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Aramaic Sensibilities!

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  • George Brooks
    Jack, This is not the first time I ve been mesmerized by your transliteration of Aramaic! You write: The pun is absent from modern literary form, even
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 6, 2001
      Jack,

      This is not the first time I've been mesmerized by
      your transliteration of Aramaic!

      You write:

      "The pun is absent from modern literary form, even negatively
      regarded but in Aramaic and Hebrew, in the OT and Targumim..even
      Modern Hebrew, it is essential. That the Markan form is not a
      literary "development" of the GOT form is very clear to my
      Aramaic sensibilities."

      When I read treatments like yours, it makes me kick myself
      for taking a few years of Latin. I should have taken
      ARAMAIC!!!! (Either that... or some Spanish LoL).

      Nice analysis, Jack. Which book would you recommend to
      read more "retro" work like this?

      George
    • mgrondin@tir.com
      ... You mean laryngeal (as in of the larynx )? Aside from that, how about putting these things in a way us non-linguists can understand? Mike
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 6, 2001
        --- Jack Kilmon wrote:
        > The Key sounds in Aramaic are the layrygal and sonant resh that
        > form the paronomasia.

        You mean 'laryngeal' (as in 'of the larynx')? Aside from that, how
        about putting these things in a way us non-linguists can understand?

        Mike
      • Rick Hubbard
        If there was a way that I could configure this computer to prevent me from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I really wanted to use
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
          If there was a way that I could configure this computer to prevent me
          from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I
          really wanted to use them, then two of those words would be "original"
          and "originality." Inevitably, when I use those words in the context
          of literary comparisons, I get into trouble. The following response
          from Jack Kilmon regarding my remarks to Frank McCoy about Gth 20 and
          "parallels" in Mk is a perfect example.

          [Jack wrote:]
          My take on GoT 20 and the Markan parallel is that the Markan parallel
          is
          more "original" and actually redacted down in GoT.

          I did not mean to imply that both Mark and the Gth compiler shared a
          common written source and that the version of either Thomas or Mark is
          closest to that "original." Instead, I meant to argue that Thomas and
          Mark each had access to what were probably oral traditions about Jesus
          and that the construction of the similtude in Gth more closely
          approximates the oral form than does the version in Mk. It is a widely
          accepted principle that narratives and sayings associated with Jesus
          that circulated in the oral tradition tended toward being shorter
          rather than longer, and so, when one sees two written versions of what
          appears to be the same saying, the one that is shortest probably is
          closer to the oral version (assuming of course, that there was only
          one oral version. It is possible that there may have been more than
          one).

          Your persistent argument that there is evidence of Aramaic linguistic
          artifacts behind the written versions of the Jesus logia, is, as you
          well know, not universally accepted. Since I do not know Aramaic, I
          certainly have no business debating the merits of your hypotheses. I
          will observe, however, that it is not necessary to identify any
          "Aramaic Original" behind the sayings of Jesus in order to recover
          what is closest to Jesus' actual utterances.

          While it is very likely that Jesus spoke Aramaic, there remains the
          very real possibility that he also spoke Greek. One must not ignore
          the tremendous Hellenistic cultural influence that had existed for
          generations in the western Mediterranean basin (e.g., Palestine).
          Jesus lived in that cultural environment, and if we are to accept the
          accounts of the canonical gospels he seemed to travel through portions
          of it regularly and to discourse with its residents. If so, it seems
          likely that he would have had to have some competency in Greek. This
          does nothing to prove that he knew Greek, but the observation is
          sufficient to leave open that possibility.

          One of the arguments made by those who postulate an "Aramaic Jesus,"
          is that the region where he lived was a cultural and linguistic
          archipelago. In this enclave, Aramaic remained as the dominant
          language and the traditions of the Judean religion were paramount. If
          I understand correctly, this means that the enclave must have
          successfully resisted the Hellenistic cultural influences that
          engulfed virtually all of the remainder of the western Mediterranean
          and that the linguistic and religious heritage of the enclave remained
          largely unaffected.

          Again, the merits of that hypothesis is not something I can comment on
          directly, but I can relate something from my own experience that may
          be analogous to the "enclave phenomenon" that seems to be a
          foundational part of the "Aramaic Jesus" argument. I grew up on the
          Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana. It seems to me that
          there are a few intriguing parallels between the acculturation process
          that occurred in Palestine and in the Mission Valley, where the
          reservation was located. In both cases, the indigenous populations
          were inundated by new languages. In Palestine, it was Greek. In
          Montana, it was English. American culture was introduced into this
          area by the Jesuits and by commercial representatives of the Hudson
          Bay Company beginning around the middle of the 19th century. By the
          time I was born, roughly one hundred years later, virtually all
          Indians spoke English, but a large number of continued to speak Salish
          as well. The native language was spoken primarily in homes, at
          cultural gatherings, in the tribal government and in the context of
          religious practices. However, in the course of day to day activities,
          English was the routine language.

          The analogy between the two is this: In both cases (Palestine and
          Montana), we can observe that the cultural traditions of the two
          indigenous populations were subjected to overwhelming outside
          influences. In the latter case, it is known for certain that, while
          the language of the native population continued to be used and the
          traditional religious practices were still followed (in spite of the
          most vigorous efforts of missionaries), the Native Americans regularly
          used the language of the culture that had surrounded them. It seems to
          me therefore very likely that the situation in Palestine was similar.
          Certain enclaves in the region, perhaps including where Jesus lived,
          also managed to retain and keep alive their language and religious
          traditions, but as a matter of survival, they also used the Greek
          language. If that is true, then Jesus may have been as fluent in Greek
          as he was in Aramaic.

          This of course does virtually nothing to deny the argument that an
          Aramaic original lies behind the Jesus logia. But it does, to a
          degree, reaffirm the possibility that Jesus *did* speak Greek and that
          therefore it is not essential that reconstruction of an Aramaic
          Original to his sayings is the only certain means by which his
          "authentic words" can be recovered.


          Rick Hubbard
          Humble Maine Woodsman
        • David C. Hindley
          ... me from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I really wanted to use them, then two of those words would be original and
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
            Rick Hubbard laments:

            >>If there was a way that I could configure this computer to prevent
            me from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I
            really wanted to use them, then two of those words would be "original"
            and "originality." <<

            Yes you can.

            Presuming that your e-mail software's built-in editor (or the WP you
            use as an e-mail editor) performs a spell check before sending the
            message, just find the way into your spell checking dictionary and
            erase the entries for "original" and "originality." Then it will
            always prompt you with a dialogue box seeking confirmation when it
            encounters these words, offering you alternative words, etc. If you
            say "yes accept this word" it will probably ask you again in a
            different way just to be sure.

            I may well do that sort of thing myself with words like "merely,"
            "simply," "obviously," and other words often used in a dismissive
            sense, just to prevent me from falling into the trap of dismissing
            evidence contrary to my pet hypotheses for the sake of convenience.

            Respectfully,

            Dave Hindley
            Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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