been taken on by the other synoptics: provenance was exremely
              > important to have it omitted)...

              Denied. I have already refuted this argument in a prior post. As far as
              Mark is concerned HJ's hometown was Nazareth (not Capernaum as you
              contend). The same goes for the SG layer of GJohn.

              > The underlying family tradition of GMatt is not Galilean but Judean.
              >

              The *only* gospel passage that suggests that Jesus or his family ever
              lived in Judea is GMatt 2 (which is a late tradition composed primarily
              for purposes of Christological typology). Nothing else in the Jesus
              tradition supports this. And even Matt admits that Jesus was raised in
              Galilee from early childhood.

              Even if the historical improbabilities of Matt 2 are accepted as
              factual, it would not prove that HJ grew up with a Judean dialect. Our
              Scottish neighbors moved to NJ 3 years ago with small children. Today
              their children's accent is indistinguishable from that of native New
              Jerseyans despite their parents' heavy brogue.

              I wrote:

              > >(2) Galilean Israelites had been subjected to Aramaic culture for more than
              > >half a millennium before Judean occupation,

              Ian intervened:
              >
              > The last three hundred years of which had felt a strong Greek influence. For
              > at least 150 years it was under the yoke of Greek colonists who, if like
              > other places in the Greek colonial world, had control of the majority of the
              > land and the local people were a type of serf on those lands.
              >

              This is a historical generalization for which I would like to see you
              produce proof. In the first place there were no Greek "colonies" as you
              put it in Galilee proper. The closest Hellenistic cities were Ptolemais
              (reconstructed Phoenician Akko) on the Mediterranean coast & Scythopolis
              (reconstructed Canaanite/Israelite Beth Shean) on the south eastern
              Samaritan border. Sepphoris was a Persian fortress that underwent
              minimal Hellenization prior to the Herods. In fact, most of the evidence
              of Hellenization of Galilee is within HJ's own lifetime.

              As for the alleged serfdom of Galilean peasants, this is a total
              anachronism. Most Galileans were free shareholders. Some had recently
              lost their patriarchal lands & were uprooted to populate Herodian
              urbanization projects. But there was nothing comparable to the European
              serf in Greco-Roman Palestine.

              Virtually every recent book on Galilee (e.g., Meyers, Strange, Horsley,
              et al) admits that there was only a thin verneer of Hellenization of an
              area that remained largely rural clear down into HJ's lifetime. Can you
              produce evidence to the contrary?

              I wrote:

              > Hence, the original pronunciation of
              > Jesus' name was probably "Yeh-SHOO" or at most "Yeh-SHOOuh"; certainly
              > not, Yeh-shoo-AH.
              >

              Ian objected:

              > But all we've got is IHSOUS, /jesu:s/. (/j/ is the IPA for the frontal
              > liquid as is pronounced by the Germans ["ja"].) Perhaps it should also be a
              > long /e:/ and so we might have /je:su:s/.

              As long as this the /j/ is not pronounced "dg" or "zsh" I have no
              objection to its use in phonetic transcriptions. But just try getting a
              modern Anglophone to pronounce "j" as in German "ja"! Admit it: the "j"
              in "Jesus" is a relic from Gothic script & resulted in mispronunciation
              of HJ's name in Italian, French & English (all of which vocalized that
              consonant differently). That is why I prefer the "y" which is consistent
              in most languages & is regularly preferred in modern transcriptions of
              Semitic tongues. Just because Latin lacked a "y" is no reason for it not
              to be accepted for informal phoneticizations.

              As for your persistence in phoneticizing the first sigma in IHSOUS as
              "s", I dispute this for reasons stated above. Any Semite who was
              familiar with this name would have probably read the "s" as "sh."

              > Your etymologies are wonky. You need to go back to the medaieval Latin. The
              > Italian "Gesu'" is based on the Latin not the Normanized Anglo-Saxon.

              My medieval Latin from my graduate days in the Pontifical Institute of
              Medieval Studies is still in pretty good shape despite nearly 30 years
              of neglect. The Italian "Gesu," like the French/English "Jesus" are both
              based on a Germanic mispronunciations of the Gothic script long "I" in
              Latin texts, which was the ancestor of our modern J. Only German (& its
              Scandavian cousins) preserved the original "y" sound of the J. That is
              why "Jesus" is invariably mispronounced in most modern western
              languages.


              > Try and get the millions of people
              > throughout the English speaking world to stop using "Jesus". Try and face
              > reality.
              >
              Anybody can say Jesus as much as they want. All I'm arguing is that the
              son of Mary who people think they are invoking when they use that name
              would never have responded to such a monicker. People can believe
              whatever they want about "Jesus." Most of what they believe is pure
              fantasy anyway. As a cultural historian, I am concerned with getting the
              profile of this remarkable person as accurate as possible.

              Shalom!


              Mahlon

              --

              *********************

              Mahlon H. Smith,
              Associate Professor
              Department of Religion
              Rutgers University
              New Brunswick NJ

              http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
            • Ian Hutchesson
              ... History is not about mild probabilities. We have three possible languages to deal with. I said Aramaic had a wider use in Galilee. You then make this silly
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
                Mahlon wrote:

                >why do you rant & rave against the greater
                >"probability" of an Aramaic pronunciation?

                History is not about mild probabilities. We have three possible languages to
                deal with. I said Aramaic had a wider use in Galilee. You then make this
                silly quip about ranting and raving. Come off it, Mahlon.

                >It's your vehement refusal to

                I have no vehement refusal: I am aghast with the dumb jumping the gun.
                People are blindly assuming they can understand the source documents to mean
                things that there is not enough evidence to decide upon. A type of premature
                ejaculation. Nothing will seriously be conceived this way.

                >look behind the orthography of Greek texts most probably composed a
                >generation & more after HJ's death in urban centers remote from the
                >region in which he actually lived that totally mystifies me.

                I have no doubt that IHSOUS is the Greek form of a Hebrew name. You
                consistently miss the point. You are being unscholarly. These are Greek
                texts that don't belie a Hebrew or Aramaic source. As you have seen with the
                names that we use for the Hebrew, names get modified and adapted, in the
                ancient world, often translated. It "totally mystifies me" that someone
                claiming a professorship can be so oblivious to the fact his claims have no
                direct evidence to back them up.

                >Unless one
                >could prove that (1) Greek was the universal language of Galilee & (2)
                >the gospels were composed by those who shared HJ's regional culture, I
                >would think that anyone with linguistic training that included the
                >vagaries of vocalic mutations would be willing to grant that NT koine
                >orthography is *not* a good indicator of how HJ's name was actually
                >pronounced.

                Sorry, but is there some argument here? You are gambling on possible
                vagaries in writers' representations of names they perceived?

                >> I know we don't have a character set for IPA transcriptions, but hell this
                >> hokey system of weird approximations is awful. I tried /iesu:s/ earlier (but
                >> that was influenced by the Italian lack of a letter for a frontal liquid --
                >> a similar problem in the Greek), which has got to be closer to the original
                >> than varieties of "Yay-soos".
                >>
                >
                >Closer to the original of what?

                "Yay" as you so quaintly wrote would be represented /jei/, something that is
                only an English language weak approximation for a front mid-high unrounded
                vowel which has been turned into a diphthong. Such unfamiliarity with pure
                vowels makes an English/American accent stand out in nearly all the
                languages of the world. It is because English orthography is almost totally
                unrelated to pronunciation, that native speakers have so much trouble
                learning foreign language pronunciation.

                >The pronunciation of IHSOUS (imagine
                >Greek characters) by readers of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John or Paul? What
                >gives us the right to assume that all of these would have pronounced the
                >written word in the same way?

                Let's say they wouldn't have been pronounced with an English/American
                accent, OK?

                (Have you listened to CNN lately? They talk a lot about some place called
                /k°ws°v°w/ ["°" is used as a schwa]. And I get a great kick out of CNN's
                meaty urologist, Valerie Voss -- talking about the world's wet spots,
                naturally.)

                >Was NT koine Greek exempt from regional
                >phonetic variations that characterize all languages even in this day of
                >electronic communications? Even if one assumes the existence of a
                >standard BBC koine in literate urban centers where the gospels were
                >composed, can one take for granted that this was the standard dialect in
                >small villages in lower Galilee?
                >
                >Now, please tell me just how I am supposed to pronounce /iesu:s/? Is the
                >"i" vocalic or consonantal? Is the "e" long (like the Greek eta) or
                >short (like epsilon)? Is the "s" a clear or aspirated sibilant? Is the
                >"u" long (like upsilon) or short (as in English "up")? See the problem?

                Hopefully, this was cleared up when you got further into my post. I do
                suggest you actively forget about making linguistic analogies based on
                incoherent English orthography. First an IPA phonetic representation is
                usually indicated by opening and closing oblique lines. Anything within them
                is an attempt to adhere to IPA regulations. This is not hard for many Europeans.

                >That's why, given the character set limitations of e-mail, I opted for
                >"Yay-soos" as hokey as it appears from a standard linguistic
                >perspective.

                As I indicated, it provides a built in error. There is no diphthong in the
                first syllable in the Greek.

                >Anyway, my point was that this was probably *not* the way
                >HJ's name was originally pronounced.

                I don't see how you can talk about the probabilities, when you don't have a
                good enough sample of the necessary linguistic community.

                >You note that Greek orthography lacks the ability to distinguish a
                >frontal liquid from vocalic "i". It also lacks the ability to
                >distinguish a clear sibilant (ss) from an aspirated on (sh). Since the
                >name IHSOUS is Semitic & not Hellenic, its original pronunciation
                >probably involved a "sh" that the Greek was incapable of transcribing.
                >So anyone who insists that the first "s" in Jesus be pronounced "ss" is
                >probably wrong.

                This works on the logic that Jesus was given a Semitic name. You are going
                beyong the evidence again. How many people do you know with the name
                pronounced /saim°n/ (again, with "°" being used for the schwa)? This was
                originally a Semitic name, but it has been appropriated into English. Was
                the name of the Christian messiah not appropriated into the Greek which was
                relatively widespread in Galilee?

                >> The Nazareth tradition is not in Q. It is not in GMark (despite 1:9 which
                >> has not been taken on by the other synoptics: provenance was exremely
                >> important to have it omitted)...
                >
                >Denied. I have already refuted this argument in a prior post.

                I seem to remember having dealt with your "refutation".

                >As far as
                >Mark is concerned HJ's hometown was Nazareth (not Capernaum as you
                >contend).

                You have failed to make any connection between Nazareth and Nazarene, the
                preferred means by which GMark qualifies Jesus; in fact the connection
                cannot be made easily, unless you fudge and drop off the final consonant

                >The same goes for the SG layer of GJohn.

                While it makes sense to talk about Q in relation to the synoptic gospels,
                you have no way of comparing the dating of your so-called "signs gospel" to
                the contents of the synoptics, so it has no bearing in our discussion.

                >> The underlying family tradition of GMatt is not Galilean but Judean.
                >>
                >
                >The *only* gospel passage that suggests that Jesus or his family ever
                >lived in Judea is GMatt 2

                Nazareth, I have shown gets less coverage in the synoptic gospels than
                Capernaum. the writer responsible for introducing Nazareth into GMatt did so
                with caution. Jesus' family starts off in Bethlehem, then moved to Egypt,
                then got moved to Nazareth in 2:23, and was in Capernaum by 4:13.

                >(which is a late tradition composed primarily
                >for purposes of Christological typology).

                I disagree with your reasoning. It is clear to me that the writer involved
                is dealing with competing traditions of Jesus' origins and is juggling them
                to make them work. The Nazarene tradition seems likely to have arisen
                through the formation of a movement of "keepers of the law", notzri ha-brit,
                from which Nazarene would be a good Greek derivation. Both GMatt and GLuke
                have a single attempt at understanding this term as coming from Nazara, a
                reasonable piece of folk etymology (along the lines of Tertullian saying
                that the Ebionites were followers of Ebion).

                While it would make sense to call Jesus a Nazarene, if it was really related
                to Nazareth, it wouldn't make sense to call his followers that, as none of
                them were from Nazareth. However, there seems to have been some type of
                movement referred to as Nazarene, which argues against a gentilic
                significance of the word.

                >Nothing else in the Jesus
                >tradition supports this. And even Matt admits that Jesus was raised in
                >Galilee from early childhood.

                Yes, that's his way of dealing with the conflicting traditions. GLuke takes
                a blanket Nazareth approach. GMark knows only the Nazarene, which as I have
                said can't be derived from Nazareth and 1:9 stands out like a sore thumb,
                being inconsistent with the other Marcan usage and having no parallels in
                the other synoptics.

                >Even if the historical improbabilities of Matt 2 are accepted as
                >factual, it would not prove that HJ grew up with a Judean dialect.

                I didn't claim this. I am not taking a position for I see there is not
                enough evidence.

                >I wrote:
                >
                >> >(2) Galilean Israelites had been subjected to Aramaic culture for more than
                >> >half a millennium before Judean occupation,
                >
                >Ian intervened:
                >>
                >> The last three hundred years of which had felt a strong Greek influence. For
                >> at least 150 years it was under the yoke of Greek colonists who, if like
                >> other places in the Greek colonial world, had control of the majority of the
                >> land and the local people were a type of serf on those lands.
                >>
                >
                >This is a historical generalization for which I would like to see you
                >produce proof. In the first place there were no Greek "colonies" as you
                >put it in Galilee proper. The closest Hellenistic cities were Ptolemais
                >(reconstructed Phoenician Akko) on the Mediterranean coast & Scythopolis
                >(reconstructed Canaanite/Israelite Beth Shean) on the south eastern
                >Samaritan border.

                Apollonius for example, the person who sent Zeno through Palestine in
                260-258 BCE, had large holdings in Beth-Anath, where he produced large
                quantities of wine. Philoteria at the bottom end of the Sea of Galilee
                typical traces of early Greek urban architecture were found. Another big
                archaeological find was north of Lake Huleh at Tel 'Anafa, which showed a
                lot of Seleucid remains.

                >As for the alleged serfdom of Galilean peasants, this is a total
                >anachronism. Most Galileans were free shareholders.

                Perhaps you should look into the Zeno Archive: you'll find complaints of
                over-taxation by the workers on the huge possessions of Apollonius at
                Beth-Anath. This notion of "free shareholders" doesn't match my
                understanding of how cleruchies were run under the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.

                >But there was nothing comparable to the European
                >serf in Greco-Roman Palestine.

                You're overworking the destruction of the analogy. While serfdom was a term
                borrowed from feudal times, it did attempt to show a different connection
                between the local inhabitants of the land to the one you imagine.

                >Virtually every recent book on Galilee (e.g., Meyers, Strange, Horsley,
                >et al) admits that there was only a thin verneer of Hellenization of an
                >area that remained largely rural clear down into HJ's lifetime. Can you
                >produce evidence to the contrary?

                As I have stated there were Greek cities around the area. As it was an
                agricultural area, the colony cities were laid out to take advantage of the
                land. This is why there were Greek cities around Palestine almost
                exclusively in agriculturally profitable areas. Zeno for example had little
                interest in Judea because of its lack of fertility, yet stopped in
                agricultural centres in Ammonitis, Samaria, Damascus and Galilee.

                >I wrote:
                >
                >> Hence, the original pronunciation of
                >> Jesus' name was probably "Yeh-SHOO" or at most "Yeh-SHOOuh"; certainly
                >> not, Yeh-shoo-AH.
                >>
                >
                >Ian objected:
                >
                >> But all we've got is IHSOUS, /jesu:s/. (/j/ is the IPA for the frontal
                >> liquid as is pronounced by the Germans ["ja"].) Perhaps it should also be a
                >> long /e:/ and so we might have /je:su:s/.
                >
                >As long as this the /j/ is not pronounced "dg" or "zsh" I have no
                >objection to its use in phonetic transcriptions. But just try getting a
                >modern Anglophone to pronounce "j" as in German "ja"!

                IPA exists as an independent standard, that once learnt means that anyone
                who uses the standard will always transmit the same phonetic representation
                be you English, German, Italian or Swaheli. Philology has been plagued with
                ideosyncratic representations that cannot be understood outside the narrow
                circle of the coterie who indulge in the study. It is very hard to get any
                uniformity out of such a situation which only stimulates the confusion of
                linguistics the scholar I'm responding to shows.

                >Admit it: the "j"
                >in "Jesus" is a relic from Gothic script & resulted in mispronunciation
                >of HJ's name in Italian, French & English (all of which vocalized that
                >consonant differently).

                In IPA its significance is singular. There is no discussion about it: you
                either accept IPA or you don't -- and, if you don't, you restrict yourself
                to the narrow community you work in.

                >That is why I prefer the "y" which is consistent
                >in most languages & is regularly preferred in modern transcriptions of
                >Semitic tongues.

                In Turkey it has a different value as it does in Scandinavia. In English it
                is ambiguous. Take the word "sysygy": are any of the "y"s pronounced the way
                you are proposing?

                >Just because Latin lacked a "y" is no reason for it not
                >to be accepted for informal phoneticizations.

                There are to many astandard phoneticizations. How about if we drop the hokey
                misrepresentations and try to be coherent about pronunciation, if it is
                important to you?

                >As for your persistence in phoneticizing the first sigma in IHSOUS as
                >"s", I dispute this for reasons stated above. Any Semite who was
                >familiar with this name would have probably read the "s" as "sh."

                Again, you assume that Jesus' name was either Hebrew or Aramaic: this is not
                a given. It either is, or it is a Greek derivation of the name. Can you tell
                me if Onias IV was ever called Hanan or Jehohanan?

                >> Your etymologies are wonky. You need to go back to the medaieval Latin. The
                >> Italian "Gesu'" is based on the Latin not the Normanized Anglo-Saxon.
                >
                >My medieval Latin from my graduate days in the Pontifical Institute of
                >Medieval Studies is still in pretty good shape despite nearly 30 years
                >of neglect. The Italian "Gesu," like the French/English "Jesus" are both
                >based on a Germanic mispronunciations of the Gothic script long "I" in
                >Latin texts, which was the ancestor of our modern J. Only German (& its
                >Scandavian cousins) preserved the original "y" sound of the J. That is
                >why "Jesus" is invariably mispronounced in most modern western
                >languages.

                This is not a trajectory that seems too feasible. In English the Germanic
                /g/ was very often weakened to /j/, eg the past-participial "ge-" becomes
                "y-" in Middle English; and consider "Segel"/"sail", "Regen"/"rain",
                "egen"/"own". This change was basically after the introduction of
                Christianity into England.

                Nevertheless, I shall check Devoto-Oli on its version of the phonetic
                development when I get the chance.

                >> Try and get the millions of people
                >> throughout the English speaking world to stop using "Jesus". Try and face
                >> reality.
                >>
                >Anybody can say Jesus as much as they want. All I'm arguing is that the
                >son of Mary who people think they are invoking when they use that name
                >would never have responded to such a monicker.

                We realise that. Germans have to learn that they are Germans to the English
                and not Deutsch.

                >People can believe
                >whatever they want about "Jesus." Most of what they believe is pure
                >fantasy anyway. As a cultural historian, I am concerned with getting the
                >profile of this remarkable person as accurate as possible.

                You are not going to get there by over-extending. You have no documents
                "more original" than the Greek texts. It is not historical to assume Jesus
                spoke Aramaic, though there is more than a possibility. Many scholars seem
                to have remarkable ideas of the linguistic capabilities of ancient peoples,
                thinking the majority could handle perhaps three languages.

                The fact that there were three dialects of Hebrew and two of Aramaic found
                in the DSS suggests not multilingual speakers, but a diversification of
                single language speakers.


                Ian
              • y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
                I m sure the vehemence of Ian s language and tone in this debate has puzzled more than just poor me. (Hi, Ian! Long time no talk.) For the life of me, I cannot
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
                  I'm sure the vehemence of Ian's language and tone in this debate has
                  puzzled more than just poor me. (Hi, Ian! Long time no talk.) For the life
                  of me, I cannot see the great stakes in this debate.

                  On Sun, 4 Oct 1998, Ian Hutchesson wrote:
                  > Mahlon wrote:

                  ...

                  > >Even if the historical improbabilities of Matt 2 are accepted as
                  > >factual, it would not prove that HJ grew up with a Judean dialect.
                  >
                  > I didn't claim this. I am not taking a position for I see there is not
                  > enough evidence.

                  I guess your position can be described as militant agnosticism, Ian?
                  While the probable obviously is not good enough for you, you will defend
                  to the last soldier our right not to be sure? And perhaps, to follow your
                  logic, this even becomes our _obligation_ to be uncertain?

                  ...

                  > Again, you assume that Jesus' name was either Hebrew or Aramaic:

                  But everyone in the world assumes this. I'm curious, is there anyone
                  besides Ian who doesn't assume this?

                  > this is not a given.

                  But this is highly likely.

                  > It either is, or it is a Greek derivation of the name.

                  So you want to make Jeshu into a Greek... Can this be seen as going beyond
                  the evidence, I wonder?

                  > Can you tell me if Onias IV was ever called Hanan or Jehohanan?

                  It is well known that rich and aristorcratic Jews at the time often tended
                  to adopt Greek ways -- much more so than the country folk.

                  ...

                  > You are not going to get there by over-extending. You have no documents
                  > "more original" than the Greek texts.

                  True, but I don't know anyone who believes that pre-Easter followers of
                  Jeshu -- all Jews as far as we know -- used Greek as their first language.
                  Oral tradition came first, and it was unlikely to be Greek.

                  > It is not historical to assume Jesus spoke Aramaic, though there is more
                  > than a possibility.

                  Do I see a contradiction here? It is not historical to accept the likely
                  course of events?

                  > Many scholars seem to have remarkable ideas of the linguistic
                  > capabilities of ancient peoples, thinking the majority could handle
                  > perhaps three languages.

                  I lived in Montreal where an average Italian-Canadian can handle three
                  languages quite well.

                  Cheers,

                  Yuri.
                • Mike Grondin
                  Ian- Yer spittin in the wind, buddy. Not a good idea. Mike (Oh, by the way, I ve decided that my poor posts do have some value after all [except for this
                  Message 8 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
                    Ian-

                    Yer spittin' in the wind, buddy. Not a good idea.

                    Mike

                    (Oh, by the way, I've decided that my poor posts do have some value after
                    all [except for this one]: other people read them and say to themselves, "I
                    know that's wrong, but I can't quite figure out what's wrong with it". You
                    see? My mistakes help other people reason better!)
                    ------------------------------------
                    The Codex II Student Resource Center
                    http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
                  • Ian Hutchesson
                    ... Is vehemence the word of the day? It s alright I guess for people to try and brand you vehement with its lovely overtones. It has very little to do with
                    Message 9 of 11 , Oct 4, 1998
                      >I'm sure the vehemence of Ian's language and tone in this debate has
                      >puzzled more than just poor me.

                      Is vehemence the word of the day? It's alright I guess for people to try and
                      brand you vehement with its lovely overtones. It has very little to do with
                      the discussion. Let's add a little random irrelevance to the discussion:
                      there's obviously more to come here!

                      >(Hi, Ian! Long time no talk.)

                      Ahh, g'day!

                      >For the life
                      >of me, I cannot see the great stakes in this debate.

                      Then why put your two cents in?

                      >On Sun, 4 Oct 1998, Ian Hutchesson wrote:
                      >> Mahlon wrote:
                      >
                      > ...
                      >
                      >> >Even if the historical improbabilities of Matt 2 are accepted as
                      >> >factual, it would not prove that HJ grew up with a Judean dialect.
                      >>
                      >> I didn't claim this. I am not taking a position for I see there is not
                      >> enough evidence.
                      >
                      >I guess your position can be described as militant agnosticism, Ian?

                      Who rushes in where angels fear to tread?

                      >While the probable obviously is not good enough for you, you will defend
                      >to the last soldier our right not to be sure?

                      You are leaning on "probable" a bit too heavily. A slight probability
                      doesn't make a sure thing. I'm sure even you are aware of that, Yuri!

                      >And perhaps, to follow your
                      >logic, this even becomes our _obligation_ to be uncertain?

                      There are far to many guesses and too much wishful thinking in the field. I
                      suppose you're in good company. I have tended to read in areas where there
                      is more information. There is no new information coming into the inital
                      developments of Christianity, no new epigraphic or archaeological sources
                      that I know of. Without new input I can't see you squeezing any more
                      certainties out of what you've got, which is a bunch of second century or
                      later texts written in Greek, three of which show some dependence between
                      them and contain various conflicting traditions

                      > ...
                      >
                      >> Again, you assume that Jesus' name was either Hebrew or Aramaic:
                      >
                      >But everyone in the world assumes this. I'm curious, is there anyone
                      >besides Ian who doesn't assume this?

                      Does it matter? Is your interest a sociological one?

                      How do you eliminate Greek? Are any of the gospels thought to have been
                      written in Palestine?

                      >> this is not a given.
                      >
                      >But this is highly likely.

                      Saying so doesn't make it so, Yuri. You don't have any criterion to judge as
                      your texts are all in Greek. But do tell, why do you say "highly likely". If
                      you eliminate guessing, a favourite passtime, can you muster any evidence to
                      eliminate Greek?

                      >> It either is, or it is a Greek derivation of the name.
                      >
                      >So you want to make Jeshu into a Greek... Can this be seen as going beyond
                      >the evidence, I wonder?

                      A person who speaks Greek is not necessarily a Greek were the Babitha
                      archives written by Greeks? Don't you get sick of making wrong assumptions?
                      I guess it doesn't matter though.

                      >> Can you tell me if Onias IV was ever called Hanan or Jehohanan?
                      >
                      >It is well known that rich and aristorcratic Jews at the time often tended
                      >to adopt Greek ways -- much more so than the country folk.

                      So, it's alright for aristocratic Jews to adopt Greek ways, but not alright
                      for non-aristocratic Jews to do so, right? When the agricultural workers of
                      the Galilee (of the gentiles) were exposed to Greek overlords, what are they
                      going to do when their instructions were in Greek?

                      > ...
                      >
                      >> You are not going to get there by over-extending. You have no documents
                      >> "more original" than the Greek texts.
                      >
                      >True, but I don't know anyone who believes that pre-Easter followers of
                      >Jeshu -- all Jews as far as we know -- used Greek as their first language.
                      >Oral tradition came first, and it was unlikely to be Greek.

                      Which oral tradition though? The oral tradition of the wandering
                      preacher/freeloader who spread his tales of the messiah to willing feeders?
                      Tell whatever they'll believe: the longer they feed you the less you have to
                      move along.

                      >> It is not historical to assume Jesus spoke Aramaic, though there is more
                      >> than a possibility.
                      >
                      >Do I see a contradiction here? It is not historical to accept the likely
                      >course of events?

                      If you have a three horse race and one horse has a 40% chance of winning,
                      will he win? Prognosticate, Yuri! That's all you can do. It bears no
                      relation to history.

                      >> Many scholars seem to have remarkable ideas of the linguistic
                      >> capabilities of ancient peoples, thinking the majority could handle
                      >> perhaps three languages.
                      >
                      >I lived in Montreal where an average Italian-Canadian can handle three
                      >languages quite well.

                      How many of them had less than ten years of schooling? How many of the
                      average Palestinian of the first century had even a day's schooling? Gosh,
                      Yuri, you should try harder to exclude 20th century bias from your
                      analogies! How many of them had good control of even one language? Can you
                      say that the non-standard language of GMark doesn't represent the person's
                      "native" tongue? (On the subject of non-standard language, Willliam Labov
                      wrote an interesting essay ["The Logic of N-S English", I think] defending
                      the abilities of non-standard language users to communicate just as well as
                      people who have access to a standard variety of a language.)



                      Ian


                      Why put two copies of your post into a person's email box? WIll he read it
                      twice?
                    • Ian Hutchesson
                      ... Yes, I know, intellectual honesty is not a safe thing. Ian (I have friends who are archaeologists who, when they heard of my interest in biblical matters,
                      Message 10 of 11 , Oct 5, 1998
                        >Yer spittin' in the wind, buddy. Not a good idea.

                        Yes, I know, intellectual honesty is not a safe thing.


                        Ian

                        (I have friends who are archaeologists who, when they heard of my interest
                        in biblical matters, started treating me like a believer in witchcraft. My
                        nextdoor neighbour, an Egyptologist, began listening to everything I said
                        with suspicion. A friend who works at Ebla was ready to laugh at any
                        unfounded propsitions I put forward. This was one of the people who
                        discovered that Middle Bronze Jericho had no walls to come tumbling down.

                        You start off talking coherently about something of interest and they are
                        wondering when the conversation will go off the rails. The general
                        impression in the more rigorous disciplines, and these guys are reflective
                        of a wider view, is to view historical biblical studies as quackery. I can
                        understand this, given the general willingness people have to go beyond the
                        evidence.)
                      • y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
                        On Mon, 5 Oct 1998, Ian Hutchesson wrote: [Yuri:] ... Your opinion only, Ian. I think I m leaning on probable just so that it would support me. ... Nobody
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 7, 1998
                          On Mon, 5 Oct 1998, Ian Hutchesson wrote:

                          [Yuri:]
                          > >While the probable obviously is not good enough for you, you will defend
                          > >to the last soldier our right not to be sure?
                          >
                          > You are leaning on "probable" a bit too heavily.

                          Your opinion only, Ian. I think I'm leaning on "probable" just so that it
                          would support me.

                          > A slight probability doesn't make a sure thing.

                          Nobody said it does. Still, even a small probability is better than
                          nothing. And maybe it's not so small?

                          > >And perhaps, to follow your
                          > >logic, this even becomes our _obligation_ to be uncertain?
                          >
                          > There are far to many guesses and too much wishful thinking in the
                          > field.

                          And I'm the first to address these. I suppose you've missed those
                          Crosstalk exchanges over the last few months, where, among other things,
                          I've offered a solution to the Synoptic problem (proto-Mk), and addressed
                          seriously the problem of the historical Paul, and of the supposed
                          "authentic 7 epistles".

                          > I suppose you're in good company.

                          I choose my company carefully.

                          > I have tended to read in areas where there is more information. There is
                          > no new information coming into the inital developments of Christianity,
                          > no new epigraphic or archaeological sources that I know of.

                          Just check my webpage. I've got tons of unusual information that nobody in
                          current scholarship has heard before.

                          I'm inclining more and more to the view that some competent scholars early
                          in this century have already offered excellent solutions to many of the
                          problems scholars of this generations are still struggling with in vain.
                          But the work of scholars like Loisy is now buried in the dusty old stacks
                          in the back of the library where nobody ever goes.

                          So the radical new research today may amount to simply saving from
                          obscurity and updating some valuable research of the past. What's the
                          point in reinventing the wheel?

                          It is my view that biblical scholarship in the last couple of generations
                          often has rather retreated instead of advancing. What I call modern
                          biblical scholarship's Trek in the Desert Wilderness.

                          Scientific progress is not always linear and predictable. Sometimes it
                          retreats rather than advances. But in the long term it advances, so I do
                          believe my solutions will be the way of the future. I'm also aware of
                          illustrations from other fields of historical scholarship where a similar
                          situation seems to prevail currently (Polynesian studies).

                          > Without new input I can't see you squeezing any more certainties out of
                          > what you've got, which is a bunch of second century or later texts
                          > written in Greek, three of which show some dependence between them and
                          > contain various conflicting traditions

                          I believe it is extremely short-sighted to refuse to go beyond the most
                          literal reading of the evidence.

                          > >> Again, you assume that Jesus' name was either Hebrew or Aramaic:
                          > >
                          > >But everyone in the world assumes this. I'm curious, is there anyone
                          > >besides Ian who doesn't assume this?
                          >
                          > Does it matter?

                          Yes.

                          > Is your interest a sociological one?

                          Sure, I'm interested in the sociology of science.

                          > How do you eliminate Greek?

                          I have no intention of doing so.

                          > Are any of the gospels thought to have been written in Palestine?

                          I don't believe so.

                          > >> this is not a given.
                          > >
                          > >But this is highly likely.
                          >
                          > Saying so doesn't make it so, Yuri.

                          I say so because I believe it's valid.

                          > You don't have any criterion to judge as your texts are all in Greek.

                          You slavishly refuse to consider other criteria other than these texts.
                          This is a failing as I see it.

                          > >So you want to make Jeshu into a Greek... Can this be seen as going beyond
                          > >the evidence, I wonder?
                          >
                          > A person who speaks Greek is not necessarily a Greek.

                          So you want to make Yeshu's first language Greek? How RRRadical!

                          > Were the Babitha archives written by Greeks?

                          Did the peasants write these archives?

                          > >It is well known that rich and aristorcratic Jews at the time often tended
                          > >to adopt Greek ways -- much more so than the country folk.
                          >
                          > So, it's alright for aristocratic Jews to adopt Greek ways, but not
                          > alright for non-aristocratic Jews to do so, right?

                          Unlike you I refrain from making value judgements.

                          > When the agricultural workers of the Galilee (of the gentiles) were
                          > exposed to Greek overlords,

                          You just assume this as given. Why are you willing to go beyond the
                          evidence?

                          > what are they going to do when their instructions were in Greek?

                          Another unsupported assumption.

                          > >> You are not going to get there by over-extending. You have no documents
                          > >> "more original" than the Greek texts.
                          > >
                          > >True, but I don't know anyone who believes that pre-Easter followers of
                          > >Jeshu -- all Jews as far as we know -- used Greek as their first language.
                          > >Oral tradition came first, and it was unlikely to be Greek.
                          >
                          > Which oral tradition though?

                          What are the choices that you see here?

                          > The oral tradition of the wandering preacher/freeloader who spread his
                          > tales of the messiah to willing feeders? Tell whatever they'll believe:
                          > the longer they feed you the less you have to move along.

                          Are you making value judgements here? In any case, I do miss your point
                          now.

                          > >> It is not historical to assume Jesus spoke Aramaic, though there is more
                          > >> than a possibility.
                          > >
                          > >Do I see a contradiction here? It is not historical to accept the likely
                          > >course of events?
                          >
                          > If you have a three horse race and one horse has a 40% chance of winning,
                          > will he win? Prognosticate, Yuri! That's all you can do. It bears no
                          > relation to history.

                          This sounds quite naive. In historical scholarship, we should be happy if
                          we can succeed in identifying the most logical and likely scenario. So
                          I'll stick with this, thank you, while you can go off somewhere else if
                          you wish.

                          > >I lived in Montreal where an average Italian-Canadian can handle three
                          > >languages quite well.
                          >
                          > How many of them had less than ten years of schooling?

                          Language is not necessarily a function of schooling. Often quite to the
                          contrary.

                          > How many of the average Palestinian of the first century had even a
                          > day's schooling? Gosh, Yuri, you should try harder to exclude 20th
                          > century bias from your analogies!

                          None in my analogies. I just don't believe ancient people were more stupid
                          than we.

                          > Why put two copies of your post into a person's email box? WIll he read
                          > it twice?

                          I don't know about others, but this is how my mailreader preformats my
                          replies. Of course I can cut out the other address (as I'm doing now) but
                          this would be extra work... :)

                          Myself, I don't mind receiving 2 copies in such cases, since then I know
                          right away it's a reply to my post, so I pay more attention.

                          Regards,

                          Yuri.

                          Yuri Kuchinsky || Toronto

                          http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

                          The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
                          equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
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