[Synoptic-L] Reading and Writing
- Leonard Maluf writes --
>It has been mentioned several times on Synoptic-L. Although Millard is
>I saw today in the Weston-EDS library a copy of Alan Millard's "Reading
>and Writing in the Time of Jesus", Sheffield, Academic Press 2000. It
>looks interesting, and I think it has perhaps been mentioned on this
>list once before.
not a NT scholar (as he admits himself), I think this is a book which
every NT scholar should possess. And it is an inexpensive paper-back.
I would suggest a very important part of the book is the section "The
Language of Jesus" on pages 140-147. Millard is Rankin Professor of
Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at Liverpool University, UK. Using
his immense knowledge of Semitic languages he comes strongly to the
conclusion that although Jesus may have spoken some Hebrew, the language
in which he normally spoke and taught was Aramaic, and that Aramaic
words spoken by Jesus may well be preserved in the synoptic gospels.
For NT scholars who are interested in the origin of the Nomina Sacra in
early Greek-Christian papyri, Millard uses his knowledge of the various
kinds of Phoenician to put forward the idea that the "first and last
letters" format of most Nomina Sacra in Greek-Christian writings may
have originated from the Phoenician practice of sometimes contracting
proper names to their first and last letters, as seen on some Phoenician
and Palestinian coins of the Hellenistic period and in graffiti from the
Punic towns of North Africa. (See RWTJ page 71, including the reference
in note 32). Early Greek-Christian scribes from Cyprus, for instance,
could have been influenced by this Phoenician practice.
This is a startling hypothesis which scholars of NT papyri would do well
to note. It is the first time anyone has ever given an explanation of
the "first and last letter" format of Nomina Sacra such as IS (for
IHSOUS), IN (for IHSOUN), QS (for QEOS), QN (for QEON), and so on. How
fascinating that a scholar of ancient Phoenician has possibly cracked a
problem which has troubled scholars of the Greek NT manuscripts for a
The book contains forty-one high quality beautifully-produced mono-
chrome illustrations which are clearly relevant to the text, and look
very useful for teaching purposes.
The ISBN is 1-84127-070-9 .
E-mail; brian@... HOMEPAGE www.twonh.demon.co.uk
Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot_
> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
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