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Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by agedman, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    This from here: Did the Messiah Speak Aramaic or Hebrew? (Part 1) by E.A.Knapp

    Upon closer inspection of the ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, however, every supposed reference to “Aramaic” above actually has some form of the word Εβραιστι which unequivocally means “Hebrew.” Not Συριστι “Aramaic,” which we find in other places in the Bible such as Dan 2:4 (in the Greek OT). In fact, the word Συριστι never appears in the New Testament. The Aramaic language by name simply is not mentioned. This is a case where our translators tried to “help us out” because they were swept along in the wave of conventional wisdom which for many years took for granted that Hebrew couldn’t possibly have been a living language at the time of Jesus.

    In fairness to the translators, many were probably confused by the New Testament’s repeated mentions of “Hebrew” which didn’t seem compatible with passages like Jesus’ words on the cross (“Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani” – “My G-d my G-d, why have you forsaken me?”) which are in Aramaic. We will come back to this instance and others like it in the second installment of this series. Undoubtedly adding to the confusion of the translators was the appearance of place names with Aramaic forms such as “Golgotha” which John calls Εβραιστι, Hebrew. At first glance this might lead one to think that Εβραιστι is being loosely used to refer to Aramaic rather than actual Hebrew, even though this assumption is counterintuitive. What is actually going on in the case of place names like “Golgotha” is that these terms have undergone the same absorption into Hebrew that place names like San Diego have in English. As a linguist recently explained, “as names, John has every right to call them Hebrew, just like I can write about the English name San Diego (from Santiago, Sant Yago, aka. Giacommo, James, from Sant Yakobos, from Ya`aqov).”

    The simple truth is that the New Testament authors repeatedly and specifically mention people speaking Hebrew because people really were speaking Hebrew. Most or all of the New Testament authors cited also knew Aramaic, and they most certainly knew the difference between Hebrew and Aramaic. The least we can do is take them at their word when they say people were using Hebrew.

    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Greek and Hebrew would have been the dominant languages of that time in that culture, but Aramaic was still the mother tongue of Jesus I think, and that is why we have those times when He reverted back to thatin Gospels!
     
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  3. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Active Member
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    Jesus was at least trilingual
     
  4. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    Randall Buth some years back presented a paper on some 2000+ publicly taught rabbinic parables that showed virtually all such to have been delivered in Hebrew rather than Aramaic. This obviously has pertinence to Jesus' own use of parables in his public teaching and may well extend into other types of teaching.
     
  5. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Daniel 2:4 The wise men replied to the king: [What follows is in Aramaic11] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its interpretation.”

    11sn Contrary to common belief, the point here is not that the wise men (Chaldeans) replied to the king in the Aramaic language, or that this language was uniquely the language of the Chaldeans. It was this view that led in the past to Aramaic being referred to as “Chaldee.” Aramaic was used as a lingua franca during this period; its origins and usage were not restricted to the Babylonians. Rather, this phrase is better understood as an editorial note (cf. NAB) marking the fact that from 2:4b through 7:28 the language of the book shifts from Hebrew to Aramaic. In 8:1, and for the remainder of the book, the language returns to Hebrew. Various views have been advanced to account for this change of language, most of which are unconvincing. Most likely the change in language is a reflection of stages in the transmission history of the book of Daniel.

    The NET scholars certainly agree, many if not all the times "Aramaic" appears in the NT, it really means "Hebrew." See John 5:2 for example.
     
  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Are you saying by tranmission stages that it was not done at same time, or that was recorded down much latter then actual events?
     
  7. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Am I saying? The footnote is from the NET. Yet another question from the person who ignores questions, stubbornly not treating others the way he wants to be treated.

    Here is what I said: The NET scholars certainly agree, many if not all the times "Aramaic" appears in the NT, it really means "Hebrew." See John 5:2 for example.

    The question that should come to mind, is if the Greek says "Hebrew" why did the NET go with Aramaic? As the OP indicated, the Hebrew language "absorbed" the Aramaic place names, just like San Diego is the "English" name of great city to my south.
     
    #7 Van, Mar 27, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  8. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    However that isn’t the argument of the article quoted.
    That the words translated “Aramaic” do not occur in the originals.

    Is that thinking supportable?

    That is the question of this thread.

    To explore and discern the article in light of scriptures.
     
  9. Origen

    Origen Active Member

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    These may prove helpful on the topic.

    Paul Ellingworth in The Bible Translator.

    "Hebrew or Aramaic?"

    The Bible Translator

    "Discussion Hebrew or Aramaic?"
    The Bible Translator

    Sorry I could not find a pdf.
     
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  10. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Which seems to agree with the article cited in the OP.
     
  11. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    I took from the first article that they present that Hebrew was more commonly used by the people and the translation should state "Hebrew" rather than "Aramaic."

    Then the article turns around and later states just the opposite.

    Perhaps it is my pitiful reading.

    I haven't accessed the second article.
     
  12. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    On a more personal level, perhaps I lean far more toward Hebrew than Aramaic. Here is a bit of my thinking. Not that my thinking is worthy of your acceptance, for it is not.

    It is my impression that when folks write that have a target audience and that the style of writing conforms to that audience. If I write a love note to my wife, I certainly wouldn't want such stated in the typical formal business terms. And the same should be considered concerning the NT writings.

    Luke's writing was to a person, Theophilus, and the writing is an extensive two-part account of the ministry and early growth of the church. These writings are typical of a more formal documentary, and therefore a higher level of word choice would be expected.

    The other gospel writings, as well as the Revelation, would also follow along the lines of a formal documentary style.

    The letters could be considered written to a close partner in a business relationship in which business is matters are determined yet personal care and concern are not excluded but often placed in terms of encouraging the partner to a higher level of productivity.

    The exclusions of this are the highly personal letters to Timothy, Philemon, and Titus. These are quite informal and are more like two buddies sharing on the job and the responsibilities that come from the care of the workplace and productivity.

    Now all that held, it would (imo) be very unlikely for the use of the term Aramaic to fit. Aramaic is more like a dialect rather than a developed language such as Hebrew, Greek, Latin. A dialect used by commerce such as what bankers, lawyers, architects... might use in which the common people would recognize as a flexible and changeable form. Sort of like how one might consider "pot" or "grass" or "bowl" or any number of other words in our common language. The Scriptures would never (imo) allow for such language as could assume corrupted word forms. For example, "gulgulta" (Aramaic) is ASSUMED to be corrupted by the writers to "Galgatha" - but neither Hebrew or Aramaic terms really fit. It is as if one from New Jersey met a west Texas and they had a friendly conversation about Pecos when the other is using pesos.

    So, because I choose to consider God is one of precision, I really would rather land upon the ground in which is much firmer than that provided by the Aramaic. It just is reasonable that the style of the writers would submit the Hebrew rather than the Aramaic.

    Whether that is actually the case is the cause of this thread.
     
  13. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    Agedman: "It is as if one from New Jersey met a west Texas and they had a friendly conversation about Pecos when the other is using pesos."

    I remember a West Texan archeologist reporting on a dig in Israel mentioning that "there were a lot of Cohens there." Not surprising, thought most of the audience, since Jews usually participated on such digs — until he explained they were Roman, Greek, and even Egyptian "co-ins" of different values....
     
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  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I think the ones in Daniel were originally there, as were the sayings of the Lord Jesus!
     
  15. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    In the article, the statements of the NT are actually Aramaic.

    I don’t recall if the article mentions Daniel. I’ll have to go back and look.
     
  16. Origen

    Origen Active Member

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    In 2 Kings 18:26, Ezra 4:7, Isaiah 36:11 and Daniel 2:4 the term used is אֲרָמִית (= Aramaic).

    The article cites Isaiah 36:11-14 which I find interesting. Note the word "Hebrew" in bold.

    11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."
    12 But the commander replied, "Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the men sitting on the wall--who, like you, will have to eat their own filth and drink their own urine?"
    13 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!
    14 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you!

    The point is the word there is not the word "Hebrew." The text literally states: "Judaean\Judahite" (the language of Judah = יְהוּדִית). In fact no place in the Old Testament is the language referred to as "Hebrew," however the "language of Judah" is mentioned six times (2 Kings 18:26, 28; 2 Chr. 32:18; Neh. 13:24; Isa. 36:11, 13).

    There is also this very intesesting verse from Isa. 19:18.

    "In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD of hosts." (literally "lip of Canaan" = שָׂפָת כְּנַעַן).
     
  17. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    However the article in the OP pertains to the NT not old, doesn’t it?
     
  18. Origen

    Origen Active Member

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    I am merely pointing out something I noticed in the article and found interesting.
     
    #18 Origen, Apr 1, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
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