Author Topic: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament  (Read 31407 times)

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Offline Jakub

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #45 on: August 30, 2006, 12:26:40 AM »
For those in the know...

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http://www.standardversion.org/

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #46 on: August 30, 2006, 02:08:15 AM »
For those in the know...

 "The Peshitta Foundation"
http://www.standardversion.org/

James

The Peshitta foundation appears to be the front of a Judaizing neo-Nestorian cult:

Quote
The Peshitta Foundation is affiliated with the Church of Jerusalem and its members are Nasraya Mshikhanim, not Assyrian, Catholic or Seventh Day Adventists.
http://www.standardversion.org/questions.php

Quote
The time is now for Nestorianism to rise from its slumber: to grow person by person, village by village the world over. I urge all Nestorians, everywhere in every country to unite under the banner of the one and only Nestorian Church, under the righteous authority of the only True Nestorian Patriarchate, under the authority of His Holiness, +Mar Isagelos Michai.
http://www.churchofjerusalem.org

Peace.


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Offline Matthew777

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #47 on: August 30, 2006, 02:22:43 AM »
This article provides evidence that Jesus and the Apostles knew and could speak Greek:

Did Jesus and the Apostles Speak Greek?
http://www.triumphpro.com/did_jesus_and_the_apostles_speak_greek.htm

It isn't much of a stretch beyond that for there being a Greek original to the New Testament. That doesn't prove a Greek original, but it does leave room for the possibility. It's not hard to believe that Mediterranean fisherman would be fluent in Greek, at least for purposes of commerce.

Peace.
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Offline bergschlawiner

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #48 on: August 30, 2006, 02:32:46 AM »
All this history plus the realistic foreign language scenes in Mel Gibson's movie convince me that the people living in Jesus's time were far better linguists than we have today.  Can you imagine everyone bartering and talking in all the languages of the Empire in marketplaces?  Similar probably in any major Austro-Hungarian multilingual city.  As a former professional linguist this always impressed me.  And none of these people had any idea what grammar was either.  You gotta assume that Jesus was exposed to all these languages at His time and understood them on the street.  It was survival!

Offline Matthew777

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #49 on: August 30, 2006, 02:48:41 AM »
A problem with Aramaic primacists is that they seem to find the Greek language to be inherently evil. Aramaic isn't Hebrew, and it wasn't the sacred language of the Jews, so it has no more divine favor than Greek.
Raphael Lataster's apparent anti-Hellenist bias borders on racial slur. I'm offended as a Greek person by his reference to copyists of the Greek New Testament as "Zorbans."

Peace.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #50 on: August 30, 2006, 07:58:22 AM »
That's OK matt777, I am often offended by Greek persons..., too.

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #51 on: August 30, 2006, 03:34:37 PM »
Did you misread me or is that some sort of joke?
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #52 on: August 30, 2006, 06:01:58 PM »
Yes, lad, some kinda' joke...
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2009, 09:49:21 AM »
Also, would there be an acceptable theory where not all writers wrote in the same original language?  Could some have written in Greek and some in Aramaic?   

It has been more acceptable to theorize that Matthew, Hebrews, or both were possibly written in Aramaic/Hebrew, considering the audiences to whom they were written... But general scholarly consensus is that the rest were written in Greek originally.

The problem that Aramaic primists have is that the early Fathers, e.g. Papias of the 2nd century and others make a point of pointing out that St. Matthew first wrote his Gospel in Aramaic, and then translated it ito Greek (an intriguing idea is that the Aramaic orginal was more a logia collection, as the postulated Q, and that the narrative Matthew we have was part of the translation process into Greek). No other talk of an Aramaic original is found among the Fathers.  Then there is the problem of St. Luke, whom all identify as a Gentile, who wrote St. Luke and the Acts.

Another is the point someone made above, of "to the Jew first, and then the Gentile," indicating that St. Paul wrote Aramaic to Jews in Diaspora.  There are many problems with that: St. Paul specifically says he is the apostle to the Gentiles and states St. Peter is the Apostle to the Jews, and it makes nonsense of much of Galatians.

My last post in this thread: the people who translated the Septuagent were scribes who were fluent in both Greek and Hebrew.

"The Septuagint is an old translation of a Hebrew Old Testament, made around the 3rd century BCE (at least the Pentateuch portion). It is a common misconception that the Septuagint was made for Judeans in general, and was quoted by Jesus and the Apostles. This is an outright fallacy. The Septuagint was made for the Alexandrian Judeans, those Greek-speaking Judeans in Alexandria*. That it were the Alexandrian Judeans that spoke Greek, and not Judeans in general, also gives weight to the belief that Clement of Alexandria had to translate the book of Hebrews into Greek. As Judeans themselves tell us, the creation of the Septuagint was frowned upon in Israel:

Note: the Septuagint is also known as the LXX and the Seventy.

“While Philo and his Alexandrian co-religionists looked upon the Seventy as the work of inspired men, Palestinian rabbis subsequently considered the day on which the Septuagint was completed as one of the most unfortunate in Israel's history, seeing that the Torah could never adequately be translated. And there are indications enough that the consequences of such translations were not all of a desirable nature.” — Jewish Publication Society 1955

“However, there are other commemorative days that fall immediately before the Tenth of Tevet and their memory has been silently incorporated in the fast day of the Tenth of Tevet as well. On the eighth of Tevet, King Ptolemy of Egypt forced 70 Jewish scholars to gather and translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Even though the Talmud relates to us that this project was blessed with a miracle -- the 70 scholars were all placed in separate cubicles and yet they all came up with the same translation -- the general view of the rabbis of the time towards this project was decidedly negative. The Talmud records that when this translation became public "darkness descended on the world."” — Rabbi Barry Leff

“In fact, the church father Jerome mentions that the "Hebrew Gospel" (really Aramaic in Hebrew script) originally had HEBREW OT QUOTES IN IT THAT WERE SWITCHED FOR THE LXX OR SOME GREEK VERSION LATER ON.” — Andrew Gabriel Roth, Aramaic scholar and “Nazarene Jew”

If the Judeans mourned the translating of the Hebrew OT into Greek (according to scholars, “Koine Greek”), imagine the shock to them if their fellow Judeans had written the NT in Greek also!

And why would Aramaic-speaking Jesus and the Aramaic-speaking Apostles read and quote the Septuagint? They had access to the Hebrew, and there are many examples where the Greek NT differs from the Septuagint, while agreeing with the Peshitta (some of which are shown in the “Miscellaneous Proofs” section of this book).

However, the Septuagint is a useful study tool in Old Testament studies, and should be given the same respect as is accorded to the Massoretic Hebrew version and the Peshitta Old Testament. As a very old witness to what could very well have been the original Hebrew version (the Massoretic is not the original Hebrew, it is a very late, revised version), it solves Massoretic Hebrew contradictions and seems to be more “Yeshua-friendly” in regards to Messianic prophecies, than the Massoretic text (given to us by Talmudists, who did not accept Yeshua as the Messiah). But that is a topic for another day.

*Even this may be an exaggeration, as it has never been proven that Greek was ever the common language of Egypt. There are many cases where it seems that Greek was never the language of the common people in Egypt. One example is in the Bible itself. Acts 21:37-38 has the chief captain being seemingly surprised that Paul could speak Greek, as he thought Paul was an Egyptian terrorist."
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Online_Version/historical_proofs.htm

Peace.

 

All the is anti-LXX is late Jewish tradition of the Rabbis: the Talmud itself refers to the LXX as the fulfillment that Japheth will live in the tents of Shem, and there is ample proof that the LXX was used by the Jews.  Josephus uses Esdras I for his dating, not the Masoretic Erza, for instance.  And the fact that the Hebrew texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls agree with LXX readings also undermines the Aramaic primacy claims for the NT.  Btw, Greek fragments are in the Dead Sea Scrolls, including one that has been claimed to be a fragment of the Gospel. :o

Btw, Greek was never the common language of Egypt, Coptic was.  But it was the official language throughout Egypt, amply documented, and the chief language of Alexandria.

Syriac/Aramaic was the Lingua France once you got past the coast, but if the NT was written in Aramaic, I would expect Epistles to Edessa, Damascus and Ctesiphon in addition to Thessalonica, Corinth and Rome.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 09:59:48 AM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Jetavan

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #54 on: July 23, 2009, 10:52:06 AM »
For those in the know...

 "The Peshitta Foundation"
http://www.standardversion.org/

James

The Peshitta foundation appears to be the front of a Judaizing neo-Nestorian cult:

Quote
The Peshitta Foundation is affiliated with the Church of Jerusalem and its members are Nasraya Mshikhanim, not Assyrian, Catholic or Seventh Day Adventists.
http://www.standardversion.org/questions.php

Yokhanan (John): AESV

Chapter 1 (incomplete)

1 In the beginning was the Miltha*, and the Miltha was with God, and the Miltha was God.

2 He existed in the beginning with God.

3 Through his hand* all things were made, but without him nothing has been done or made.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
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Offline Fr. John D-Alton

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #55 on: July 26, 2009, 06:32:33 AM »
Jetavan has posted a good example of the Aramaic Gospel of John. People should not be confused by the term "Miltha" which is simply an anglicised version of the Aramaic word for "Word" or the equivalent of "Logos". If you read the whole verse in aramaic in syriac font it is quite beautiful and valid ie Orthodox.
Yes there are some in the Aramaic primacy movement who are anti-Greek and have overboard theories :-(  , but some are lovely people. That some parts of the NT were originally written or verbally transmitted in Aramaic is quite clear by all the research evidenced on the peshitta sites eg the proto-creed of 1 Timothy which is beautiful in Aramaic but a mess in the greek translation.
Orthodox scholarship is beginning to consider these issues. Especiallly some of us in the Antiochian jurisdiction since some can understand old Syriac.

in Christ,
Fr. John
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Offline Nazarene

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #56 on: September 29, 2009, 08:14:46 PM »
Jetavan has posted a good example of the Aramaic Gospel of John. People should not be confused by the term "Miltha" which is simply an anglicised version of the Aramaic word for "Word" or the equivalent of "Logos". If you read the whole verse in aramaic in syriac font it is quite beautiful and valid ie Orthodox.

Actually miltha means much more than "word", the common Aramaic word for "word" is memra. Miltha means among other things: word, speech, message, manifestation and substance. So then what is Yeshua? The word, message, speech, manifestation or substance of God? He is ALL of these, John implied all these meanings simultaneously.

Yes there are some in the Aramaic primacy movement who are anti-Greek and have overboard theories :-(  , but some are lovely people. That some parts of the NT were originally written or verbally transmitted in Aramaic is quite clear by all the research evidenced on the peshitta sites

The best one of these sites is undoubtedly http://www.peshitta.org, the forum has real analysis of the NT texts and the best arguments for Aramaic primacy I've ever seen.

eg the proto-creed of 1 Timothy which is beautiful in Aramaic but a mess in the greek translation.

I assume you're referring 1 Timothy 3:16? Oh yes the Aramaic in that verse is a poetic masterpiece which is steeped in Jewish symbolizism so deep it puts the Zohar to shame, and it's not possible for it to have been translated from Greek. The Greek NT is great and worthy of veneration but it's only when I read the Peshitta when I'm truly in awe, because of all the poetry and mysticism the Greek NT could not preserve.

Orthodox scholarship is beginning to consider these issues. Especiallly some of us in the Antiochian jurisdiction since some can understand old Syriac.

in Christ,
Fr. John

Yes very true, I have met Orthodox Christians who are Aramaic primacists, including Greeks. And we should study these issues more in depth, and so I'd like to answer some of the other posts here:

The article link isn't working, but I'll ask these three questions:

1) The NT quotes of OT verses are clearly from the Septuagint. How can such similarity to the OT Greek be possible if the original manuscripts of the NT were not Greek?

Um, first we need to establish what a quote is. A quote copying word for word verbatim, is it not? The NT (whether Greek or Aramaic) hardly ever quotes the OT. Yeshua and the Apostles targumed (paraphrased) they did not quote. See this: http://www.peshitta.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1122.

Secondly the so called quotes from the LXX are open to interpretation because:

a) the LXX is translated from Hebrew and the Greek NT likewise also reads like something that was translated from a Semitic source.
b) scholars have noticed corrections in both LXX & Greek NT mss, eg: Codex Alexandrinus, so we don't actually know how close the 1st century Greek NT mss were to the 1st century LXX mss.
c) just because a statement in the NT agrees more with the LXX than the Masoretic Hebrew text, it does not mean
that Yeshua or the Apostles used the LXX. Again the LXX was translated from Hebrew, this more likely means that Yeshua & the Apostles were using the Hebrew text which was used to translate the LXX. See: http://www.bible.ca/b-canon-jesus-favored-old-testament-textual-manuscript.htm and: http://www.peshitta.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=706

2) What proof is there that all the NT writers spoke Aramaic?

All the NT writers, being from Palestine, were native Aramaic speakers, read the writings of Josephus who emphatically declares that Greek wasn't the "language of our country". The Apostle Paul may have been born in Tarsus but he by his own admission grew up in Jerusalem, at the feet of Gamaliel - the chief Rabbi of the school of Hillel, who was Hillel's grandson. Jewish boys started their Torah studies soon after they were weaned, this included studying Hebrew & Aramaic the Biblical and liturgical languages of the Jews. Paul was a Pharisee, even after his conversion he said "I am a Pharisee" not "I was a Pharisee" he was well versed in the Torah & Prophets as well as Jewish Halakha and liturgy. The only possible exception is Luke. By possible exception I mean that all we know about Luke is that he was from Syrian Antioch, which means he was either Greek or Syrian, he could very well have been a native Aramaic speaker as well, and the Peshitta certainly suggests this (from the style of writing). Also the Peshitta says that Titus and Timothy were Arameans not Greeks, and Josephus mentions 3 High Priests by the name of Theophilus, not their real name obviously.

3) What proof is their for the audience also spoeaing Aramaic, namely the Romans, Corinthians, and some other non-Jewish Greeks?

Here's the major difference between Aramaic primacists and Greek primacists. Greek primacists look at things from the audience perspective, Aramaic primacists look at things from the author's perspective:

The first churches were Jewish synagogues. The liturgical languages of ALL synagogues were (and still are) Hebrew and Aramaic, and ALL synagogue leaders (Rabbis & Chanters) know these two languages but not all the laity know them. The Rabbis and Chanters would read/chant the Biblical texts and then targum (interpret) them VERBALLY for the attendants, that's the way it's always been since the days of Ezra. Paul and the other Apostles did not need to write their Gospels and Epistles in Greek because they were not writing to the laity but to the clergy who knew their native language, and the clergy would then read them to their audience by verbally translating them into their native languages. Think about the Catholic Epistles for instance. When Patriarch Bartholomew writes an official letter to be sent to all the Orthodox Churches what language does he write it in? Russian, English? No he writes it in Greek, the liturgical language of the Orthodox Church. Don't you guys claim to be the original church founded by the Apostles? Where do you think your Patriarchs got this practice from? If your Patriarchs write their letters in the liturgical language then why assume different for the Apostles? Many of the early clergy in the 1st century were educated in Jerusalem, and traveled to Jerusalem every year for feast celebrations in the temple because they were originally Jewish Rabbis. Yes most of people in the Roman or Corinthian church couldn't understand Aramaic but there was always at least one person who could, and that who Paul and the other Apostles specifically wrote to.

Is there proof of the NT quoting the Aramaic OT? And where could I find info on this Aramaic OT?

The Aramaic New Testament quotes the Aramaic Old Testament just as the Greek New Testament quotes the Greek Old Testament.

The Peshitta NT does not quote the Peshitta OT, the Peshitta OT is in fact completely unrelated to the Peshitta NT. The Peshitta OT is very Mesopotamian, it contains many Persian loan words and that's what we would expect for a translation made by Babylonian Jews. The Peshitta NT on the other hand has many Greek loan words, which is exactly what we would expect from Palestinian Jews. There is another Aramaic OT version - the Targums, which IMO has more agreement with the Peshitta NT than the Peshitta OT, but again there are very few actual quotes in the NT.

One thing that just struck me: The Peshitta is written in Middle Syriac, specifically. Yet, Middle Syriac wasn't around at the time of Jesus, only Old Syriac was. Further, the Aramaic in the Greek NT is Old Jadaean...

I personally believe that the Peshitta NT is the "standardized" version of the original Aramaic NT much like the Masoretic Hebrew text, and the fact that it has a Masorah just like the Hebrew text suggests that this is true, there is no Masorah in the Greek NT tradition as far as I'm aware. I don't have time right now to go into specifics of how close the Peshitta Aramaic is to the Aramaic of the Apostles, but in any case it's still closer to what they spoke than Greek will ever be.

What language did Saint Paul speak? Why would the NT, written by Aramaic-speakers, for Aramaic-speakers, telling the stories of Aramaic-speakers, be written in Aramaic?   

But it wasn't written for Aramaic-speakers - it was written for the Christian communities that were mostly gentile converts in the Greek-speaking world.  The only book that could be speculated to have an Aramaic original text is the Gospel of Matthew, which was written for largely Jewish-Christian communities... but the others were not written for Aramaic speakers, and the way that the gospels approach Aramaic phrases and such is one indication of this.

Actually it was written mostly for Jewish converts though gentile converts were among them of course. What does a fresh convert from Greco-Roman paganism know about Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, the Sabbath, the Torah or the Temple?

Oh my goodness....

- It is even written in the Letters and the Acts, that Paul's message did not fall kindly on the ears of the Jewish people, but was rather accepted by those Gentiles who were sympathetic to the Hebrew faith.

Be careful here, not all Jews rejected the Gospel. 

Anyway, Jews in the diaspora spoke Greek, hence why Jews in the Diaspora needed the Septuagent translation.  It is therefore logical that the Gentile-converts to Judaism that became Christian would have letters written to them by Paul in Greek (and don't tell me Paul didn't know Greek - an educated tradesman living in the Gentile territories needed Greek, and Tarsus was in the Gentile lands).

Of course Paul knew Greek it says so in the Bible. As for the Jews in the diaspora use of the Septuagint, the Septuagint functioned as a written targum, it did not replace the authority of the Hebrew. The Rabbis still learnt the Hebrew, in Judaism you don't really know the Bible unless you know it in Hebrew, that's the way it's always been. Paul knew the Hebrew Scriptures as did leaders of the churches he wrote to.

- John wrote his Gospel, letters, and the Apocalypse on a Greek island, to a Greek Church, with a Greek scribe.  He wrote them well after the fall of the temple and the dispersion of the Jews into the Greek world.

And from here, I don't have the time or energy to continue the debate.

Again John is writing to church leaders who knew his language.

That's all I have time for for now.


Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #57 on: December 20, 2009, 11:34:45 AM »
since the Aramaic primacy has come up, I came across this:
The Syriac New Testament By George Anton Kiraz, James Murdock, Horace L. Hastings
http://books.google.com/books?id=_5IuQ1YXtgQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_similarbooks_s&cad=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

The problem Aramaic primacy has is that the Syriac text 1) isn't in Aramaic, 2) comes in several versions, which show a range of literal to free translation from Greek (for the NT, the OT shows relationships to the Targums too).
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #58 on: December 24, 2009, 12:51:19 PM »
What reason do we have to believe that Aramaic wasn't the language of the Gentiles as well?

Because ordinary people in Rome, Thessaloniki, Corinth, etc. would have spoken Greek. Look through Acts and you will see many standard Greek names. Why would people far outside of the Aramaic-speaking lands (the majority of Gentiles addressed in Scriptures) speak Aramaic?

Then there is the problem that SS. Paul, Mark and Luke have Greek names.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #59 on: December 24, 2009, 12:54:16 PM »
Why would people far outside of the Aramaic-speaking lands (the majority of Gentiles addressed in Scriptures) speak Aramaic?

"Seven dialects of Western Aramaic were spoken in Jesus' time. They were probably distinctive yet mutually intelligible. Old Judaean was the prominent dialect of Jerusalem and Judaea. The region of Engedi had the South-east Judaean dialect. Samaria had its distinctive Samaritan Aramaic, where the consonants 'he', 'heth' and '`ayin' all became pronounced as 'aleph'. Galilean Aramaic, the language of Jesus' home region, is only known from a few place names, the influences on Galilean Targumic, some rabbinic literature and a few private letters. It seems to have a number of distinctive features: diphthongs are never simplified into monophthongs. East of the Jordan, the various dialects of East Jordanian were spoken. In the region of Damascus and the Anti-Lebanon, Damascene Aramaic was spoken (deduced mostly from Modern Western Aramaic). Finally, as far north as Aleppo, the western dialect of Orontes Aramaic was spoken."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramaic#Middle_Aramaic

The question is not whether those in non-Aramaic speaking lands spoke Aramaic but whether the writers of the New Testament composed in their native language.



Evidently not, as Christ and the Apostles (remember, St. Peter's accent betrayed him?) spoke Galiean Aramaic.  If they wrote in it, we would have more knowledge of it from the NT.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline genesisone

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #60 on: December 24, 2009, 01:51:06 PM »
The question is not whether those in non-Aramaic speaking lands spoke Aramaic but whether the writers of the New Testament composed in their native language.
Evidently not, as Christ and the Apostles (remember, St. Peter's accent betrayed him?) spoke Galiean Aramaic.  If they wrote in it, we would have more knowledge of it from the NT.
I claim minimal knowledge, and certainly no expertise, on the linguistic situation of first century Christians. However, I am aware of a more modern example which seems a reasonable parallel. I lived in Paraguay for three years in the 80s. The local language - considered by many if not most Paraguayans to be their mother tongue - is Guarani. Spanish is usually learned later, though as a first language by those in certain social classes. Spanish is considered the language of learning, to be used in schools, business, government, etc. Most Paraguayans whom I knew were equally comfortable in either language. It was Guarani on the soccer field, but Spanish nearly always in written form. Most of my friends actually had difficulty reading Guarani, and other than short phrases were not likely to write it. In more recent years, there has been an effort to raise the literacy awareness of the Guarani language, and I understand that it is seeing some success. So it does seem reasonable to me that speakers of Aramaic - who were likely bi- or multi- lingual would use Greek for writing. Social pressures would have expected that.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #61 on: December 24, 2009, 02:19:27 PM »
The following is from the introduction to the Lamsa Bible:

"The Israelites never wrote their sacred literature in any language but Aramaic and Hebrew, which are sister languages.

They wrote Maccabbees in Greek (ironic, no?).  And Sirach's grandson states his reasons for translating Sirach's work into Greek.  Never say never.


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The Septuagint was made in the 3rd century, B.C., for the Alexandrian Jews. This version was never officially read by the Jews in Palestine who spoke Aramaic and read Hebrew.

I"ve dealt with the use of Greek in the Holy Land elsewhere.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23670.msg362142.html#msg362142

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Instead, the Jewish authorities condemned the work and declared a period of mourning because of the defects in the version.

There is such a claim in the Talmud, the same work that condemns Christ.  But there is also the interpretation that it fulfilled the prophecy that Japheth would live in Shem's tents.

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Evidently Jesus and his disciples used a text which came from an older Hebrew original.

We know that He used an Aramaic Targum.

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This is apparent because Jesus' quotations from the Old Testament agree with the Peshitta text but do not agree with the Greek text. For example, in John 12:40, the Peshitta Old Testament and New Testament agree. This is not all. Jesus and his disciples not only could not converse in Greek but they never heard it spoken...

on what can such a claim be made?  (btw, I know that matthew might not answer, but there are plenty of the like minded here the last week).  If nothing else, the fact that the Gospels recored the sign of the Cross being in Greek would belie such a claim.

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...The Gospels, as well as the Epistles, were written in Aramaic, the language of the Jewish people, both in Palestine and in the Greco-Roman Empire.

any proof of Aramaic outside of the Aramaic speaking world (e.g. Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, etc.) as we have plenty of proof that they spoke Greek (e.g. the Greek inscriptions in the Jewish catacombs of Rome).

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Greek was never the language of Palestine.

The Roman authorities seem to have thought differently, all 8 centuries or so that they were there.


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Josephus' book on the Jewish Wars was written in Aramaic.


Anyone else know of this claim, which contradicts what Josephus says, let alone it being in Greek.


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Josephus states that even though a number of Jews had tried to learn the language of the Greeks, hardly any of them succeeded.

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Could also be just a projection of his own inadequacies.  We have plenty of evidence of Greek speaking Jews.

Josephus wrote (42 A.D.): "I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language; although I have so accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness. For our nation does not encourage those that learn the language of many nations. On this account, as there have been many who have done their endeavors, with great patience, to obtain this Greek learning, there have yet hardly been two or three that have succeeded herein, who were immediately rewarded for their pains." Antiquities XX, XI 2.

Indeed, the teaching of Greek was forbidden by Jewish rabbis.

The Talmud itself witnesses that this wasn't obeyed.

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It was said that it was better for a man to give his child meat of swine than to teach him the language of the Greeks...

When we come to the New Testament, the new Covenant, we must not forget that Christianity grew out of Judaism. The Christian gospel was another of God's messages, first to the Jewish people and then to the Gentile world. For several centuries, the Christian movement was directed and guided by the Jews. All of the apostles and the evangelists were Jewish. These facts are strongly supported by the gospels and history.

The Pauline Epistles were letters written by Paul to small Christian congregations in Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. These early Christians were mostly Jews of the dispersion, men and women of Hebrew origin who had been looking for the coming of the promised Messiah whose coming was predicted by the Hebrew prophets who had hailed him as a deliverer...

Jesus and his disciples spoke the Galilean dialect of Aramaic, the language which the early Galileans had brought from the other side of the river Euphrates.

The Galileans were....from Galilee.  Not Mesopotamia.  And the dialect in Galilee was not a Mesopotamian dialect.

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2 Kings 17:22-25. Mark tells us in his Gospel, 14:70 that Peter was exposed by his Galilean Aramaic speech.

Paul, in all of his Epistles, emphasizes Hebrew law, Jewish ordinances and temple rituals. He refers to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "our fathers." In his letters and teaching he appeals to the Jewish people to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. Paul's mission was first to his own people. When they refused to listen to him, he shook his garment and went out among the Gentiles.

who wouldn't be speaking Aramaic in Pisidia.


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Acts 18:6. Paul preached the Christian gospel written in Aramaic.

you are assuming that:Acts doesn't say so. And the Gentiles in Corinth wouldn't be speaking Aramaic either.


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His Epistles were written years later when Christianity had spread into Syria and parts of the Near East and India. In other words, the Pauline Epistles were letters addressed to the Christian churches already established.

Yes, but not to Churches in Syria, the Near East or India, but Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica and other Greek speaking areas.



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Moreover, Paul, in nearly all of his Epistles, speaks of the Hebrew fathers, subjugation in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, eating manna, and wandering in the desert. This proves beyond a doubt that these letters were written to members of the Hebrew race and not to the Gentile world who knew nothing of Hebrew history and divine promises made to them. The Greeks had not been persecuted in Egypt nor did they cross the Red Sea, nor did they eat manna in the desert.

But they did read the LXX, which did result in many conversions and the rise of the group known as the θεοφοβείς/φοβουμενοι τον θεον "God-fearers," who appear in Acts.

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Paul was educated in Jewish law in Jerusalem. He was a member of the Jewish Council. His native language was western Aramaic

His native language, in Tarsus, was Greek, that source of his Roman citizenship he makes much of.


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but he acquired his education through Hebrew and Chaldean or Palestinian Aramaic, the language spoken in Judea.

He was also educated in Greek because he quotes there poets.

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He defended himself when on trial in his own tongue and not in Greek. Acts 22:2.

There he addresses the mob, not his trial.  And the text makes him speaking Aramaic seem exceptional enough to mention.

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Paul was converted, healed, and baptized in Damascus in Syria. Acts 9:17,18.

The Epistles were translated into Greek for the use of converts who spoke Greek.

Since, except Hebrews, they are addressed to Greek speaking Churches, it would make sense that they were written in Greek, their lingua franca.


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Later they were translated into Latin and other tongues..."
http://aramaicnttruth.org/downloads...Lamsaintro1.htm
like Syriac. ;)
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #62 on: December 24, 2009, 03:30:35 PM »
Apparently, the oldest manuscript of the New Testament is in Aramaic:

"Among the treasures on view by the public when the renovated QCC Art Gallery reopens in October will be the Khaburis Codex. The Khaburis Manuscript, according to Reverend Deaconess Nancy Witt, PT, MSW, MSJ and Abbott Gerrit Crawford, PhD, MSJ of the Western-Rite Syrian Orthodox Church in America, is a copy of a second century New Testament, which was written in approximately 165 AD (internally documented as 100 years after the great persecution of the Christians by Nero, in 65 AD). Carbon dating has found this copy of the New Testament to be approximately 1,000 years old. Given its origins, this would make it a copy of the oldest known New Testament manuscript. It was scribed on lamb parchment and hand bound between olive wood covers adorned with gold clasps, hinges and corner-brackets. The scribe would have been in ancient Nineveh (present-day Mosul, Iraq), according to the Colophon signed by a bishop of the Church at Nineveh. In the Colophon, the bishop certified (with his inverted signature and seal) that the Khaburis was a faithful copy of the second century original. Of particular interest, is the fact that the Khaburis is written entirely in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus of Nazareth... "
http://www.qgazette.com/news/2004/0804/features/001.html

The Khabouris is written in Syriac, not Aramaic, and not the language Christ spoke.  A document totally in Syriac is not exceptional: there are thousands.

The collophon is not legible enough for me to comment on the claims made for it.  Except that the language not being archaic or otherwise showing signs of being from the 2nd century casts doubts on those claims.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #63 on: December 24, 2009, 03:53:45 PM »
I'm not sure about the scholarship here.. not that it is necessarily bad, but I haven't checked it at all..

http://www.dtl.org/bible/article/language/part_one.htm

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However, Luke, the writer of two NT books (the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts) was most likely a Gentile. Luke's writings were directed towards "most excellent Theophilus." This is a Greek name and title for a person of rank in the Roman government (see Acts 23:26; 24:30). So Theophilus was most likely a Gentile who spoke Greek.

Theophilos was also a High Priest of the 1st century, and attested by epigraphy in the Holy Land, whose Greek name doesn't help Aramaic primacy:
http://books.google.com/books?id=I6-JGAW2jjoC&pg=PA89&dq=High+priesthood+Theophilos&cd=1#v=onepage&q=High%20priesthood%20Theophilos&f=false
The Cambridge History of Judaism, Volume 2

Btw, Judaism in Late antiquity: The literary and archaeological sources By Jacob Neusner
http://books.google.com/books?id=azrc9jU4YaUC&dq=High+priesthood+Theophilos&source=gbs_navlinks_s
makes the claim that Greek replacing Aramaic as the lingua franca led to the fragmentation of Aramaic, as spekers across regions would speak Greek.  Syriac had to arise and assert itself, which it did, and displace Greek as a lingua franca in the East.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
« Reply #64 on: December 24, 2009, 04:19:42 PM »
Contrary to what some may believe, Luke was a Syrian and not a Greek and therefore, would have spoke Aramaic as his native language.

Then why the Greek name?  According to the record, he was from Antioch, a very Greek city in Syria.



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Mark's first language was most likely Aramaic

St. Mark was from Cyrenaica, where Aramaic was not spoken.  His kinsman St. Barnabas was from Cyprus, were Aramaic was also not spoken.  In both places, the dominant language was Greek.

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and he recorded the testimony of Peter, a fellow Aramaic-speaker.

He wrote in Rome, where the dominanat language was Greek, and later preached in Egypt, where the dominant/official language was Greek, although Aramaic was not unknown further up the Nile.

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Paul's epistles were originally written in his own language and then translated into the Greek.

The language of Tarsus, his hometown, was Greek.


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There is both textual and historical evidence for the Aramaic origin of the New Testament. The rules of logic would cause one to wonder why the Greek is so widely accepted as the original.

Uh, the weight of the evidence.

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For the "camel through the eye of a needle", I've heard some scholars share that the phrase "eye of a needle" was considered a place, not an actual literal thing.

""Split Words" are a distinctive subsection of mistranslations. Sometimes it appears that a word in Aramaic with two (or more) distinct and different meanings appears to have been translated in the wrong sense, or even translated both ways in different Greek sources.

Perhaps the most well known is the translation from Greek: "camel through the eye of a needle." In Aramaic, the word used for "camel" would be extremely similar to that for a certain type of "rope", suggesting that the correct phrase was "rope through the eye of a needle." making the hyperbole more symmetrical."
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Online_Version/articles/whatisaramaicprimacy_wiki.htm
This is correct
« Last Edit: December 24, 2009, 04:28:59 PM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth