Talk:Jesus/Languages Spoken by Jesus

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I've started this subpage for us to gather scholarly citations on the languages Biblical scholars and historians believe Jesus spoke. --CTSWyneken 15:38, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Maurice Casey

Maurice Casey. Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. p. 65.

Mark's use of Aramaic words suggests that everyone knew that Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Greek... --CTSWyneken 00:43, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

John P. Meier

John P. Meier. A Marginal Jew New York: Doubleday, 1991.

[it is] likely that Jesus could both read the Hebrew Scriptures and engage in disputes about their meaning...Aramaic, the language he usually spoke." 1:278.--CTSWyneken 17:24, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

"There is no reason to believe that Jesus knew or used Latin, the language employed almost exclusively by the Roman conquerors. It is likely that he knew and used some Greek for business purposes or general communication with Gentiles, including perhaps Pilate at his trial. But neither his occupation as a woodworker in Nazareth nor his Galilean itinerary, restricted to strongly Jewish towns and villages, would demand a fluency in and regular use of Greek. There is thus no reason to think that Jesus regularly taught the crowds who flocked to him in Greek. As for Hebrew, Jesus would have learned it in the Nazareth synagogue or a nearby school, and he probably used it at times when debating Scripture with Pharisees or scribes. Yet, as a teacher who directed himself to the mass of ordinary Jewish peasants, whose everyday language was Aramaic, Jesus almost necessarily spoke to and taught his coreligionists in Aramaic, some traces of which remain embedded in the text of our Greek Gospels. To be more precise, Jeremias identifies Jesus' Aramaic as a Galilean version of western Aramaic, distinct in some words and usages from the Aramaic spoken in Judea." p.266-267
"that Jesus regularly and perhaps exclusively taught in Aramaic, his Greek being of a practical, business type, and perhaps rudimentary to boot. In a q­rilingual country, Jesus may indeed have been a trilingual Jew; but he was probably not a trilingual teacher." p.268--Andrew c 18:26, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

David Wenham

David Wenham. Paul and Jesus: The True Story Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002. p. 7

It is likely that Jesus and the twelve apostles mainly spoke Aramaic (though the probably also spoke Greek and perhaps Hebrew and Latin as well)--CTSWyneken 00:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Geza Vermes

Geza Vermes. Jesus the Jew. New York: Macmillan, 1973. p. 53

Although the subject of precise dialectal differences is complex and still under debate, there can be little doubt that Jesus himself spoke Galilean Aramaic, the language that is to say, surviving in the popular and somewhat more recent paraphrase of the Pentateuch, the Palestinian Targum, and in the Talmud of Palestine. --Andrew c 01:36, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Robert W. Funk and the Jesus Seminar

Robert W. Funk and the Jesus Seminar. The Acts of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco: 1998.

"Jesus' native tongue was a dialect of Aramaic current in Galilee that Judeans apparently could distinguish from their own form of speech, as suggested by Matthew's accoount of the confrontation with Peter in the couryard during Jesus' trial (Matt 26:73). The Gospel of Mark attributes several Aramaic expressions to Jesus (5:41, 7:34, 14:36, 15:34). We do not know whether Jesus could read and write; the story of Jesus in the synagogue reading from Isaiah (Luke 4:16-30) may well be a fiction invented by Luke, the author of the third gospel. [skip discussion on the adulterous woman] We do not know whether Jesus knew Hebrew, in his day only a literary language. There is now evidence that suggests he may have been bilingual; Greek was probably his second language, learned from the pagan environment that surrounded him in Galilee, especially in the Sepphoris, a Hellenistic city located only four miles from his home village. In any case, the written gospels were all composed in Greek... if Jesus did not speak Greek, very few of his original words have come down to us."--Andrew c 18:33, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Joachim Jeremias

I would like to direct your attention to the German Joachim Jeremias. One of his great contributions was to translate the Greek logia of Jesus back into Aramaic. And what came out of it? A lot of the sayings showed themselves to be in perfect semitic rhyme AND meter. So what we read in Greek as prose, turned out as poetry in Aramaic -and striking poetry at that. In my opinion this is better demonstration of Jesus' native language than most sociolingvistic historical argument. Respectfully, T.H., Norway