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Re: [Synoptic-L] The Aramaic-Greek transition

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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
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          • 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 5 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

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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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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


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                            • 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 14 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

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                              • 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 15 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 16 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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