Re: Marcan Milieu
- Topic: Markan Milieu
In Response To: Jacob Knee
On my excursus on Greek vs Latin in Rome, Jacob wrote:
Thanks for the long reply!
All I mean to draw attention to is that Romans, Clement, Hermas, Justin,
Irenaeus, Hippolytus are all Greek (aren't they?).
The patchy evidence for Roman liturgy seems to point to Greek liturgy
when - third/fourth century. . . .
BRUCE: Sorry for the prolixity. To answer more briefly, it seems to me that
the language of the early Church fathers was Greek because that was their
native tongue or the learned tongue in their native area; most of them,
including Irenaeus, were Eastern in origin. Any not born in a primary-Greek
area would have tended to be for some time constrained by the prior
tradition of using Greek. Learned discourse, and church ritual, are both
highly conservative. If GMark were a letter from Clement to Hippolytus, no
explanation is required for its being in Greek. GLuke ostensibly *is* a
sort of letter, conceivably to a Roman recipient, but to an *educated*
Roman recipient, and noone seems to see a problem with its being in Greek.
It is only when we get into the question of preaching on the ground, to new
hearers, that we must (I think) take into consideration the probable
linguistic dynamics of that situation, which for Rome would seem to bring
Latin into the picture. If only as an option that needs to be plausibly
The first Latin christian epigraphs in Rome are from the early third
BRUCE: Well, there is one piece of evidence toward disposing of the option.
Can anyone report earlier epigraphs, or assess the archaeological
probability that earlier ones may have been missed?
E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts