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Question: Did Matthew first compose his gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic?  (Voting closed: April 03, 2014, 11:48:33 AM)
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rakovsky
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« on: July 09, 2011, 11:48:33 AM »

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According to Eusebius (Church History III.39.16), Papias said that Matthew collected (synetaxato; or, according to two manuscripts, synegraphato, composed) ta logia (the oracles or maxims of Jesus) in the Hebrew (Aramaic) language, and that each one translated them as best he could.

were the Logia of Matthew and the Gospel to which ecclesiastical writers refer written in Hebrew or Aramaic? Both hypotheses are held. Papias says that Matthew wrote the Logia in the Hebrew (Hebraidi) language; St. Irenæus and Eusebius maintain that he wrote his gospel for the Hebrews in their national language, and the same assertion is found in several writers. Matthew would, therefore, seem to have written in modernized Hebrew, the language then used by the scribes for teaching. But, in the time of Christ, the national language of the Jews was Aramaic...

St. Irenæus (Adv. Haer., III, i, 2) affirms that Matthew published among the Hebrews a Gospel which he wrote in their own language.
St. Jerome has repeatedly declared that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew ("Ad Damasum", xx; "Ad Hedib.", iv), but says that it is not known with certainty who translated it into Greek. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Epiphanius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, etc., and all the commentators of the Middle Ages repeat that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10057a.htm

Quote
Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.
Citing this text, many argue that Papias claimed that Matthew was written in the Hebrew language, (as it is often translated in English). This claim of the Semitic origins of the New testament writings is also testified to by other Church Fathers including Ireneus, Origen, Eusebius, Pantaeneus, Epiphanius, Jerome, Isho'dad, as well as, Clement of Alexandria. Some would argue, however, that Papias' comment in Greek, (Ματθαῖος μέν οὖν Ἑβραίδι διαλέκτῳ τά λόγια, "Hebrew dialect") is a common construction in Greek and is seen in many different sources and contexts and seems to consistently refer to a style or subset of a language being spoken; and, this is distinguished from the general Greek term for language or tongue, "γλῶσσα". Papias' statement seems to signify a style of language or dialect being used by the "Hebrews", (or in other words, the style or subset of a language being used by the Hebrew race). In the historical context, the "dialect of the Hebrews", (Ἑβραίδι διαλέκτῳ), was most probably a reference to the Hebrew dialect of Aramaic. Due to the testimony of so many other sources, including Papias' contemporaries, this argument seem likely to overlook the other sources for this same claim.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papias_of_Hierapolis

Further, John's Gospel says at one point that "Golgotha" is a Hebrew word, but in fact it's Aramaic.

At the same time, other scholars claim there are a huge number of Hebrew expressions and writing styles in Matthew's Gospel and in other gospels.
http://www.bible-researcher.com/hebraisms.html

Plus, there are other scholars that claim it was written in Hebrew. I read one place that some expressions can only make sense if they were Hebrew, and that the expressions don't exist in Aramaic.

When St Paul addresses the crowd outside the Temple, Acts says they become more silent when they hear him talking in Hebrew. It sounds more likely that this really was Hebrew, because a common language like Aramaic would be less likely to have this effect.

Also, Hebrew and Aramaic are similar Semitic languages. As one customer wrote about a book that said that the gospel was in Hebrew:
Quote
He claims proof it was originally in Hebrew because of word puns. Wait, Aramaic is a Semitic language. Many Aramaic words share the same root as Hebrew too. There are Aramaic word puns, and the Hebrew word puns are going to be in many of the same places as the Aramaic word puns.
http://www.amazon.com/Hebrew-Yeshua-vs-Greek-Jesus/product-reviews/097626370X?pageNumber=3
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 11:51:31 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 04:39:51 PM »

Aramaic was the language of the Hebrews of the day.

Biblical Hebrew would have been something akin to the Koine Greek of the GOC today.
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2011, 06:39:32 PM »

There is still much scholarly debate about this, with arguments for everything from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek.

One point: Papias (and several other early Fathers) definitely believed it was written in Hebrew. Taken in its context, the phrase "Ἑβραίδι διαλέκτῳ" does not indicate some kind of Hebrew dialect (e.g. Aramaic). "Dialect" is a technical term from the rhetoric schools of the time. It has to do with one's literary style.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2011, 08:00:43 PM »

The general consensus is that the Gospel were all written in Greek.  Certainly there were some Aramaic words thrown into the mix just as Latin or Green words appear in our texts today.

Koine Greek was the lingua franca(Latin word) of the Greco-Roman Empire - it was the language of the LXX.

The biblical texts read by Jesus would certainly have been from the Greek LXX.
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 11:52:07 PM »

Not sure.  When Jesus cried out In Matthew, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ", My God . . ."is in Hebrew,  while ". . .  why have you forsaken me?" is in Aramaic.  I really don't know if it was originally in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 06:18:13 AM »

.
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 06:59:29 AM »

Why are you not considering the possibility that it was written in Greek?
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2012, 02:14:26 PM »

Dear Kasatkin Fan,

I believe you that
"Aramaic was the language of the Hebrews of the day. Biblical Hebrew would have been something akin to the Koine Greek of the GOC today."

This appears to be the most common opinion of Biblical scholars. Namely, that the self-identified Israelites spoke Aramaic, as for example the Talmud was written in Aramaic. But Biblical Hebrew is like Koine Greek of the Greek Orthodox Church, in that Biblical Hebrew was the language in which the Hebrew Scriptures were kept for religious purposes- although they were also recorded in Greek Septuagint form. I assume the synagogues typically tried to use Hebrew as the language of their services as the more traditionalist Rabbinical synagogue services do today. Similarly, Koine Greek is the language of most or much of the New Testament, and also early Church writings. And as I remember, the Greek Orthodox Church actually uses Koine Greek in its liturgy.

Peace.


pensateomnia,

You are right that
"There is still much scholarly debate about this, with arguments for everything from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek."
In researching this question, I somewhat remember finding articles that claimed variously that Matthew's Gospel was first written in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. The standard opinion appeared to be that Jesus' sayings were collected in Aramaic by the compositor of Matthew's Gospel. However, I did also find articles, particularly by "Messianic Christian" authors, claiming that the typical common language in the Holy Land in Jesus' time was Hebrew, and that consequently Jesus' sayings were collected in Hebrew by the compositor of Matthew's Gospel.

Finally, I vaguely remember reading that there was another scholarly opinion that the Gospel was actually compiled in Greek, but I am doubtful if it actually was compiled in Greek, because of the similarities between some sayings and Aramaic, as well as the apparent fact that Aramaic was the common language Jesus would've spoken those sayings in. Still, it seems reasonably possible for me at this point to propose that the sayings by Jesus could have been in Aramaic, but that when the sayings were compiled for the gospel they were directly translated into Greek and thus first written down in Greek.

I seriously doubt whether "Papias (and several other early Fathers) definitely believed it was written in Hebrew." On one hand, several important Church fathers consistently specify that it was written in "Hebrew", rather than "Aramaic."

But on the other hand, as I believe you correctly point out: "Taken in its context, the phrase "Eβραίδι διαλέκτw" does not indicate some kind of Hebrew dialect (e.g. Aramaic). "Dialect" is a technical term from the rhetoric schools of the time. It has to do with one's literary style." This is similar to what Wikipedia says, as I quoted in my earlier message on the thread: "(..."Hebrew dialect") is a common construction in Greek and is seen in many different sources and contexts and seems to consistently refer to a style or subset of a language being spoken". Thus, when those Church fathers say it was written in "Hebrew", it does not appear to necessarily mean that it was written in the "Hebrew language", which is what we commonly think of when they hear that something was written "in Hebrew."

Here, when those Church fathers say it was written in the Hebrew dialect, rather than referring to the Hebrew language, as you pointed out it looks like those fathers could mean that it was written in a "Hebrew style" of Aramaic.

Kind Regards.


Dear Wayseer,

I doubt whether
"The general consensus is that the Gospel were all written in Greek." By this, I think you mean that the consensus is that "the Gospels were all written in Greek." My impression is that the general consensus is that the three gospels besides Matthew- that is, Luke, Mark, and John- were written in Greek, based on style and that they were handed down in Greek. However, based on the Church fathers' claim that Matthew was compiled in the Hebrew dialect, I believe that the general consensus is that much, if not most, of Matthew was first recorded in Aramaic.

You are right when you say "Certainly there were some Aramaic words thrown into the mix just as Latin or Green words appear in our texts today. Koine Greek was the lingua franca(Latin word) of the Greco-Roman Empire - it was the language of the LXX.

As Gamliel pointed out, in Matthew, "why have you forsaken me?" appears explicitly in Aramaic, so clearly at least some Aramaic words were clearly thrown into the Greek text that was passed down, just as we see Greek or Latin words in the English translations that have been passed down to us. For example, the name "Moses" in the traditional King James Bible is a Greek version of the Hebrew word "Moishe". Similarly, I read that when the KJV was composed based on Latin texts of the Bible, the KJV's translators carried some Latin words into English or created some Latin-based English words from the corresponding Latin terms.

Furthermore, not only was Koine Greek the language of the Septuagint, it was as you said, the mutually shared common language throughout the Roman Empire. Except that I am doubtful whether it was the common language throughout the western Roman Empire, since the Greeks and earlier Greek empires had less contact with and control over the Roman Empire's western half. The Septuagint, I believe, was intentionally written in Greek so that it could be read outside the more limited Hebrew-language circles.

I am not sure how certain it is that "The biblical texts read by Jesus would certainly have been from the Greek LXX." The Greek LXX was quite widespread in Jesus' time and apparently many places in the New Testament are more closely quoted from the LXX than the Hebrew, based in part on the Hebrew Masoretic. On the other hand, the New Testament records that Jesus read from the scriptures in Nazareth's synagogue. My impression is that synagogue readings at that time, as today, used Hebrew language and Hebrew scriptures, as Hebrew was and is considered those scriptures' original language.

Health and Happiness to You.[color]



Gamliel,

I am not sure either if Matthew's Gospel was in Aramaic,
as it appears the oldest version handed down to us was in Greek, yet the common language Jesus spoke in was in Aramaic and the church fathers said the sayings were collected in the "Hebrew Dialect", which nonetheless it seems could mean just a Hebrew literary or linguistic style. Plus Greek was also a common language at the time, yet some of the passages in Matthew apparently have an Aramaic or Hebrew style to them even though they came down to us in Greek.

So I feel as you do about this when you say "I really don't know if it was originally in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek."

You are right when you say "When Jesus cried out In Matthew, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ", My God . . ."is in Hebrew, while ". . . why have you forsaken me?" is in Aramaic." I have read this elsewhere in a scholarly article(s) as well. And since we find a mix of languages in this quote, it isn't clear how much of the original collection of writings in Matthew's gospel was in Aramaic or Hebrew, as it makes sense that other parts would also be in both languages based on this mix. For example, it makes sense that other places in Matthew's Gospel where Jesus or his disciples say "My God" may also be in Hebrew, since it is used here.

Kind Regards[color]


deusveritasest,

You asked:
"Why are you not considering the possibility that it was written in Greek?"
The reason I was not considering this possibility is because so many of the Church Fathers said it was in the "Hebrew dialect" that for me this meant that either it was in the Hebrew language or a Hebrew dialect of Aramaic, which by my impression is a semitic language like Hebrew. The Church fathers' statement seemed to me to outweigh the possibility it was in Greek, despite the fact that other New Testament books were in Greek.

However, since pensateomnia reminded me that some scholarly opinions are that it was in Greek, it seems to me a small possibility. For example, the term "Hebrew dialect" could mean that it was written in a Hebrew style, even if the language was in Greek, and Greek after all was a widespread language in the eastern Mediterranean at that time. I somewhat remember that chiastic writing structure, which I somewhat remember reading is found in Matthew's Gospel some places, is associated with a Hebrew Biblical writing style.

But in any case, I think that the term "Hebrew dialect" goes beyond just a writing style and means or suggests a subset of a language, just as we today may talk of a Quebec dialect of French, or Macedonian Greek as a Greek dialect. Deciding that it refers to a subset of a language would rule out saying that it was in the "Hebrew language". However, some scholars and translations use the term "Hebrew dialect" to refer to the Hebrew language, as I vaguely remember the KJV translating the term Hebrew dialect this way.

Health, Happiness, and Kind Regards to you, deusveritasest.[color]
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 02:34:04 PM »

Rakovsky, isn't it possible that the Gospel According to Matthew is not the book that was mentioned here by the Fathers?  That is, couldn't it be the case that the Matthew we have today was originally written in Greek, and that there was a second book composed by Matthew that contained solely (or primarily) sayings of Christ (written perhaps in Hebrew or Aramaic, or possibly in both, with sayings said in Hebrew being written by Hebrew and the same for Aramaic)?
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 10:16:18 PM »

Today I looked over about 30-50 websites to find out about whether the New Testament was based on Hebrew or Aramaic. Alot of websites assert one or the other, but few actually explain with details and examples why it would not be the other.

My conclusion is that when it comes to whether significant passages of the New Testament were written in Aramaic or Hebrew, it appears they were not written in Hebrew. By Hebrew I mean the Hebrew of the Old Testament and standard Hebrew.

You see, the sites weren't really able to give good examples that were clearly Hebrew and not Aramaic. Yet it appears Aramaic was a pretty common spoken language at that time. It's true that the New Testament never specifies the Jewish Christians speaking Aramaic. In fact, "the word Συριστι [Aramaic] never appears in the New Testament." (http://www.torahclass.com/archived-articles/413-did-the-messiah-speak-aramaic-or-hebrew-part-1-by-eaknapp) But examples the New Testament calls "Hebrew" are apparently not really Old Testament Hebrew. So my guess is that when the Church Fathers talk about Matthew being in Hebrew, it means the language of the Hebrews.

Instead, it appears that significant passages were more likely written either in Aramaic or what some call "Mishnah Hebrew". Now the idea about it being in "Mishnah Hebrew" is also confusing, because I think the rabbinic commentaries or Targums, which it seems this term refers to, are generally considered to be written in Aramaic. So calling the Targums "Mishnah Hebrew" seems to remind me of calling Yiddish "German Hebrew", when in fact Yiddish really isn't considered Hebrew.

Perhaps I am wrong about this. But in any case, the many websites I looked at didn't clearly succeed in excluding Aramaic as the source of the supposedly Hebrew, or even "Mishnah Hebrew" passages. Granted, some expressions clearly are Hebrew, like the words "Sabbath" or "Rabbi", or quotes from the Old Testament. But I am talking about significant excerpts, like sentences with more than 3 words in them.

I thought that was important to note that:
Quote
An investigation of the Semitic idioms observed in the Gospel does not permit us to conclude as to whether the original was in Hebrew or Aramaic, as the two languages are so closely related.
Catholic Encylopedia,   http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10057a.htm

Part of the reason I was considering the Gospel's Hebrew origin was because of what I read and heard on another topic on the Forum "The Hebrew Yeshua v. The Greek Jesus" (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29935.0.html). It was about a videoclip that claimed the [apparently medieval] Hebrew-language Shem Tov version was the original version of the Gospel. One problem I have with the videoclip's claim is that it doesn't explain why the apparently Semitic elements it finds are not Aramaic, which is also Semitic.

An Orthodox friend of mine recommended Dr. Michael Brown as an author. In his book "What Do Jewish People Think about Jesus?", Dr. Brown cites from another book:
Quote
As stated by the editors of a recent volume seeking to shed light on the words of Jesus,

  • Jesus certainly knew and spoke Aramaic when needed, but many scholars now believe that he did his teaching in Hebrew. The rabbis of Jesus’ day and for hundreds of years after him delivered their parables, legal rulings, prayers and sermons entirely in Hebrew. In fact, there are several thousand parables and prayers recorded in rabbinic literature, and virtually all are in Hebrew. This Hebrew was not the dialect of the Scriptures, but a newer, living language called Middle or Mishnaic Hebrew. If Jesus functioned within Jewish society, he most likely delivered his teachings in Hebrew as well. Evidence for this comes from the fact that many Semitic idioms found in Jesus’ stories and teachings translate well into Mishnaic Hebrew, but don’t make sense in Aramaic at all.
http://askdrbrown.org/ask-dr-brown/35-ask-dr-brown/128-what-language-did-jesus-and-the-apostles-speak

He then comments about this:
Quote
In terms of the last sentence, there are Aramaic scholars who claim that the opposite is true, and that many Semitic idioms found in Jesus’ stories and teachings translate well into Aramaic, but don’t make sense in Hebrew. The rest of the paragraph, however, raises some excellent points, suggesting—but still not proving—that when Jesus dialogued and debated with the religious leaders in Jerusalem, He may have done so primarily in Hebrew (or, as reflected in the later Talmudic literature, in both Hebrew and Aramaic). This would also suggest that when the New Testament speaks of the “Hebrew language” (hebraidi dialekto) it actually means Hebrew and not Aramaic, as many translators and commentators have believed (see Acts 21:40; 22:2, referring to Paul’s speech; 26:14, referring to Yeshua addressing him on the road to Damascus; contrast the NRSV, which has “Hebrew” in the text, with the NIV, which has “Aramaic” in the text and “Hebrew” in the marginal notes). The question, however, is not so simple, as I pointed out in a somewhat technical article published in 1993, and “Hebrew” can simply mean, “the language spoken by the Jewish people,” meaning Aramaic rather than Hebrew.

So when Dr Brown talks about Jesus teaching parables in Hebrew, he is talking about "Mishnaic Hebrew", like I said earlier, which seems to me is maybe a version of Aramaic, like Yiddish isn't really Hebrew, but has Hebrew influences.

So the question becomes not really whether the sayings were in Hebrew, but whether they were in "Mishnaic Hebrew" and how different that really was from Aramaic.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 10:29:57 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 11:49:05 PM »

The article "What Language did the Messiah Speak – The Role of Mishnaic Hebrew" describes what the author calls "Mishnaic Hebrew":
Quote
Mishnaic Hebrew, the Hebrew of the Late Second Temple Period...

At the end of the Babylonian exile the Persian conqueror Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Judea... The Jews... came back to Judea with knowledge of Aramaic in addition to their Hebrew mother tongue... Using the Aramaic script they continued writing books in Hebrew, including many that became part of the Bible such as several of the minor prophets, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, some Psalms and probably books like Ecclesiastes. This Hebrew had a few distinctive features and is referred to by scholars as Late Biblical Hebrew.

As Hebrew continued evolving Late Biblical Hebrew gradually became Mishnaic Hebrew (also known as Rabbinic Hebrew) which is what was spoken at the time of Yeshua. Technically Mishnaic Hebrew is the dialect of Hebrew in which the Mishnah was composed. The Mishnah, an extensive collection of the sayings and teachings of rabbis, was compiled by Rabbi Judah the Prince around 200 C.E., contains teachings from the preceding centuries passed down from teacher to student verbatim, or nearly so... Mishnaic Hebrew compares to Biblical Hebrew much the way that modern English compares to King James English, and it tends to reflect a more commonplace, prosaic type of everyday speech vis-a-vis the more flowery, poetic nature of Biblical Hebrew.
http://www.torahclass.com/archived-articles/410-what-language-did-the-messiah-speak--the-role-of-mishnaic-hebrew-part-3-by-eaknapp

Below I would like to give three examples that were claimed to only work for Hebrew, not Aramaic.

Mark 5:41: And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

One site claims:
Quote
the in-famous “”Talitha cumi!” in Mark 5:41. “Kumi” is the imperative form of the Hebrew verb “laakum.” “Talitha” has nothing in itself that makes it “Aramaic”!
The New testament was written in the Hebrew language, http://www.wcma-usa.org/hebrewnewtestament.html
However, Strong's dictionary shows qum to be an Aramaic word and quwm to be a Hebrew word, so perhaps kumi could be either.
And Wikipedia's article "The Aramaic of Jesus" claims: <<The Aramaic is ţlīthā qūm. The word ţlīthā is the feminine form of the word ţlē, meaning "young".>> Wikipedia also says it is rarely used in Aramaic.

Quote
talitha (“little girl”, Mark 5:41), at first glance the “least” Hebrew of all the seven words [of Jesus recorded in their original tongue], is known to have been used by other Jews of the period, as it occurs in the Targum of Genesis 34:3 for “young woman”.  Merely because a word is in the Targum, of course, does not preclude it from being Hebrew, as the Targums contain many words – by one count almost half – either identical, or very similar, to the Hebrew Bible. Talitha too has Hebrew roots, coming from the Hebrew talah, meaning “lamb” – a term hardly out of place on the lips of the Good Shepherd.  Merely because it has a “tha” ending does not, of itself, make it “Aramaic”, since Gamaliel – whose strong views concerning Aramaic have already been noted – had a devout Jewish maidservant with the closely related name of Tabitha.  This is not, again, to deny a possible Aramaic influence for talitha...
Jesus spoke Hebrew,  http://www.sharesong.org/JESUSSPOKEHEBREW.htm
So "Talitha" appears to be a word rarely used in Aramaic, and appears in the Targums, which are apparently in Aramaic, as the Jewish Encyclopedia states (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14248-targum).


Mark 7:34: And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

The "Jesus spoke Hebrew" website claims:
Quote
Ephphatha – Jesus’ command to the deaf mute to “be opened” (Mark 7:34) – is directly from the Biblical Hebrew phphatha, חתפ, meaning “open”, as found in the standard Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Thus even Bruce Metzger concedes that “‘ephphatha’ can be explained as either Hebrew or Aramaic”.  Isaac Rabinowitz is less ambivalent, declaring emphatically that “there are no valid philological grounds for affirming, and there is every valid reason to deny, that ephphatha can represent an Aramaic … form.  The transliteration can, indeed, only represent the Hebrew niphal masculine singular imperative …  Ephphatha is certainly Hebrew, not Aramaic”.
http://www.sharesong.org/JESUSSPOKEHEBREW.htm
But Strong's Dictionary claims that this comes from the Aramaic word pethach, which matches the Hebrew word pathach.

And Wikipedia's article "The Aramaic of Jesus" says: "This could be from the Aramaic 'ethpthaḥ', the passive imperative of the verb 'pthaḥ', 'to open', since the 'th' could assimilate in western Aramaic. The guttural 'ḥ' was often omitted in Greek transcriptions in the Septuagint and was also softened in Galilean speech."


Matthew 28:1: In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

The article "What Language did the Messiah Speak – The Role of Mishnaic Hebrew" comments:
Quote
Matthew 28:1 has been a puzzle, particularly for Greek scholars, for a long time. A more literal translation from the Greek would be “Late [of] Sabbath in the lightening [dawning] of the first of the Sabbath…,” which seems like an extremely strange statement. As it stands this sentence actually makes no sense. As it turns out this bizarre phrasing is actually a very literal translation of a phrase in Mishnaic Hebrew: במוצאי שבת, אור לאחד/לראשון בשבת . The confusion seems to have arisen because of the idiomatic expression "אור ל-" which means “light of” and seems to have been misunderstood by later copyists or Greek writers who assumed that this “light” must refer to sunrise. Actually this idiomatic phrase refers to the rising of the moon, indicating the end of the Sabbath and the start of the new week. Thus the visit of the women to the tomb in Matthew 28:1 took place on Saturday evening, immediately following the Sabbath.

However, this doesn't explain why the expression couldn't have been made in Aramaic. Perhaps the idea of the "lightening of the Sabbath" really does exist in Hebrew and mean the rising of the moon. But the early Jewish Christians, coming from the Jewish religious community, would likely have been familiar with this concept of the moon's rising on the Sabbath. And naturally they could have been thinking in terms of this concept without actually expressing all of Matthew 28:1 in Hebrew, as opposed to Aramaic, which it seems could express this idiom in a similar way because of the languages' similarity.
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 12:14:03 AM »

The last example was:
Quote
Matt. 27:46-49
About the ninth hour Yeshua cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah." Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Yeshua to drink. The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."
 
Mark 15:34-36
And at the ninth hour Yeshua cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah." One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Yeshua to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.
I thought the author of "Did the Messiah Speak Aramaic or Hebrew?" did a good job explaining why Matthew's Hebrew language name for God, "Eli", was more likely correct- because it sounds more like the prophet's name "Elijah"/"Elias" than Mark's Aramaic "Eloi" does.
(http://www.torahclass.com/archived-articles/412-did-the-messiah-speak-aramaic-or-hebrew-part-2-by-eaknapp)

Next, the author says that "lama sabachthani" can be either Aramaic or Mishnaic Hebrew. The use of the Hebrew "Eli" tends to suggest to me that the rest of the verse would more likely have been intended in Hebrew.

However, I imagine that Jesus could have been using the name "Eli" here from Hebrew because he was referring to a Hebrew-language verse, and this doesn't discount that other parts of the New Testament that weren't quoting Hebrew verses could still have been in Aramaic.

So my conclusion is that apart from some words like rabbi, Eli, Sabbath, korban, etc., it isn't clear from the many websites that significantly-sized New Testament passages were written in even Mishnaic Hebrew, as opposed to Aramaic.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 12:21:53 AM by rakovsky » Logged
Tags: Aramaic  Hebrew 
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