Re: [XTalk] Gibson's "Passion" Latin or Greek?
- At 02:38 PM 2/28/04 +0000, you wrote:
>Shouldn't it have been in Greek and not Latin to correspond to how itProbably. That Jesus and Pilate converse in latin in the movie is simply
>really would have been?
amazing. (in the sense of unbelieveable).
Dr Jim West
Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com -- Biblical Studies Resources Weblog
"The way many young theologues are dissociating themselves from the church
is highly displeasing to me. It is also utterly unrealistic". Gerhard von Rad
- On Feb 28, 2004, at 9:38 AM, Steve wrote:
> Shouldn't it have been in Greek and not Latin to correspond to how itI also was surprised to hear Jesus speaking Latin. If we set aside
> really would have been?
supernatural explanations, it seems grossly improbable that Jesus could
speak Latin (and even more improbable that he would have needed to do
so with Pilate.)
On a similar note - can anyone comment as to whether the Roman soldiers
should have spoken Latin among themselves? Wasn't Greek more or less
the Lingua Franca in the Roman Army (at least in the east) at this
Patrick Narkinsky - patrick@...
- Steve Allison asks:
>>Shouldn't it have been in Greek and not Latin to correspond to how itreally would have been?<<
Catholic Traditionalists apparently assume that everything Roman was
conducted in Latin. The same reasoning I would have expected with regard to
the Jewish people. If one were to ask the average traditionalist what
language the Jews spoke in Jesus' time, they'd probably say "Hebrew." That
is why I expected Hebrew. That Gibson chose Aramaic is an indication that he
was at least aware, and likely agreed, that Aramaic was the common language
of Jews in Judaea. However, that little factoid has only become commonly
known in the last century or so, on the basis of modern scholarship.
FWIW, I think the Jewish aristocracy, as opposed to the rural Jewish
population, could probably speak, read and write in both Hebrew and Aramaic.
Their interrogation of Jesus would likely have taken place in Aramaic, maybe
with some Hebrew words mixed in.
I would think that most educated Romans could read, write and speak both
Latin and Greek, at least the Attic dialect. Those active in the south and
eastern Mediterranean would understand the koine dialect but probably not be
inclined to speak it. Most all of the cities of the region that they would
be living in were of Greek origin. I seriously doubt they would have
However, Pilate would likely have had translators on hand for any
interrogations, maybe using some of the auxiliary soldiers in his command,
who were recruited mainly from the rural population of Samaria and Syria
(and thus bilingual in Aramaic and some Greek). Roman officers drawn from
the rank and file soldiers (i.e., Centurions) were probably also capable of
some conversational Latin, and could read military or legal dispatches, but
likely could only write it phonetically.
Jesus would likely have spoken and perhaps even could read/write Aramaic. I
would not be surprised if he could comprehend Hebrew, at least enough to
listen to or recite passages of Hebrew scripture, and less likely could
read/write it (but it is similar to Aramaic in many regards, so it could
certainly be possible). I also think Jesus could probably carry on a labored
conversation in Greek, maybe even read & write it a bit, if only for
business transactions (similar to Pilate's soldiers). I doubt very much he
had any significant knowledge of Latin, except to say "yes, sir" and "no,
Since the only common language between Jesus and Pilate was Greek, I'd think
that would be the most likely language for any exchange between them (if
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
- Patrick Narkinsky wrote:
> On Feb 28, 2004, at 9:38 AM, Steve wrote:Depends on from where the troops were recruited. But I think it's safe
> > Shouldn't it have been in Greek and not Latin to correspond to how
> > really would have been?
> I also was surprised to hear Jesus speaking Latin. If we set aside
> supernatural explanations, it seems grossly improbable that Jesus
> speak Latin (and even more improbable that he would have needed to do
> so with Pilate.)
> On a similar note - can anyone comment as to whether the Roman
> should have spoken Latin among themselves? Wasn't Greek more or less
> the Lingua Franca in the Roman Army (at least in the east) at this
to say -- after reading the discussion in Schurer on the make up of the
cohorts and the Legions in Syria Palestine up through the Jewish war --
that the soldiers in the Antonia would have been speaking Greek, as they
were auxiliaries from Syria.
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
Chicago, IL 60626
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Jeffrey B. Gibson says:
>>I think it's safe to say -- after reading the discussion in Schurer on themake up of the
cohorts and the Legions in Syria Palestine up through the Jewish war -- that
the soldiers in the Antonia would have been speaking Greek, as theywere
auxiliaries from Syria.<<
Rostovtzeff says that very few recruits came from the cities themselves,
with the bulk of the recruits coming from the rural areas that "belonged" to
the Greek cities, and that these rurals tended to speak the local dialects.
I'd think, like our hypothetical Jesus, that they would know enough Greek to
conduct their business with the landlords or city officials from whom they
or their relatives leased the land they had farmed, or sold or bought grain
and handicrafts to and from, etc.
The common Auxiliary soldier serving in Judaea would thus speak some dialect
of Aramaic fluently, koine Greek conversationally or haltingly, and would
not speak Latin much at all except for knowing a few vulgar military related
The non commissioned officers (centurions) would know enough to read
military dispatches and maybe converse a bit with his higher level native
Roman commanders, but surviving military dispatches from Gaul, etc, suggest
that they wrote a vulgar phonetic dialect. Even among Roman citizens there
were class differences, and many legions recruited among the local
population. And that was in the west where Latin prevailed, although Greek
was very commonly used there as the language of business, so recruits would
probably know it a bit. Latin surely had to be much less commonly used in
Cleveland, Ohio, USA