Did Jesus and the NT Persons speak Greek or Aramaic?

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Posts 149
Alexander Fogassy | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Aug 1 2017 1:22 PM

Was Greek or Aramaic the language of the land during Jesus' time?

I've heard it said that Mary Magdalene wouldn't have spoken Greek, but I've also heard that Greek was the "common tongue." Can somebody clarify this for me?

Also, what tools in Logos are there for Aramaic? Any Aramaic New Testament?

Alex

Posts 11310
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 1 2017 1:32 PM

Answering:

1. Both

2. You'd need to climb in a time-machine. No one knows.  But fun to guess. Gravestones had both languages. 

3. Did you search Logos? There's a bunch. The Peshitta NT is your closest NT. Enticingly, the earliest mention of Matthew said it's in aramaic. Unfortunately it got lost.

Wikipedia has a great discussion; recommended.

Added:

Coincidentally, the Logos monthly sale has Biblical Performance Criticism: https://www.logos.com/product/17146/biblical-performance-criticism-series 

The first volume is interesting ... the lower paragraph:

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 774
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 1 2017 2:00 PM

Alexander Fogassy:

Was Greek or Aramaic the language of the land during Jesus' time?

I've heard it said that Mary Magdalene wouldn't have spoken Greek, but I've also heard that Greek was the "common tongue." Can somebody clarify this for me?

Also, what tools in Logos are there for Aramaic? Any Aramaic New Testament?

Alex

Denise was answering the question in the title of this thread when he said "both". 

The answer to the first question in the body; i.e., the language of the land, the answer is Aramaic.

I have no idea whether Mary Magdalene would, or would not, have spoken Greek.  However, Greek was the common tongue of the countries bordering the Mediterranean.  This is because Alexander the Great, hundreds of years before Christ, had conquered them and had spread Greek culture as he conquered. 

Those of us who strongly believe the in the Providence of God believe that Alexander's conquests and spread of the common Greek language was to facilitate the spread of the Church in the first century A.D.  We also think that the dispersion of the Jews throughout the Mediterranean also provided cultural preparation for the spread of the Church.  Notice that in Acts the Jews coming from all over heard Peter's sermons in Jerusalem and took the Gospel back to their various communities in many countries.  Some think that this was the way that the Church was started in Rome.

As a result, Paul's letters were distributed in Greek.  Even the Jews who were disbursed from Israel to countries around the Mediterranean, had bothered to translate the Old Testament writings into Greek since it was better known than Hebrew.  This Greek translation is the Septuagint.

The Greeks provided the language.  The Romans provided the roads and the relative peace.

Posts 11310
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 1 2017 2:07 PM

David A Egolf:

Denise was answering the question in the title of this thread when he said "both". 

Actually, 'he' was answering the body. The evidence supports both .... depends on 'where'. To illustrate, the Decapolis, Sebaste, and across the hill from Nazareth.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 149
Alexander Fogassy | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 1 2017 2:07 PM

Yes, yes, this is all fine except it presupposes the absence of Divine Inspiration, and the guidence of the Holy Spirit in the infallible transmission thereof. 

This paragraph also presents an over-emphasis on the aural word. The written word still had prominence in biblical times, albeit not as much. Scripture itself attests to this, when Jesus says not one "jot or tittle" will go unfulfilled from the Law, or the command to not go beyond "what is written" in 1 Corinthians, or the fact that the written Scriptures are able to lead one to Salvation (2 Tim 3:15). 

Posts 11310
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 1 2017 2:41 PM

Alexander, you realize you kind of roped the Divine in. I'm guessing one who could create the universe could inform many ways. Moses said so, anyway. And your necessary writings are the OT. I won't go there, as a courtesy.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 443
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 1 2017 3:16 PM

Alexander Fogassy:

Was Greek or Aramaic the language of the land during Jesus' time?

I've heard it said that Mary Magdalene wouldn't have spoken Greek, but I've also heard that Greek was the "common tongue." Can somebody clarify this for me?

Also, what tools in Logos are there for Aramaic? Any Aramaic New Testament?

Alex

Hi, Alex. You might want to throw colloquial Hebrew into the mix as well. Jesus and his disciples lived in a multilingual environment. You can find some of the most recent and thorough scholarship on this topic in the suggestion thread below (including links to a few free chapters).

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/83718.aspx 

Posts 2239
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 1 2017 5:45 PM

Alexander Fogassy:
Was Greek or Aramaic the language of the land during Jesus' time?

Rather than serve the answer on a silver platter, Can I ask a couple of questions for you to explore within Logos? The skills you gain researching this question of personal interest can be used in the future.

What languages were used to put the "nameplate" above Jesus on the Cross?

What language is “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

What language is “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)

What reasons could explain the difference in spelling between the 2 different Gospels?

How do various translations spell the quote in Mt 5:41? What explanations exist for these various spellings?

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 149
Alexander Fogassy | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 5:53 AM

Denise, my response was to your article snippet only. And whether or not only the OT is in view in 2 Tim 3:15 doesn't change the fact that the written Word is regarded as significant. Moreover, God indeed could have chosen to communicate many ways, but He chose language to do so, and superintended the written Scriptures as His inerrant, perspicuous, self-attesting revelation to mankind. 

Posts 11310
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 6:31 AM

Alexander Fogassy:

but He chose language to do so, and superintended the written Scriptures as His inerrant, perspicuous, self-attesting revelation to mankind. 

I guess.  Not sure how He told you that (Moses indicated otherwise). Please don't be offended ... we're looking at different traditions.  I only bring the issue up, because much of Logos marketing is offensive to several of the traditions.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 7623
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 7:09 AM

They were multilingual and spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance 😁

Posts 1073
William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 7:16 AM

I enjoy the threads most that flirt with breaking the forum rules.

A couple of relevant passages for this topic would be John 14:25-26 and John 16:12-15. One could try to argue that John was mis-remembering Jesus' words when he wrote those or that they wouldn't apply to inspired Scripture writing, but it would be about as convincing as Dan Brown's various theories.

Here's a good review that touches on oral vs written that would link anyone interested to further resources: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-reviews-jesus-before-the-gospels

Regarding the original question of the thread, the Logos Academic Blog looked at this back in 2015: https://academic.logos.com/did-jesus-speak-greek/

I'll see if I can find it, but I seem to recall that a scholar had written a pretty compelling argument that Jesus' could have and did speak some Greek. I'll post if I find it.

[Edit:] After reading around some more, I believe the arguments I remember reading were excerpts from Porter and Carson's book, Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics: Open Questions in Current Research. The LAB has this Porter quote from that book, "In the light of this accumulated evidence, which is overwhelming when compared to the equivalent Aramaic evidence, it is surprising that many scholars have not given more consideration to the hypothesis that Jesus spoke and even possibly taught in Greek."

Posts 149
Alexander Fogassy | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 9:12 AM

Denise,

"Not sure how He told you that (Moses indicated otherwise)"

Really? And how did Moses indicate otherwise, if Scripture is supposedly unclear by itself? 

By appealing to Moses, you assume that which you seek to deny about the Word....

What tradition? I'm assuming Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. Those that deny the perspicuity of Scripture. Or were you talking more about the inerrency of Scripture? In that case I guess you're a liberal? Just wondering...

Alex

Posts 11310
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 9:45 AM

Let's avoid the fun labels. And stay within Logos-land.

Search Moses NEAR Aaron NEAR Mariam and the discussion of Divine communication.  Additionally, review the checklist on how to tell who speaks for the Divine (since many humans try it out for size). Both from the Penteteuch, and as you earlier pointed out, it being authoritative.

Regarding 'me' ( a less significant question), I stick with a literal (what you see is what you got) reading. No later creeds, claims, etc.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 149
Alexander Fogassy | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 10:15 AM

I am a little fuzzy as to what you intend for me to search. Can you just provide the citation? Also what do you mean by "who speaks for the Divine?"

Jesus Himself accredits the narrative of the Pentateuch NOT to Moses, but to God Himself (Matt 19:4-5), indicating that Jesus views the Old Testament not as a record of God's words, but God's words themselves. 

Posts 5315
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 10:27 AM

Alexander Fogassy:

Was Greek or Aramaic the language of the land during Jesus' time?

I've heard it said that Mary Magdalene wouldn't have spoken Greek, but I've also heard that Greek was the "common tongue." Can somebody clarify this for me?

Also, what tools in Logos are there for Aramaic? Any Aramaic New Testament?

Alex

The Leiden Peshitta although Syriac is not exactly Aramaic its very very close, indeed I have been lead to believe it may be as close as koine greek to classical greek. 

Most people in the holy land would be likely bilingual a vast number may actually have been quad lingual. picking up latin, the language of the occupying force and many men would have learned Hebrew to read the scriptures at synagogue.  That said like today in countries with multiple languages there are some who only know one. I am not bi lingual even though french is an official language of my country, I know a few phrases of french and spanish and indeed can read a little in each to get by but I could not carry on a conversation or understand enough to get by in anything but english. I think it is very interesting that the scroll above Jesus was in Latin greek and hebrew. I would suspect it was actually Aramaic and not Hebrew unless it is being listed in the legal language of the empire, of the land israel and then in a common tongue everyone was expected to know greek., but it seems more likely that Pilate wanted to make sure all people who could read knew exactly what he wanted them to know who this was... A mocking joke to be sure, but this is what the power of Rome will do to anyone who claims kingship of this land.

-dan 

Posts 11310
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 10:29 AM

Alexander, I think it best for you to search as needed. Stay within forum guidance.

Regarding Jesus and Moses, another search, Jesus NEAR Moses. Scholars have big problems with that one (divorce).

And remember, I'm irrelevant ... the text is the criticality. Ergo, Logos search tools and mastering them.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 11310
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 10:33 AM

Dan .., I read the most bizarre (for me) discussion of the Peshitta ... it matched it up against the aramaic Targums (I think Neofitti, late-dated). I probably look pretty naive, but I'm going to run pattern matches on that. That's a real eye-opener.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 2602
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 2 2017 1:48 PM

A lot of people have beaten a dead horse about the New Testament in Aramaic or Hebrew as if it were somehow the original from which we got it in Greek. Stanley Porter discredits this theory on several levels, some of which are readily observable even if you don't know Greek.

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 149
Alexander Fogassy | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 3 2017 5:41 AM

David,

Thank you. Those exercises proved to be most helpful. I still wonder why Matthew wrote Eli and Mark wrote Eloi...Jesus said one and not the other, so is one of the gospel accounts "wrong"? Or is the issue with our translations? 

Alex

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