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[Synoptic-L] The Aramaic-Greek transition

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  • Ron Price
    It is widely accepted that Jesus native language would have been an eastern one (Aramaic, or possibly Hebrew). Therefore there must have been at least one
    Message 1 of 28 , Jan 10, 2003
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      It is widely accepted that Jesus' native language would have been an
      eastern one (Aramaic, or possibly Hebrew). Therefore there must have
      been at least one language transition decision between Jesus and his
      immediate followers on the one hand and the extant NT documents on the
      other.

      Paul established such a transition when he wrote to the churches he
      had founded. His first letter was probably that to the Thessalonians (1
      Thess). They would probably not have understood Aramaic. So Paul would
      have been constrained to use Greek. (Though perhaps he naturally
      favoured Greek and would have used it anyway, in which case the
      transition was inherent in the progress of the Jesus movement to an
      enterprising Greek-speaking intellectual.)

      Let's now turn to the way the Markan priority synoptic source theories
      portray language transition.

      The 3ST has an Aramaic source (sQ) and therefore the synoptic source
      diagram clearly indicates the language transition made by the synoptic
      authors. Matthew and Luke made the transition because they were copying
      Mark. (We'll come to Mark later.)

      All the source documents in the Farrer and 2ST theories were in Greek,
      so they have less explanatory power regarding the transition (as well as
      in dealing with apparent mistranslations, but that's a topic I've
      tackled before).

      The 2ST appears to assume at least two independent transitions between
      the eastern and western languages. Paul's letters were written in Greek
      and represent one change. Q was supposedly written in Greek and
      presumably represents an independent decision at some stage to migrate
      from Aramaic to Greek. This raises a basic problem. Q supposedly
      originated in Galilee. But isn't that where Jesus lived? We are supposed
      to believe that a language transition was initiated by person or persons
      unknown *without any significant geographical movement*. Isn't this
      rather unlikely? Shouldn't it count as evidence against the 2ST?

      Mark must be considered separately because its treatment cannot be
      compartmentalized along source theory lines. Why did Mark write in
      Greek? In my opinion he had worked with Paul (Phm 24) and at least knew
      that Paul had written letters in Greek. But I also find compelling
      evidence that he wrote in Rome, and this in itself would be sufficient
      reason for Mark to have made the transition from Aramaic to Greek.
      But I note that some 2ST supporters think Mark was written in
      Palestine or Syria. If so, why was it written in Greek? Surely an origin
      in Rome better explains why the pioneering gospel is in Greek.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail: ron.price@...

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

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    • John C. Poirier
      An interesting question, Ron, but I must disagree with your premise. Although Aramaic was the most widely spoken language in first-century Galilee, Greek was
      Message 2 of 28 , Jan 10, 2003
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        An interesting question, Ron, but I must disagree with your premise.

        Although Aramaic was the most widely spoken language in first-century
        Galilee, Greek was also widely used. There is no reason to assume that,
        just because Jesus' teachings would most likely have been in Aramaic, the
        earliest written record of those teachings would also have been in Aramaic.
        The "transition" that you speak of may have been little more than a decision
        on the part of the earliest Christian writers to write in a more literary
        and universal language.

        Of course, the earliest Palestinian Greek writings were probably filled with
        a lot of Semitic "interference," as is characteristic of such linguistic
        situations (and which is easily mistaken for "translation Greek").


        John C. Poirier
        Middletown, Ohio


        Ron Price wrote:

        > It is widely accepted that Jesus' native language would have been an
        > eastern one (Aramaic, or possibly Hebrew). Therefore there must have
        > been at least one language transition decision between Jesus and his
        > immediate followers on the one hand and the extant NT documents on the
        > other.
        >
        > Paul established such a transition when he wrote to the churches he
        > had founded. His first letter was probably that to the Thessalonians (1
        > Thess). They would probably not have understood Aramaic. So Paul would
        > have been constrained to use Greek. (Though perhaps he naturally
        > favoured Greek and would have used it anyway, in which case the
        > transition was inherent in the progress of the Jesus movement to an
        > enterprising Greek-speaking intellectual.)
        >
        > Let's now turn to the way the Markan priority synoptic source theories
        > portray language transition.
        >
        > The 3ST has an Aramaic source (sQ) and therefore the synoptic source
        > diagram clearly indicates the language transition made by the synoptic
        > authors. Matthew and Luke made the transition because they were copying
        > Mark. (We'll come to Mark later.)
        >
        > All the source documents in the Farrer and 2ST theories were in Greek,
        > so they have less explanatory power regarding the transition (as well as
        > in dealing with apparent mistranslations, but that's a topic I've
        > tackled before).
        >
        > The 2ST appears to assume at least two independent transitions between
        > the eastern and western languages. Paul's letters were written in Greek
        > and represent one change. Q was supposedly written in Greek and
        > presumably represents an independent decision at some stage to migrate
        > from Aramaic to Greek. This raises a basic problem. Q supposedly
        > originated in Galilee. But isn't that where Jesus lived? We are supposed
        > to believe that a language transition was initiated by person or persons
        > unknown *without any significant geographical movement*. Isn't this
        > rather unlikely? Shouldn't it count as evidence against the 2ST?
        >
        > Mark must be considered separately because its treatment cannot be
        > compartmentalized along source theory lines. Why did Mark write in
        > Greek? In my opinion he had worked with Paul (Phm 24) and at least knew
        > that Paul had written letters in Greek. But I also find compelling
        > evidence that he wrote in Rome, and this in itself would be sufficient
        > reason for Mark to have made the transition from Aramaic to Greek.
        > But I note that some 2ST supporters think Mark was written in
        > Palestine or Syria. If so, why was it written in Greek? Surely an origin
        > in Rome better explains why the pioneering gospel is in Greek.
        >
        > Ron Price
        >
        > Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK
        >
        > e-mail: ron.price@...
        >
        > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        >
        > Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...


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      • Ron Price
        ... John, Admittedly my main criticism is directed at the 2ST, in which it is posited that Q was written in Greek, in spite of its supposed origin in an area
        Message 3 of 28 , Jan 11, 2003
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          John Poirier wrote:

          >The "transition" that you speak of may have been little more than a decision
          >on the part of the earliest Christian writers to write in a more literary
          >and universal language.

          John,

          Admittedly my main criticism is directed at the 2ST, in which it is
          posited that Q was written in Greek, in spite of its supposed origin in
          an area where Aramaic was well understood, i.e. Galilee. This transition
          looks to me unlikely, especially in comparison with the transitions
          effected by Paul and Mark.

          But even on the Farrer Theory we have a strange situation. In addition
          to the question of whether your generalized explanation for the
          transition is adequate, there is another issue. The earliest written
          testimony to the birth of a religion appears in a language foreign to
          the originator. Did the Rabbi Jesus make so little impact that in the 30
          years or so available to them his original followers couldn't be
          bothered to record and preserve his teachings in his native language? If
          so, then it would be difficult to explain how the Jesus movement got
          itself established.

          It's surely much more likely that Jesus *did* make a significant
          impact, that his immediate followers *did* record his sayings in Aramaic
          as implied by Papias, sayings apparently referred to by Paul
          sarcastically in 1 Corinthians 1-4, and that these were translated and
          adapted by the synoptic authors "each ..... to the best of his ability"
          (Papias), leaving a very small but detectable trail of errors. Thus what
          other synoptic theories leave as loose ends, the 3ST neatly links to the
          historical evidence.

          Ron Price

          Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

          e-mail: ron.price@...

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

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        • Ron Price
          ... Larry, I was referring to Jesus impact on his *original* followers. On the Farrer and 2ST theories, the synoptic gospels contain no trace of any document
          Message 4 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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            Larry Swain wrote:

            >Since Greek was more universal, and MOST of the early
            >community probably had SOME Greek, it stands to reason
            >that Jesus' sayings and teachings were probably at the
            >very least proclaimed in both Aramaic/Greek, and
            >perhaps only in Greek as the universal language. It
            >has to do more with practicality than with Jesus'
            >impact on his followers.

            Larry,

            I was referring to Jesus' impact on his *original* followers. On the
            Farrer and 2ST theories, the synoptic gospels contain no trace of any
            document in any language written by Jesus' original followers, whose
            most prominent apostles apparently lived for three decades after Jesus'
            crucifixion. This is very strange.

            Ron Price

            Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

            e-mail: ron.price@...

            Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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          • SRose63911@aol.com
            I was referring to Jesus impact on his *original* followers. On the Farrer and 2ST theories, the synoptic gospels contain no trace of any document in any
            Message 5 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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              I was referring to Jesus' impact on his *original* followers. On the
              Farrer and 2ST theories, the synoptic gospels contain no trace of any
              document in any language written by Jesus' original followers, whose
              most prominent apostles apparently lived for three decades after Jesus'
              crucifixion. This is very strange.


              Dear Ron (and all)

              Please forgive me if I am way off course. I admit now I am "new" to such indepth study of the synoptics ~ I'm in the second year of reading Jewish/Christian Relations for my MA (CJCR Cambridge), I have been following all your responses with interest but felt unable to comment until now.

              Ron, you mention Farrer and the 2ST theories and no trace of any document written by Jesus' original followers. Does this mean that the Nag Hammadi fragments (ie the Gospel of Thomas or Philip) are not taken into consideration within NT hermeneutics? If not, why not, and if so, why doesn't the church "promote" these sayings, especially those of Thomas?

              If this is for another list, again my apologies! :)
              Susan Rose.
            • Ron Price
              ... Susan, All ancient sources should be considered on their merits. I don t know of any critical scholar who thinks that any of the Nag Hammadi documents were
              Message 6 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                Susan Rose wrote:

                >Ron, you mention Farrer and the 2ST theories and no trace of any document
                >written by Jesus' original followers. Does this mean that the Nag Hammadi
                >fragments (ie the Gospel of Thomas or Philip) are not taken into
                >consideration within NT hermeneutics? If not, why not, and if so, why
                >doesn't the church "promote" these sayings, especially those of Thomas?

                Susan,

                All ancient sources should be considered on their merits. I don't know
                of any critical scholar who thinks that any of the Nag Hammadi documents
                were written by the original followers of Jesus (James, Peter et al.).

                Several scholars "promote" GTh as an early sayings source independent
                of the synoptic gospels. I'm convinced that they're wrong about this,
                and that GTh is a second century gnostic document dependent on the
                canonical gospels (see e.g. my postings to Synoptic-L on 22 May 2001 and
                to XTalk on 3 Aug 2001). Here I'm agreeing with the trend in German
                scholarship as opposed to the trend in American scholarship. Personally
                I think GTh is worthless as a source for the sayings of the historical
                Jesus.

                Ron Price

                Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                e-mail: ron.price@...

                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm



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              • Ron Price
                ... Larry, You seem to be describing a democratic community. But James was an autocratic and extremely conservative leader who exerted his control from the
                Message 7 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                  Larry Swain wrote:

                  > ..... If the original followers
                  >are now leaders not of a small community fitting in an
                  >upper dining hall, but a much larger, multi-lingual
                  >community within months of the leader's fall, then
                  >they are more likely to leave behind documents and
                  >teachings recorded in the common language of the
                  >community rather than the language of the founder's
                  >origin, assuming that Jesus taught ONLY in Aramaic in
                  >the first place.

                  Larry,

                  You seem to be describing a democratic community.
                  But James was an autocratic and extremely conservative leader who
                  exerted his control from the most conservative Jewish location, namely
                  Jerusalem. In spite of Acts 15 (where Luke was probably to some extent
                  papering over the cracks in the Jesus movement), James was not someone
                  who would readily make concessions to Greeks.

                  >The other issue is that you assume that Jesus'
                  >original followers knew how to write.

                  There is some evidence in Acts 15:13-29 "James replied ... we ...
                  should write ...".

                  Ron Price

                  Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                  e-mail: ron.price@...

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

                  Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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                • R. Steven Notley
                  Larry Swain wrote: ...assuming that Jesus taught ONLY in Aramaic in the first place. As a casual observer to some of the comments on this list the last week or
                  Message 8 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                    Larry Swain wrote:

                    ...assuming that Jesus taught ONLY in Aramaic in the first place.

                    As a casual observer to some of the comments on this list the last week or so, let me just remind folks that "the assumption" (and that is all it is) that the linguistic milieu for Jesus and the primitive church was monolingual (i.e. Aramaic) flies in the face of all of the epigraphical data and archaeological evidence uncovered in Israel during the 20 century.  I do not need to remind those who read the Dead Sea Scrolls without translation that over 90% of the library is Hebrew.  There must have been someone who could read!  Greek inscriptions in Judaea are also well-known beginning from the Hellenistic period--including the Galilee.  By the way,  contrary to often-repeated assumption, Galilee was no backwater.  Every known leading first century Jewish Sage had roots in the Galilee.

                    Finally, multilingual inscriptions are common throughout the country.  I am unsure why we must continue to insist that Jesus and the Early Church lived in a vacuum.

                    I have yet to hear any reason why Jesus and his followers were not multilingual.  Moreover, what evidence is there to assume that he taught ONLY in Aramaic (i.e. to the exclusion of Hebrew)?

                    regards,
                    R. Steven Notley
                    Nyack College NYC

                  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                    ... That the DSS were written in Hebrew does not warrant the conclusion that Hebrew was a language prominent in Palestine. In the first place, the Hebrew in
                    Message 9 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                      "R. Steven Notley" wrote:

                      > I have yet to hear any reason why Jesus and his followers were not
                      > multilingual. Moreover, what evidence is there to assume that he
                      > taught ONLY in Aramaic (i.e. to the exclusion of Hebrew)?

                      That the DSS were written in Hebrew does not warrant the conclusion that
                      Hebrew was a language prominent in Palestine. In the first place, the
                      Hebrew in which the DSS were is not the spoken Hebrew for which there is
                      some evidence but a literary form of the language. In the second place,
                      as John Collins once noted to me, the authors of the DSS chose to write
                      in Hebrew in order to be **countercultural**. In the third place, the
                      evidence regarding language of a consciously isolated group is not good
                      evidence for what language was spoken in the culture upon which they had
                      turned their backs.

                      Yours,

                      Jeffrey Gibson


                      --
                      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
                      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                      Floor 1
                      Chicago, Illinois 60626
                      e-mail jgibson000@...
                      jgibson000@...

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                    • R. Steven Notley
                      ... This is not true. Literary Hebrew is prominent among the Dead Sea Scrolls. But other documents such as 4QMMT are colloquial not literary. No less a
                      Message 10 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                        "Jeffrey B. Gibson" wrote:

                        "R. Steven Notley" wrote:

                        > I have yet to hear any reason why Jesus and his followers were not
                        > multilingual.  Moreover, what evidence is there to assume that he
                        > taught ONLY in Aramaic (i.e. to the exclusion of Hebrew)?

                        That the DSS were written in Hebrew does not warrant the conclusion that
                        Hebrew was a language prominent in Palestine. In the first place, the
                        Hebrew in which the DSS were is not the spoken Hebrew for which there is
                        some evidence but a literary form of the language.

                        This is not true.  Literary Hebrew is prominent among the Dead Sea Scrolls. But other documents such as 4QMMT are colloquial not literary.  No less a scholar than Kutcher long ago demonstrated that the Isaiah scroll from Qumran was revised at points from its earlier biblical Hebrew idiom to reflect contemporary idioms that were alive and in use.

                        The evidence is clear that Judaea in the first century was multilingual.  I repeat my previous question:  What tangible and clear evidence is there to exclude Hebrew from consideration of the relevant languages for Jesus and his first followers.

                        In the second place,
                        as John Collins once noted to me, the authors of the DSS chose to write
                        in Hebrew in order to be **countercultural**.
                        He's wrong.  There is not one shred of evidence to support that notion.  He would have to demonstrate that Hebrew was only used at Qumran (or other sectarian separatists communities) to even suggest such a **countercultural** argument.  There is none. Indeed, there is evidence to the contrary.
                        In the third place, the
                        evidence regarding language of a consciously isolated group is not good
                        evidence for what language was spoken in the culture upon which they had
                        turned their backs.
                        If Qumran scholarship is correct that 4QMMT (which is in colloquial Hebrew) was written to religious leaders outside of the Qumran community, then the use of Hebrew was not a type of "community speak" but an understood language of communication between the leadership of two very distinct communities.

                        By the way the Bar Kochba letters (132-135 AD) further demonstrate that colloquial Hebrew was alive and well into the 2nd century AD.

                         

                        Yours,

                        Jeffrey Gibson

                        --
                        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
                        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                                  Floor 1
                        Chicago, Illinois 60626
                        e-mail jgibson000@...
                                  jgibson000@...

                      • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
                        ... Jeffrey makes some very good points. As I follow the discussion, however, it seems to me that we also need to pay attention to the physical evidence as
                        Message 11 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                          At 04:56 PM 1/13/2003 -0600, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
                          >"R. Steven Notley" wrote:
                          >
                          > > I have yet to hear any reason why Jesus and his followers were not
                          > > multilingual. Moreover, what evidence is there to assume that he
                          > > taught ONLY in Aramaic (i.e. to the exclusion of Hebrew)?
                          >
                          >That the DSS were written in Hebrew does not warrant the conclusion that
                          >Hebrew was a language prominent in Palestine. In the first place, the
                          >Hebrew in which the DSS were is not the spoken Hebrew for which there is
                          >some evidence but a literary form of the language. In the second place,
                          >as John Collins once noted to me, the authors of the DSS chose to write
                          >in Hebrew in order to be **countercultural**. In the third place, the
                          >evidence regarding language of a consciously isolated group is not good
                          >evidence for what language was spoken in the culture upon which they had
                          >turned their backs.

                          Jeffrey makes some very good points. As I follow the discussion, however, it
                          seems to me that we also need to pay attention to the physical evidence as well
                          as to literary texts. What do we know of languages in use from ostraca and
                          public
                          inscriptions (which clearly people would be expected to read and understand)?
                          Often it is the physical evidence from archaeological excavation that gives us
                          better insights into what the ordinary people did (and, in this case, perhaps
                          what languages they used). Literary texts usually reflect a non-representative
                          element in the population. I would have a very different knowledge of how you
                          live if I could look at your garbage and the "stuff" that you have
                          throughout your
                          house than I would by reading a contemporary novel - or even the newspaper.
                          Although I don't have a definitive answer to offer, in my experience I have
                          seen
                          both Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew in use, suggesting a higher level of bilingual
                          ability than we might imagine.

                          Thomas R. W. Longstaff
                          Crawford Family Professor, Emeritus
                          Colby College
                          Waterville, Maine



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                        • John C. Poirier
                          Ron, The tannaitic Rabbis who opposed the religious use of Aramaic were usually open to the religious use of Greek. There is nothing at all strange about a
                          Message 12 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                            Ron,

                            The tannaitic Rabbis who opposed the religious use of Aramaic were usually
                            open to the religious use of Greek. There is nothing at all strange about
                            a first-century Jerusalem-based community writing in Greek, especially
                            when the writing in question might be intended for a wider readership.


                            John C. Poirier
                            Middletown, Ohio


                            Ron Price wrote:

                            > . . . James was an autocratic and extremely conservative leader who
                            > exerted his control from the most conservative Jewish location, namely
                            > Jerusalem. In spite of Acts 15 (where Luke was probably to some extent
                            > papering over the cracks in the Jesus movement), James was not someone
                            > who would readily make concessions to Greeks.


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                          • R. Steven Notley
                            Thomas R. W. Longstaff wrote: What do we know of languages in use from ostraca and public inscriptions (which clearly people would be expected to read and
                            Message 13 of 28 , Jan 13, 2003
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                              "Thomas R. W. Longstaff" wrote:

                              What do we know of languages in use from ostraca and
                              public inscriptions (which clearly people would be expected to read and understand)?

                              <Break>

                              Although I don't have a definitive answer to offer, in my experience I have
                              seen both Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew in use, suggesting a higher level of bilingual
                              ability than we might imagine.
                              Notley:

                              My experience with the epigraphical data coincides with the witness of the literary data towards a multilingual (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) environment in first century Judaea.  To my knowledge there is absolutely no indication that Hebrew was unknown in the first century.

                              As Randall Buth pointed out in his presentation in Toronto, scholarship has taken little note of the stark lack of Aramaic Targumim at Qumran.  There are Aramaic documents, so Aramaic was known by the Qumran Community.  Yet, except for a Targum of Job (notorious for its difficult Hebrew) Targumim do not exist in the Qumran library.  So, in spite of Collins' suggestion that the use of Hebrew at Qumran was somehow artificially fabricated to create a **counterculture** there seems to be no indication that anyone had difficulty reading and understanding Hebrew.

                              Far less that the use of Hebrew was intended to mark the Qumran community as a **counterculture**.

                              The mistaken notion that Hebrew was in non-use by the first century is a 19th century suggestion put forward by Avraham Geiger (Lehr- und Lesebuch zur Sprache der Mischnah [1845]), the founder of the Reformed Jewish movement in Germany.  "Conveniently" that position aided him in his struggle with Orthodox Judaism, because the earliest stratum of oral tradition upon which Orthodox Judaism is founded is in Mishnaic Hebrew.  He thereby sought to challenge the foundations of Orthodox Judaism.  Yet, Segal (1908) demonstrated later that Geiger's thesis was unfounded.  Moreover, a century of archaeological discovery in Palestine/Israel has shown that Segal was correct.

                              R. Steven Notley
                              Nyack College NYC

                            • R. Steven Notley
                              ... I know of no evidence of monolingual pockets in first century Judaea. Certainly, the most widespread sector of society represented by proto-Pharisaism
                              Message 14 of 28 , Jan 14, 2003
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                                DaGoi@... wrote:

                                 
                                What are the evident dividing lines between the aramaic use and the hebrew
                                use in the first century?  I had thought also that the Qumran use of hebrew
                                may be due to a back-to-basics counterculture one-ups-manship, or perhaps to
                                the survival in literary use (but I've read in this thread that it was
                                evidently a living growing language).  Is there any indication of who was
                                more prone to use Hebrew as opposed to Aramaic or Greek (and what of that -
                                all koine, or do the more formal instances stretch into attic?) and when?

                                Bill Foley
                                Woburn

                                I know of no evidence of monolingual "pockets" in first century Judaea.  Certainly, the most widespread sector of society represented by proto-Pharisaism (and its successors) which most closely parallels the ethos and approach to scripture in the Jesus movement evidences familiarity and use of Hebrew (colloquial and literary), Aramaic and Greek. The same can be said at Qumran.

                                I am not trying to posit Jesus in any one stream of Jewish piety.  Only to say that multilingualism cut across these sectarian/societal divides.

                                The onus is on those who would seek to "exclude" any of these from first century use in Judaea.  The evidence for this exclusion simply is not there.

                                I am certainly not suggesting that Jesus did not know and use Aramaic (sorry for the double negative).  I am only questioning why we need to take an Aramaic ONLY approach to the linguistic questions of the Gospels.  Almost all of the Semitisms in the NT touted at proof of Aramaic use by Jesus represent as easily Hebraisms.  The only reason they are not represented as such are the a priori assumptions (now clearly unfounded) of NT scholarship for 150 years concerning the linguistic milieu of first century Judaea.

                              • R. Steven Notley
                                ... The Aramaic vs. Hebrew origins for names preserved in NT Greek is certainly open to question and tricky at best. Often what is presumed to be Aramaized
                                Message 15 of 28 , Jan 14, 2003
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                                  Emmanuel Fritsch wrote:

                                  > > I am certainly not suggesting that Jesus did not know and use Aramaic (sorry for
                                  > > the double negative). I am only questioning why we need to take an Aramaic ONLY
                                  > > approach to the linguistic questions of the Gospels. Almost all of the Semitisms
                                  > > in the NT touted at proof of Aramaic use by Jesus represent as easily Hebraisms.
                                  > > The only reason they are not represented as such are the a priori assumptions
                                  > > (now clearly unfounded) of NT scholarship for 150 years concerning the linguistic
                                  > > milieu of first century Judaea.
                                  >
                                  > - "Lazare" is aramaic (vs "Eleazar" which is hebrew) and the case
                                  > in common with names in NT. (Is greek form of "Jesus" closer to
                                  > aramaic or hebrew ?)

                                  The Aramaic vs. Hebrew origins for names preserved in NT Greek is certainly open to
                                  question and tricky at best. Often what is presumed to be Aramaized Greek is merely
                                  the Greek style of representing Semitic names without any clear indication of whether
                                  that name was intrinsically Aramaic or Hebrew. Thus, Greek's tendency not to leave
                                  names ending with certain vowels (or consonants) and the appended sigma on the name of
                                  Jesus. It is possible that Jesus' name was pronounced Yeshu (IHSUS)but certainly
                                  included a final 'Ayin (without the furtive PetaH?) as first century epigraphical
                                  examples indicate. By the way, Matthew's play on the name Jesus in Matthew 1:21
                                  presumes Hebrew.

                                  In addition, in some inscriptions we find a linguistic mix. To cite a recent example
                                  (whether it is authentic or not), the putative ossuary of James included names that
                                  could be Hebrew or Aramaic (Yaakov, Yosef and Yeshua) with words that are Aramaic
                                  (BAR, AHUI). To complicate matters, terms such as BAR (as opposed to BEN) had become
                                  so commonplace that it appears fluidly in both Hebrew and Aramaic texts. In other
                                  words, it simply is impossible to deal with the data in a kind of "hermetically
                                  sealed" fashion that conclusive demonstrates "linguistic priority" one way or the
                                  other. Let's just take it at face value to signify a dynamic multilingual
                                  environment.

                                  >
                                  > - without matching exactly geography, aramaic is supposed to be
                                  > more common in Galileae, and hebrew in Judeae.

                                  I repeat that every major first century Sage had roots in the Galilee and their
                                  sayings (apart from Hillel) are remembered in Hebrew.

                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Sorry for not giving references and precisions. These are old
                                  > remembers. But if right, they show that aramaic priority is
                                  > not so unfounded as you say. Who helps ?

                                  The phrase that started this discussion was to "Aramaic ONLY". "Linguistic priority"
                                  is a different question, and raises further issues of context (i.e. market vs.
                                  synagogue, etc.).

                                  >
                                  >
                                  > a+
                                  > manu

                                  regard,
                                  R. Steven Notley
                                  Nyack College NYC


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                                • Ron Price
                                  ... John, I still think it less likely if it required translating and thus hiding the words which Jesus actually spoke (whether in Aramaic or Hebrew). But
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Jan 14, 2003
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                                    John Poirier wrote:

                                    >The tannaitic Rabbis who opposed the religious use of Aramaic were usually
                                    >open to the religious use of Greek. There is nothing at all strange about
                                    >a first-century Jerusalem-based community writing in Greek, especially
                                    >when the writing in question might be intended for a wider readership.

                                    John,

                                    I still think it less likely if it required translating and thus
                                    hiding the words which Jesus actually spoke (whether in Aramaic or
                                    Hebrew).

                                    But either way the problem remains for the Farrer and 2ST theories.
                                    Where is the evidence of any such writings? Farrer provides no clue, and
                                    the 2ST only has the hypothetical document Q supposedly originating in
                                    *Galilee*.

                                    Ron Price

                                    Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                                    e-mail: ron.price@...

                                    Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

                                    Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                                    List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                                  • Ron Price
                                    ... Larry, That s if you take Mark s presentation of James and Peter at face value, which I don t. Trocme and Weeden have argued persuasively that Mark
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Jan 14, 2003
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                                      Larry Swain wrote:

                                      >Just a quick note, but it should not need to be said
                                      >that James, the brother of the Lord, was NOT in any
                                      >tradition I know of, one of the *original* followers
                                      >of Jesus, which is of course what your comments were
                                      >predicated upon.

                                      Larry,

                                      That's if you take Mark's presentation of James and Peter at face
                                      value, which I don't.
                                      Trocme and Weeden have argued persuasively that Mark deliberately
                                      denigrated the original disciples. I take this to its logical conclusion
                                      to deduce that James was the leading disciple all along. There is
                                      support for this in the suspiciously casual introduction of James as
                                      leader in Acts 12:17, and in the coincidence (??) in the naming of the
                                      prominent trio ( James, Peter, John) in both the pre-crucifixion
                                      synoptic setting and the post-crucifixion Galatians setting.

                                      Ron Price

                                      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                                      e-mail: ron.price@...

                                      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

                                      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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                                    • Maluflen@aol.com
                                      In a message dated 1/14/2003 10:14:39 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... You would have to spell out your logic here in somewhat more detail, and in the process
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Jan 14, 2003
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                                        In a message dated 1/14/2003 10:14:39 AM Pacific Standard Time, ron.price@... writes:


                                        That's if you take Mark's presentation of James and Peter at face
                                        value, which I don't.
                                          Trocme and Weeden have argued persuasively that Mark deliberately
                                        denigrated the original disciples. I take this to its logical conclusion
                                        to deduce that James was the leading disciple all along. There is
                                        support for this in the suspiciously casual introduction of James as
                                        leader in  Acts 12:17, and in the coincidence (??) in the naming of the
                                        prominent trio ( James, Peter, John)  in both the pre-crucifixion
                                        synoptic setting and the post-crucifixion Galatians setting.


                                        You would have to spell out your logic here in somewhat more detail, and in the process perhaps also introduce the list to a full-blown Eisenmanian approach. Is it at all significant that the names you mention never appear in the NT in the order you give, either literally or by implication? And I don't think the Zebedee James has ever been confused by anybody with James the brother of the Lord, even if the other James in the apostolic lists may at times have suffered that confusion. Are you saying that Mark (or whoever) was unable to remove the name James entirely from the Jesus tradition, even though he would like to have, so he made up the idea of a Zebedee family which -- lo and behold -- had a James in it too? Or, what exactly are you saying here?

                                        Leonard Maluf
                                      • Ron Price
                                        ... Larry, I didn t mean that translation would have presented any *technical* difficulty. I meant that there would have been a special preciousness in the
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Jan 15, 2003
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                                          I wrote:

                                          >> I still think it less likely if it required
                                          >> translating and thus
                                          >> hiding the words which Jesus actually spoke (whether
                                          >> in Aramaic or Hebrew).

                                          Larry Swain replied:

                                          >Based upon what Ron? .....
                                          >Even if Jesus taught principally in Aramaic it does
                                          >not follow that "translation" would have presented any
                                          >difficulty in a multilingual environment. Unlike most
                                          >students of NT Greek who struggle with a passage, the
                                          >multilingual easily switch.

                                          Larry,

                                          I didn't mean that translation would have presented any *technical*
                                          difficulty. I meant that there would have been a special preciousness in
                                          the very words which Jesus spoke, as is evidenced in Mark's retention of
                                          Aramaic in e.g. Mk 5:41 in spite of the expectation (based on the fact
                                          that he provided the Greek translation) that his readers would not
                                          understand the words.

                                          Ron Price

                                          Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                                          e-mail: ron.price@...

                                          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

                                          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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                                        • LeeEdgarTyler@aol.com
                                          In a message dated 1/15/2003 12:06:45 PM Central Standard Time, ... Most scholars, however, doubt that these are the very words Jesus spoke on this occasion.
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Jan 15, 2003
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                                            In a message dated 1/15/2003 12:06:45 PM Central Standard Time, ron.price@... writes:


                                            I didn't mean that translation would have presented any *technical*
                                            difficulty. I meant that there would have been a special preciousness in
                                            the very words which Jesus spoke, as is evidenced in Mark's retention of
                                            Aramaic in e.g. Mk 5:41 in spite of the expectation (based on the fact
                                            that he provided the Greek translation) that his readers would not
                                            understand the words.

                                            Ron Price



                                            Most scholars, however, doubt that these are the very words Jesus spoke on this occasion.  Presumably, Mark thought they were or he would not have rendered them verbatim.  But it seems to me we need to develop a theory for these Aramaic sayings that does not rely upon them being precious simply because Jesus spoke them, but rather because the tradition attributed them to him.  Why, for instance, would "little girl, arise" be so sacred that they would be reproduced in the original language, but the words of the Eucharist would not?

                                            Ed Tyler

                                            http://hometown.aol.com/leeedgartyler/myhomepage/index.html

                                          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                            Ron Price and Larry Swain are discussing this topic, but I m receiving only Ron s posts. Is anyone else experiencing this? Jeffery Hodges ===== Horace Jeffery
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Jan 15, 2003
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                                              Ron Price and Larry Swain are discussing this topic,
                                              but I'm receiving only Ron's posts.

                                              Is anyone else experiencing this?

                                              Jeffery Hodges

                                              =====
                                              Horace Jeffery Hodges, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley)
                                              Assistant Professor
                                              Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                                              447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                                              Yangsandong 411
                                              South Korea

                                              __________________________________________________
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                                            • LeeEdgarTyler@aol.com
                                              In a message dated 1/15/2003 2:56:05 PM Central Standard Time, ... In a word, yes. et Ed Tyler http://hometown.aol.com/leeedgartyler/myhomepage/index.html
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Jan 15, 2003
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                                                In a message dated 1/15/2003 2:56:05 PM Central Standard Time, jefferyhodges@... writes:

                                                Ron Price and Larry Swain are discussing this topic,
                                                but I'm receiving only Ron's posts.

                                                Is anyone else experiencing this?

                                                Jeffery Hodges


                                                In a word, yes.

                                                et

                                                Ed Tyler

                                                http://hometown.aol.com/leeedgartyler/myhomepage/index.html

                                              • LARRY SWAIN
                                                My fault I fear. I hit reply by habit, rather than reply all . My apologies to all. Larry Swain ... Synoptic-L Homepage:
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Jan 15, 2003
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                                                  My fault I fear. I hit reply by habit, rather than
                                                  "reply all". My apologies to all.

                                                  Larry Swain
                                                  --- Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges@...>
                                                  wrote:
                                                  > Ron Price and Larry Swain are discussing this topic,
                                                  > but I'm receiving only Ron's posts.
                                                  >
                                                  > Is anyone else experiencing this?
                                                  >
                                                  > Jeffery Hodges
                                                  >
                                                  > =====
                                                  > Horace Jeffery Hodges, Ph.D. (University of
                                                  > California, Berkeley)
                                                  > Assistant Professor
                                                  > Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                                                  > 447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                                                  > Yangsandong 411
                                                  > South Korea
                                                  >
                                                  > __________________________________________________
                                                  > Do you Yahoo!?
                                                  > Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up
                                                  > now.
                                                  > http://mailplus.yahoo.com
                                                  >
                                                  > Synoptic-L Homepage:
                                                  > http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                                                  > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...


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                                                • Ron Price
                                                  ... Ed, I m dubious about the originality of both the words and the setting. ... Agreed. ... I have suggested on the Corpus-Paul list that Paul was the
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Jan 16, 2003
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                                                    Ed Tyler wrote:

                                                    >Most scholars, however, doubt that these are the very words Jesus spoke on
                                                    >this occasion [re "Talitha cumi" in Mk 5:41].

                                                    Ed,

                                                    I'm dubious about the originality of both the words and the setting.

                                                    > Presumably, Mark thought they were or he would not have
                                                    >rendered them verbatim. But it seems to me we need to develop a theory for
                                                    >these Aramaic sayings that does not rely upon them being precious simply
                                                    >because Jesus spoke them, but rather because the tradition attributed them
                                                    >to him.

                                                    Agreed.

                                                    > Why, for instance, would "little girl, arise" be so sacred that
                                                    >they would be reproduced in the original language, but the words of the
                                                    >Eucharist would not?

                                                    I have suggested on the Corpus-Paul list that Paul was the originator
                                                    of the words of the Eucharist.
                                                    So the simple answer is that I think these words probably originated
                                                    in Greek. They were never in Aramaic. This is partially supported by the
                                                    assessment of Aramaic scholars that "my blood of the covenant" (Mk
                                                    14:24) can't (according to M.D.Hooker, _The Gospel According to St
                                                    Mark_, London, A&C Black, 1991, p.342) be translated into Aramaic.

                                                    Ron Price

                                                    Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                                                    e-mail: ron.price@...

                                                    Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

                                                    Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                                                    List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                                                  • LARRY SWAIN
                                                    ... Ron, But Ed s overall point is still a valid one. One would expect more than a few phrases or words of Aramaic in a miraculous context to be preserved
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Jan 19, 2003
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                                                      --- Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:
                                                      > Ed Tyler wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > > Why, for instance, would "little girl, arise" be
                                                      > so sacred that
                                                      > >they would be reproduced in the original language,
                                                      > but the words of the
                                                      > >Eucharist would not?
                                                      >
                                                      > I have suggested on the Corpus-Paul list that Paul
                                                      > was the originator
                                                      > of the words of the Eucharist.
                                                      > So the simple answer is that I think these words
                                                      > probably originated
                                                      > in Greek. They were never in Aramaic. This is
                                                      > partially supported by the
                                                      > assessment of Aramaic scholars that "my blood of the
                                                      > covenant" (Mk
                                                      > 14:24) can't (according to M.D.Hooker, _The Gospel
                                                      > According to St
                                                      > Mark_, London, A&C Black, 1991, p.342) be translated
                                                      > into Aramaic.

                                                      Ron,

                                                      But Ed's overall point is still a valid one. One
                                                      would expect more than a few phrases or words of
                                                      Aramaic in a miraculous context to be preserved rather
                                                      than more extensive citations if indeed preservation
                                                      of Jesus' actual words in his actual language were in
                                                      any way important. Even groups which appear as
                                                      concerned with Judaism as Matthew's and the community
                                                      of the Didache write in Greek. If you maintain your
                                                      premise you are stuck with saying that Jesus made so
                                                      little impact that practically NONE of his
                                                      sayings/teachings were preserved in Aramaic since
                                                      almost all the preserved sayings, even those in Paul,
                                                      are in Greek.

                                                      Larry Swain
                                                      UIC


                                                      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                                                      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                                                    • Ron Price
                                                      ... Larry, On the contrary, in my synoptic theory Jesus original followers recorded 72 sayings attributed to Jesus in Aramaic, these being the TA LOGIA
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Jan 20, 2003
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                                                        Larry Swain wrote:

                                                        > If you maintain your
                                                        >premise you are stuck with saying that Jesus made so
                                                        >little impact that practically NONE of his
                                                        >sayings/teachings were preserved in Aramaic since
                                                        >almost all the preserved sayings, even those in Paul,
                                                        >are in Greek.

                                                        Larry,

                                                        On the contrary, in my synoptic theory Jesus' original followers
                                                        recorded 72 sayings attributed to Jesus in Aramaic, these being the 'TA
                                                        LOGIA' referred to by Papias. The fact that these are no longer
                                                        preserved in their original language has nothing whatsoever to do with
                                                        Jesus' impact on his original followers. For his original Jewish
                                                        followers were all dead by the time the less parochial Christian
                                                        synoptic authors decided to write the stories of Jesus in Greek and to
                                                        incorporate translations of selected sayings from the Aramaic
                                                        collection.

                                                        Ron Price

                                                        Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                                                        e-mail: ron.price@...

                                                        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

                                                        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                                                        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                                                      • Tim Reynolds
                                                        ... You can say my blood of the covenant in Hebrew, why not in Aramaic? tim Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l List Owner:
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Jan 20, 2003
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                                                          on 1/19/03 9:22 PM, LARRY SWAIN at theswain@... wrote:

                                                          > --- Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:
                                                          >> Ed Tyler wrote:
                                                          >>
                                                          >>> Why, for instance, would "little girl, arise" be
                                                          >> so sacred that
                                                          >>> they would be reproduced in the original language,
                                                          >> but the words of the
                                                          >>> Eucharist would not?
                                                          >>
                                                          >> I have suggested on the Corpus-Paul list that Paul
                                                          >> was the originator
                                                          >> of the words of the Eucharist.
                                                          >> So the simple answer is that I think these words
                                                          >> probably originated
                                                          >> in Greek. They were never in Aramaic. This is
                                                          >> partially supported by the
                                                          >> assessment of Aramaic scholars that "my blood of the
                                                          >> covenant" (Mk
                                                          >> 14:24) can't (according to M.D.Hooker, _The Gospel
                                                          >> According to St
                                                          >> Mark_, London, A&C Black, 1991, p.342) be translated
                                                          >> into Aramaic.
                                                          >
                                                          > Ron,
                                                          >
                                                          > But Ed's overall point is still a valid one. One
                                                          > would expect more than a few phrases or words of
                                                          > Aramaic in a miraculous context to be preserved rather
                                                          > than more extensive citations if indeed preservation
                                                          > of Jesus' actual words in his actual language were in
                                                          > any way important. Even groups which appear as
                                                          > concerned with Judaism as Matthew's and the community
                                                          > of the Didache write in Greek. If you maintain your
                                                          > premise you are stuck with saying that Jesus made so
                                                          > little impact that practically NONE of his
                                                          > sayings/teachings were preserved in Aramaic since
                                                          > almost all the preserved sayings, even those in Paul,
                                                          > are in Greek.
                                                          >
                                                          > Larry Swain
                                                          > UIC
                                                          >
                                                          >
                                                          > Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                                                          > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...

                                                          You can say "my blood of the covenant" in Hebrew, why not in Aramaic?

                                                          tim


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                                                        • DaGoi@aol.com
                                                          In a message dated 1/21/3 12:40:35 AM, (so interwoven i have to say I read : ... Because this is not a magical formula, but a prophetic shared experience and
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Jan 21, 2003
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                                                            In a message dated 1/21/3 12:40:35 AM, (so interwoven i have to say "I read":

                                                            <<on 1/19/03 9:22 PM, LARRY SWAIN at theswain@... wrote:

                                                            > --- Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:
                                                            >> Ed Tyler wrote:
                                                            >>
                                                            >>> Why, for instance, would "little girl, arise" be
                                                            >> so sacred that
                                                            >>> they would be reproduced in the original language,
                                                            >> but the words of the
                                                            >>> Eucharist would not?

                                                            Because this is not a magical formula, but a prophetic shared experience and
                                                            so it was important to understand the words while the cult was relatively
                                                            new. When it got old and aquired a bit of cultural authority then it'd be
                                                            prone to being holy stale.

                                                            <<
                                                            You can say "my blood of the covenant" in Hebrew, why not in Aramaic?

                                                            tim
                                                            >>

                                                            if there is a reason, maybe that's why the scripture wasn't translated into
                                                            Aramaic: couldn't do Ex 24.8. hmm, is there an aramaic targum on exodus
                                                            24.8?

                                                            Bill Foley
                                                            Woburn

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