Re: XTALK clip--Kilmon on Jesus' Aramaic (?) prayer
----- Original Message -----
From: "Randall Buth" <ButhFam@...>
To: "Dennis Sullivan" <densull@...>; "Jack Kilmon"
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 6:48 AM
Subject: re: XTALK clip--Kilmon on Jesus' Aramaic (?) prayer
> shalom Jack,
> Someone sent me a clip of your crosstalk and asked for comment.
> You may quote "gently", though I won't have time for
> XTALK elisting.
It is always a pleasure, Randy, to discuss these issue with one of the
brightest linguists I know. I will copy this to XTalk since the thread
originated there and some may be interested.
> >Luke uses hAMARTIAS ('sin") in the first part of the petition and the
> >participial "being indebted" in the second half.
> >Since this is only an Aramaic idiom, Luke is telling us not only that the
> >prayer was rendered in Aramaic but what the Aramaic word xwbyn
> Jack, we've been over this, historians have to present the whole truth.
> "debt" is also a pre-Christian, HEBREW idiom:
> zexor ki kullanu Hayyabim/n
> BenSira 8.5.
> If you quote an Aramaic "specialist" who says "it's ONLY Aramaic",
> they just expose their ignorance, no matter how widely lauded.
8:5 Do not reproach one who is turning away from sin;
OK, let's chitty chat about this for a while. Of course Historians have to
present the whole truth and I assure you, amateur that I am, I have reviewed
the use of xywb/xwb in biblical and extrabiblical usage to determine for
myself if this is an Aramaic idiom or both Aramaic and Hebrew. First, I
need to know which Hebrew text of ben Sira you are using since I could not
find 8:5 in the T-S fragments and the CCAT Interlinear Greek-Hebrew ben Sira
uses p$( as does Proverbs 10:19).
I find <Heb> x+) or x+)h most often in Biblical usage and (wn or (wwn. I
find xwb as a hapax at Daniel 1:10 which was originally composed in Aramaic
and which I consider to be an Aramaic loan word. I find the same usage of
(wn <sin> in 4Q285(frag 5.6) and (wnm in 4Q385-389 (Frag 4-6.5 and 6). With
no biblical use of xwb other than the originally Aramaic Daniel 1:10 (a
hapax) yet I find consistent use of it in the *Aramaic* texts of Qumran -
xy[b Col 5, Frag 5 line 2 of 4Q541 and in the Testament of Kohath 4Q542 Frag
1 Col 2 Line 6 <Aram>lmxzt) xwbt kwl xyby (yby (lmyn xb[ (To reveal the sin
of all the eternal sinners)
you will understand where I will be inclined to see your example as an
Aramaic loan word in the Hebrew text you cite.
> Israeli scholars like Bar-Asher just smile and pity. I can only warn you
> that "NT Aramaic experts" do not have a high ranking among Israeli
> Aramaic experts. Sokoloff, Qimron, Tal, Bar Asher, Eshel, et al, would
> wish that "specialists" would learn their stuff better.
Believe me, Randy, I know all about the prejudices and "territorial
imperatives" of different scholastic schools. I am being taken to task on
another list for being an "Albright acolyte." No one has yet come up with
an argument that convinces me, nor the general opinion of NT scholars, that
Hebrew was the spoken lingua franca of the 2nd temple period and the
language of Jesus. I have been examining the evidences since Bill Albright
taught me my first Aramaic word...and thats a long time ago. There are many
other areas of academic and ideological tendenz for which " 'NT Aramaic
experts' (surely referring to Black, Fitzmyer, Jeremias) do not have a high
ranking among Israeli Aramaic experts." I have found most of the linguistic
arguments against Aramaic to be very complex, so much so that very simple
and basic flaws are masked in a cacaphony of "linguo-speak," I have been in
discussions on this issue where the "Hebrew speakers" or "Greek speakers"
raled into tantrums and showered ad hominem as if Aramaic was the language
of the darkest devils in hell.
I do not have a "school" of thought that I consider superior...with the
exception of the divinely inspired Albright, that is <g>....and I consider
all arguments with no sacred cows to feed. I consider a paradigm disproven
as much a victory as one proven. As a result, if the "Israeli School" wants
to make some points with me, they need to give me some convincing arguments.
Arrogance doesn't do it for me and quite frankly claiming someone like
Fitzmyer as less than themselves academically is pure arrogance, don't you
> Gary Anderson at Harvard Div. is doing a study on the second-temple
> construct where "sin as burden" shifted to "sin as debt". It is
> certainly not "Aramaic only".
I will be delighted to read his paper when it comes out and give it
> >in this case, a transgression or offense against God or ones fellows,
> >indicating a penalty to be paid. In this form, I doubt that it meant
> >shattering, fires of hell, lightning striking, iniquitous acts drawing
> >wrath of the heavenly hosts...just the every day little "slips" of which
> >are all guilty with the prayer giving one a sort of every day Yom Kippur.
> >The time has probably come for me to work on a paper using all the
> >evidences of Aramaic as the native voice of Jesus and on the various
> >forms of Aramaisms in the NT that can either be attributed to the vox
> >Iesu or to a Palestinian oral tradition.
> You will want to add the Qumran 4Q462.5 me-eHad "from one" =
> "immediately". A possible background to Luke 14.18 and geographically
> more reasonable than Wellhausen/Black/Casey's Syriac (!). Bar Asher gave a
> nice paper (in Hebrew) on me-eHad among other items at the
> Qumran Colloquium in Jerusalem, January.
462.5 or .7? kbwdw )$r m)xd...?? With APO MIAS?
> > I think Bruce Chilton ("Rabbi Jesus") and Maurice Casey ("Aramaic
> > Sources of Mark's Gospel") are aware of the problem. But I don't know
> > how their responses have been appreciated.
> You should have come to Denver SBL. I gave a review of Casey
> "Aramaic Background to Mark..." at the Historical Jesus seminar.
> A few thought the paper stunning and eye-opening. Fitzmyer thought
> it in the wrong direction but said nothing publically and
> gave not a scrap of contrary data to some he spoke with privately.
> (There isn't any, the data is 'tight'. There is always room for
> re-configuration, but it would be based on holes in the evidence
> rather than solid evidence.)
> Basically, Casey's control of Aramaic is unreliable, qal veHomer
> (='how much more') his control of the Hebrew/Aramaic question.
I can't speak for his Aramaic as I have not yet read it...it's on order. I
did read Chilton's SBL review whiich seems to explain the tension with
Fitzmyer. I can only agree vigorously with the motivation behind it, that
HJ studies have been greatly shortchanged by the lack of attention to the
Aramaic stratum of Yeshuine sayings materials. I believe that this lack of
attention to what I call the "Follow the Aramaic" method is to a large part
due to the biases and prejudices I allude to above.
Chilton's review can be seen at:
> One of the items in the review:
> I surveyed Aramaic narrative at Qumran and showed how they all
> evidence "edayin" as a narrative conjunction. Mark and Luke have
> "nada". (that's spanish for 'when are you going to come and have
> your cup of coffee?) Casey claims to be based on Qumran Aramaic
> but cannot explain why even Greek Matthew has some narrative-tote
> opposite his Marcan selections, but his Aramaic retro has none.
Can you resend me your "narrative edayin" paper? I want to re-evaluate it
for this discussion but lost the last treatment in a computer crash.
> >It is a problem which I believe is solved by an Aramaic Q for Luke and a
> >Greek Q for Matthew. There are many other evidences for this, IMO.
> And there are many evidences of Luke having access to something that
> went back to Hebrew. Like non-LXXalisms.
Some examples, please.
> If Qumran had been
> around in Dalman's day, NT scholarship may have taken a different
> course. (Then again, maybe not. The tendenz was to discover a
> universal, beyond-Jewish Jesus. Geiger's artificial Mishnaic Hebrew
> thesis was embraced even though linguistically refuted already in
A part of the prejudices of the "Eastern School" regarding NT Aramaic may
well have been forged in the earlier works by Dalman, Torrey, Burney, etc.
simply because there was not as much textual material as we have today. Of
course, NT studies would be different today if the DSS were discovered in
> The question is not what language was most used in the
> market--the question is what language did Semitic gospel sources
> get written down in? And in what langauge did rabbi Jesus pass on his
> oral tora? STeve Notley and I are working on a monograph on Lucan
> style that will have a lot to say on these issues. (Bruce Chilton's
> illiterate, Aramaic Jesus' is really a phantom figment, especially after
> surveying the sophisticated Hebrew-only exegesis that shows up in Jesus'
> teachings, incl. the socalled 'artificial' Luke 4.)
I'll be very interested in that monograph. Of course, you realize that it
involves changing the audience of Jesus from the lower socio-economic class
(Aramaic speaking) to the upper class (Hebrew literate). I won't pre-judge
your work though and would like to see a draft when it is ready.
You realize, of course, that Aramaic is the ONLY language placed on the lips
of Jesus by the Gospels.
> Meanwhile, if you come to SBL in Toronto, I'm thinking of dealing with
> the question of Qumranian evidence and the origin of Jewish targum. I'll
> be arguing that Qumran Job copies were a widely known special case
> that show that the general targum development was post-second-temple.
> It's about time that someone blows the whistle on the emperor's lack of
<grin> You mean that the presence of Targumim in 2nd temple times is an
embarrassment to the "Hebrew speaking" school?
> PS: Aramaic/Hebrew issues aside, if you know of students who would like
> a peaceful, intensive, "living" introduction to Biblical Hebrew, have them
> out our new website:
> We had a lot of fun with students last summer in the new archaeological
> garden and with field trips for 'on-site' biblical readings. And the
> were able to start reading through their parashot ha-shavua this year!
I sure wish I could make it, Randy. There is nothing that I would like
better than to sit at a Jerusalem cafe with you, share hummus and dark
coffee and show you the error of your ways on the Hebrew/Aramaic question