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The Investigation into what Language Jesus Spoke

 

By: Abdul-Rahman (Brent) Klimaszewski
(He is a new convert to Islam)

 

 

 

 

1)  What language (or languages) did Jesus (PBUH) speak this is such an important question.  Also it is extremely important to hypothesis not only what language (or languages) Jesus could speak, but ALSO how knowledgeable and fluent the historical Jesus would be in the department of language.

 

Lets begin with this:  “Most scholars believe that Jesus probably primarily spoke Aramaic with some Hebrew and at least a limited grasp of Greek. Generally, scholars believe that the towns of Nazareth and Capernaum where Jesus lived were Aramaic-speaking communities, that he was knowledgeable enough in Hebrew to discuss the Hebrew Bible, and that he might have known some Greek through commerce as a carpenter in nearby Sepphoris. Accordingly, Jesus is believed to have addressed primarily Aramaic-speaking audiences.”

(From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramaic_of_Jesus).

 

(A quick note a few desperate, fake, pseudo-historians try to allege Jesus spoke Latin the following clearly destroys that thinking)

 

“Latin may quickly be eliminated from consideration. Latin was used almost exclusively by Roman officials, who had only recently introduced the tongue. The Romans would have written inscriptions on public buildings without regard for the ability of most Jews to read them. Notably, almost all of the known Latin inscriptions were situated in and around Caesarea Maritima and Jerusalem—the seats of imperial power, not Galilean villages.”

(From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus).

 

 

 

Some information on Modern Aramaic

Neo-Aramaic:

“Neo-Aramaic, or Modern Aramaic, languages are varieties of Aramaic that are spoken as a mother tongue in the modern era. The term strictly excludes those Aramaic languages that are used only as literary, sacred or classical languages today (for example, Targumic Aramaic, Classical Syriac and Classical Mandaic). However, these classical languages continue to have influence over the colloquial, Neo-Aramaic languages.

The group of Neo-Aramaic languages is not uniform; it grew out of pockets of Aramaic-speaking communities that have held fast to their language through the changes of past centuries. Therefore, the dialect continuum is incomplete, with many varieties absent. Mutual intelligibility between the varieties of the group is limited to closest neighbours only. However, many of the varieties share features that have developed in parallel from Middle Aramaic varieties and the classical languages.

Throughout the history of the Aramaic language, a clear dialect boundary dividing western and eastern varieties has existed, running transversely across the Syrian Desert from southeast to northwest. Eastern Aramaic has remained dominant throughout history, and all classical languages are eastern varieties. Only Western Neo-Aramaic, spoken in Ma`loula and surrounding villages in the Anti-Lebanon, remains as a witness to western varieties.

The other Neo-Aramaic languages are all eastern varieties, but with little homogeneity. Most distinct in this group is Modern Mandaic, which has low intelligibility with other varieties. It is the direct descendant of Classical Mandaic, which traces its roots back to the Persian-influenced Aramaic of the Arsacid Empire. Modern Mandaic is spoken by about a hundred people mostly in Ahvaz, Iran, all of whom are Mandaeans.

The other Eastern Neo-Aramaic languages have a lot more in common with each other. Some studies have labelled this group Central Neo-Aramaic (however, that name is also used for a smaller sub-grouping) or Northern Neo-Aramaic. These languages can be divided in various ways. Sometimes they are divided by religion into Jewish and Christian varieties. However, there is not complete intelligibility throughout either religious community, and on occasion better intelligibility across the religious divide. From this group, the Christian varieties of the extreme north west of Mesopotamia Central Neo-Aramaic (confusingly different from the definition above) — stand apart. This sub-grouping is witnessed by Turoyo and, the now extinct, Mlahsö, both influenced by Classical Syriac. The other varieties, both Jewish and Christian, form the largest sub-grouping of Neo-Aramaic, which is usually referred to as Northeastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA). Christian NENA varieties are influenced by Classical Syriac, but to a lesser degree than Central Neo-Aramaic; Jewish NENA varieties are influenced by Targumic Aramaic. (From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Aramaic_languages)”

 

This information details that Modern Aramaic is, to but it simply, A WHOLE BUNCH of different languages under one large umbrella, with little understanding between the different Modern day “Aramaic” speaking groups.

 

With all these different Modern languages claiming to be under this umbrella of Modern day “Aramaic” it is clear that the Aramaic language Jesus spoke is DEAD.

 

“The 2004 film The Passion of the Christ is notable for its use of much dialogue in Aramaic only, specially reconstructed by a lone scholar, William Fulco. However, modern Aramaic speakers found the language stilted and unfamiliar.”

(From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramaic).

 

So this is even more proof that the Aramaic spoken in the time of Jesus is DEAD in our Modern world.  This important because if Jesus spoke Aramaic as his MAIN language all his teachings would be CONCRETE and TRUE only in Aramaic, The Injil was revealed to Jesus (PBUH) from Almighty Allah in the language of Aramaic.  This is just like the Noble Qur’an, Allah (SWT) revealed the Noble Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the language of Arabic.  So of course the Noble Qur’an is ONLY the TRUE Word of God in the language Allah (SWT) revealed it in and that is Arabic.

 

 

2)  Jesus and the Greek language:

Jesus (PBUH) date of birth is debate, with almost everything concerning him in the judeo-christian world, the earliest estimate for Jesus’ birth is around 6 BCE and the latest suggestion is around 6 CE.

 

Religious agreement says that Jesus (PBUH) was born and lived in Palestine (believed to have lived in the towns Nazareth and Capernaum: these towns believed to have been Aramaic speaking) as recorded earlier most scholars believe Jesus’ birth tongue and MAIN language was Aramaic, his 2nd strongest language (of course WE HAVE NO Hard proof as to if Jesus was truly bilingual or if he was to what extend of fluency ) was likely Hebrew, and some scholars believe Jesus had a limited grasp of Greek from his work as a carpenter.

 

It is common for pagan christians to look toward 300s BCE Palestine and see the Greek spoke and say that the language of the Greeks must have come into common Jewish knowledge.  This is not true or supported by history.  Their was LOTS of internal strife between the jewish people.  After Alexander the Great conquered so much land, included Palestine, Greek society and culture began to be introduced to the jewish people.  However, a strong segment of the jews fought this foreign Greek culture and they stood strong defending their traditional jewish culture and society.

 

This jewish revolt is detailed here:

“In 167 BC, a Jewish priest, Mattathias, started the revolt against the Seleucid overlords of Judea by refusing to worship the Greek gods and slaying the Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to worship an idol. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea. After Mattathias' death about one year later, his son Judas Maccabaeus led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucids. After the victory, he entered Jerusalem in triumph and religiously cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there.

Allegations were later made that the victorious Maccabees conducted brutal reprisals against Hellenized Jews.

Every year Jews celebrate Hanukkah in commemoration of Judas Maccabeus' victory over the Seleucids. (From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabean_revolt). 

 

So in this revolt the jews pushed out the Seleucid rulers and entered Jerusalem and cleansed the Temple to refresh and “reestablish” traditional Jewish worship there.  So obviously Jews did not just sit and let Greek culture and society overtake then, NO they fought back and in this case of the jews defeated the Seleucids and came back to Jerusalem and cleansed their Temple.  This the Jews fought for Jewish culture and society.  Religion would have been of utmost importance to these Jewish people including the Jewish religious language of Hebrew.  They likely deplored the foreign pagan language of Greek.

 

Next lets quickly view the subject of the Septuagint

The Septuagint (or simply "LXX") is the name commonly given in the West to the ancient, Koine Greek version of the Old Testament translated in stages between the 3rd to 1st century BC in Alexandria. It is the oldest of several ancient translations from the Hebrew Bible into Greek.

 

 The sources of the many differences between the Septuagint and the Masoretic text have long been discussed by scholars. The most widely accepted view today is that the Septuagint provides a reasonably accurate record of an early Semitic textual variant, now lost, that differed from ancestors of the Masoretic text.

 

The differences between the LXX and the MT thus fall into four categories.

I) Different Hebrew sources for the MT and the LXX. Evidence of this can be found throughout the Old Testament. Most obvious are major differences in Jeremiah and Job, where the LXX is much shorter and chapters appear in different order than in the MT, and Esther where almost one third of the verses in the LXX text have no parallel in the MT. A more subtle example may be found in Isaiah 36.11; the meaning ultimately remains the same, but the choice of words evidences a different text. The MT reads "...al tedaber yehudit be-'ozne ha`am al ha-homa" [speak not the Judean language in the ears of (or - which can be heard by) the people on the wall]. The same verse in the LXX reads according to the translation of Breton "and speak not to us in the Jewish tongue: and wherefore speakest thou in the ears of the men on the wall." The MT reads "people" where the LXX reads "men". This difference is very minor and does not affect the meaning of the verse. Scholars at one time had used discrepancies such as this to claim that the LXX was a poor translation of the Hebrew original. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, variant Hebrew texts of the Bible were found. In fact this verse is found in Qumran (1QIsaa) where the Hebrew word "haanashim" (the men) is found in place of "haam" (the people). This discovery, and others like it, showed that even seemingly minor differences of translation could be the result of variant Hebrew source texts.

II) Differences in interpretation stemming from the same Hebrew text. A good example is Genesis 4.7 shown above.

III) Differences as a result of idiomatic translation issues (i.e. a Hebrew idiom may not easily translate into Greek, thus some difference is intentionally or unintentionally imparted). For example, in Psalm 47:10 the MT reads "The shields of the earth belong to God". The LXX reads "To God are the mighty ones of the earth." The metaphor "shields" would not have made much sense to a Greek speaker; thus the words "mighty ones" are substituted in order to retain the original meaning.

IV) Transmission changes in Hebrew or Greek (Diverging revisional/rescentional changes and copyist errors)

 

What this makes evident is that the Jews in Palestine (aka commonly called Judah or Israel) were NOT walking around speaking Greek.  They loved their Jewish religion and Jewish culture.  The Corrupted Old Testament translation called the Septuagint has NUMEROUS ERRORS and INCONSISTENCES due to it’s translation from Hebrew to Greek.  If the text couldn’t have been translated NEARLY perfectly the Jews obviously were NOT fluent in both Hebrew and Greek.  I think we all know if they were fluent in ANY language it MUST BE THE HONORED and BELOVED language of the Jewish people Hebrew.

 

Some More Details

“Christian writers try to cover this Grave Defect by saying that in the times of Jesus the language in general use was Greek as you do. This is impossible for more reasons than one. 

Nations do not easily give up their language. It is for them as valuable an inheritance as any property or other possession. In Eastern Europe, there are people who for three or four hundred years have lived under Russian rule, but their languages remain intact to this day.

France and Spain have ruled over Morocco and Algeria for a long time. Yet the language of these former subjected people is still Arabic. Two thousand years have passed since the time of Jesus. Yet the Jews have not forgotten their language.

Even today, in parts of Europe and America, Jews speak "Yiddish", a corrupt form of ancient Hebrew. If this long lapse of time spent amongst other peoples has not destroyed the Jewish language, then Roman rule in Palestine which had begun only about 50 years before the advent of Jesus was not long enough for a people to forget their language. But there are other important considerations also to be kept in view:

1. Nations which attain to any importance in history do not give up their language, and the Jews were a very important people indeed.

2. The religion of the Jews was recorded in Hebrew and for this reason particularly it was impossible for them to give up their language.

3. In the scale of civilization and refinement, the Jews did not regard themselves as inferior to the Romans, rather they felt Superior and this must have made them proud of their language and reluctant to give it up.

4. The Jews entertained hopes for the return of their political power; nations which fear the future become pessimistic and therefore tend to lose pride in their language. But the Jews in the time of Jesus were awaiting the advent of their King who was to re-establish Jewish rule. Looking forward to such a future, they could not have been so negligent in protecting their language.

5. Jewish authors of that time wrote in their own language or in some corrupt form of it. If their language had changed, we should have had books of the time written in a language other than Hebrew.

6. The oldest manuscripts of the New Testament are in Greek. But in the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire had not become divided into two halves. The center of the Empire was still Rome. The Roman and Greek languages are very difficult. If Roman influence had at all penetrated Jewish life, it should have resulted in the assimilation of Latin (and not Greek) words into the Hebrew language. Yet the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels are all in Greek. This proves that the Gospels were written down at a time when the Roman Empire had become divided and its eastern possession had become part of the Greek Empire, so that the Greek language had begun to exert its influence on Christianity and its literature.

7. Phrases such as the following which are preserved in the Gospels in their original form are all Hebrew phrases:

(a) "Hossana" - Matthew 21:9 (b) "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani" - Matthew 27:46 (c) "Rabbi" - John 3:2 (d) "Talitha cumi" - Mark 5:41

From the Acts, it appears that even after the crucifixion Jews spoke Hebrew:

"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold are not all these which speak Galilaeans ? And how hear we, every man in our own tongue, where in we were born ? Parthians and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia,and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and in strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this ? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine." (Acts 2:3-13)

It is evident that at this time the language spoken in Palestine was Hebrew. Speaking any other language was extraordinary. Among the names mentioned is Rome, which means that the Roman language was not spoken in Palestine and whoever spoke it seemed a stranger. 

We are not concerned here with the merits of the narrative but we only wish to point out that this passage from the Acts proves conclusively that even after the crucifixion the language of the Jews was Hebrew. Those who knew other languages were exceptions. When some of the disciples spoke these other languages - among them Latin. Some people thought they were drunk and talking nonsense. If the country as a whole used Roman or Greek. no such reaction would be possible.

It is clear, therefore, that the language which Jesus and his disciples spoke was Hebrew, not Latin or Greek. So copies of the New Testament written down in Latin or Greek must have been written down long after the time of Jesus, at a time when Christianity had begun to penetrate into Roman territory and Roman imperialist power had become divided into the Italian and Greek Parts. Books of this kind, composed 100 or 200 years after Jesus by unknown authors and attributed by them to Jesus and his disciples, can be of little use to any believer today. It was necessary, therefore, that we should have had another book sent to us from heaven, free from these defects and one which readers could regard with certainty as the very Word of God. The Holy Qur'an.”

Copyright (c) 1998 Mohamed Ghounem & Abdur Rahman

The Authors give Full Permission to Use any of the Above Material As Your Own to distribute for Free.

"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." Qur'an 16:125

(From:  http://www.usislam.org/christianity/greekhebrew.htm).

The next source relating to Jesus, Aramaic, and Greek languages

“But most agree Jesus did not teach in Greek. Jesus may have been bilingual, speaking Aramaic and some Greek (which along with Latin was the language of the Romans), says Douglas-Klotz. Others believe interpreters were used when Jesus was before Roman procurator Pontius Pilate.”

After reading this passage one should see that even it acknowledges that Jesus spoke his MAIN BIRTH TONGUE of Aramaic and Jesus did NOT teach in Greek.  This article even details that some historians believe that interpreters were used in the ALLEGED pagan christian “tale” of Jesus being questioned by the Roman Pontius Pilate.

 

3)  The Oldest Manuscripts of the Corrupted New Testament are in Koine Greek

What is Koine Greek?

Koine also was the original language of the New Testament of the Christian Bible as well as the medium for the teaching and spreading of Christianity. Koine Greek was unofficially a first or second language in the Roman Empire.”

(From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koine_Greek). 

The 3 Oldest Existing Manuscripts of the Corrupted New Testament are written in Greek

These include:

1) Codex Vaticanus- In Greek, Believed to have been created in the 4th century CE, HUNDRES of years after Jesus’ disappearance.

2) Codex Sinaiticus- In Greek, Dated to the 4th century CE, again HUNDREDS of years after Jesus’ disappearance.

3) Codex Alexandrinus- In Greek, Dated to the 5th century CE, again HUNDREDS of years after Jesus’ disappearance.

 

4)  Language and the Historical Jesus

The following information is some detailed explanation of the believed language of the historical Jesus:

Linguistic proficiency

Since Jesus became an itinerant preacher throughout his home area and surroundings, a relevant question here is: What was the language spoken by ordinary Jews during their daily lives in first century Judea? Jesus must have been fluent in this language, and possibly in others as well.

From the writings and inscriptions of the time, there are four languages attested: Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Latin may quickly be eliminated from consideration. Latin was used almost exclusively by Roman officials, who had only recently introduced the tongue. The Romans would have written inscriptions on public buildings without regard for the ability of most Jews to read them. Notably, almost all of the known Latin inscriptions were situated in and around Caesarea Maritima and Jerusalem—the seats of imperial power, not Galilean villages.

Whether Jesus knew any Hebrew would hinge on whether he was literate. Hebrew suffered a great decline in popular use after the Babylonian exile and the return of Jews to Judah. Increasingly Aramaic, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East from the neo-Assyrian and Persian periods onward, made inroads among ordinary Jews resettled in Israel. Although the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran have many Hebrew writings, these works are theological and literary compositions of an esoteric group. The rise of the Aramaic targums (translations of Hebrew Scriptures), witnessed already in a Qumran community that was devoted to compositions in Hebrew, is a strong objection to seeing Hebrew as the language of the common people. It would seem that Hebrew was only preserved in first century Judea among those Jews dedicated to the study of the Scriptures, much as Latin was mainly for the clergy in the Middle Ages.

Concerning Greek, the testimony of Josephus should be noted (Antiquities 20.21.2): "I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue [Aramaic], that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations..."

As Biblical scholar John P. Meier observes (A Marginal Jew, Vol. I, page 261):

"Admittedly, all this sheds at most a very indirect light on our main question, the language that Jesus knew and used best. But if even the gifted Jerusalemite intellectual Josephus was not totally at home in Greek after years of writing in it while living in Rome, and if in AD 70 he had found it necessary or at least advisable to address his fellow Jews in Jerusalem in Aramaic rather than Greek, the chances of a Galilean peasant knowing enough Greek to become a successful teacher and preacher who regularly delivered his discourses in Greek seem slim."

Inscriptions of the time evince that the commonly spoken Aramaic was mostly free of Greek influence on its vocabulary, unlike in later centuries (Meier, page 265). Although they are all written in Greek, the only foreign words that the Gospels put on the lips of Jesus are in Aramaic, such as in Mark 5:41, 7:34, and 15:34. The Greek Gospel of John says that Jesus named Simon as Kephas (Jn 1:42), and Paul used the Aramaic address to God, abba, even when writing to Greek-speaking Gentiles in Gal 4:6 and Rom 8:16.

Meier concludes his discussion with these words: "Jesus regularly and perhaps exclusively taught in Aramaic, his Greek being of a practical, business type, and perhaps rudimentary to boot." (page 268)

[edit] Literacy

To refute the idea that Jesus was illiterate, evangelical scholar Ben Witherington III simply says that, "the only concrete evidence we have suggests the contrary (cf. Lk 4 to Lk 24)" (The Jesus Quest, p. 88). The account at Luke 4 of Jesus at the Temple tells of Jesus reading from a scroll in a Nazareth synagogue. However, Meier notes that "the sources and historicity of the narrative in this pericope are disputed. . . . The clear presence of Luke's redactional hand makes one wary." (A Marginal Jew, Vol. I, page 270).

Other scholars, such as Jewish Historian Shmuel Safrai, have argued that the majority of Jewish children in first century Judea received education at schools, a program instituted by Simeon ben Shetah (c. 103-76 BC/E) and later Joshua ben Gamala (c. 63-65). However, our accounts of this in the Talmud were written down about 200 years after Jesus' boyhood. The references from Philo and Josephus probably only refer to the public reading of the Torah in the synagogue. Any school system would have to be reinstituted after disruption during the two Jewish revolutions around 70 and 130. Many scholars consider the educational program of Simeon to be a later legend: "What elementary education did exist was carried out within the family, and most often it simply involved instruction in a given craft by the father." (page 273, see also Craffert-Botha, below). Meier writes:

"Hence, despite inflated claims from some modern authors, we are not to imagine that every Jewish male in Palestine learned to read - and women were rarely given the opportunity. Literacy, while greatly desirable, was not an absolute necessity for the ordinary life of the ordinary Jew. … Taken by themselves, therefore, such influences as reverence for the Torah and respect for literacy do not prove that Jesus was counted among those Jews who could read and study the Scriptures; they simply show what might have been." (pages 275, 276)

Still, Meier argues that the debates of Jesus over the Scripture in the synagogues and other details suggest that Jesus had the ability to read the sacred Hebrew texts.

"To sum up: individual texts from the Gospels prove very little about the literacy of Jesus. Instead, it is an indirect argument from converging lines of probability that inclines us to think that Jesus was in fact literate. … [S]ometime during his childhood or early adulthood, Jesus was taught how to read and expound the Hebrew Scriptures." (page 277, 278)

However, his "indirect argument" can be doubted, not least because the scriptural background "could have been conveyed by word-of-mouth catechesis and memorization" (see Lucretia Yaghjian, 'Ancient Reading', in Richard Rohrbaugh, ed., The Social Sciences in New Testament Interpretation, pages 206ff). In 'Why Jesus Could Walk On The Sea But He Could Not Read And Write' (Neotestamenica 39.1, 2005), Pieter F. Craffert and Pieter J. J. Botha argue that "reading" was very likely a social exercise with religious significance, and did not necessarily imply actual literacy. According to their theory, Jesus might have been going through the motions of "reading," as a sort of religious rite, and giving his own teachings under the auspices of the document being "read." They cite an ancient practice of orators holding a blank document and "reading" from it in this way when giving oracles.

Ancient Historian William V. Harris in Ancient Literacy estimates less than 10% of the Roman Empire under the principate to be literate, with that number falling as low as 3% in Roman Judaea (see also M. Bar-Ilan, 'Illiteracy in the Land of Israel in the First Centuries AD/CE', in S. Fishbane and S. Schoenfeld, Essays in the Sociel Scientific Study of Judaism and Jewish Society, pages 46-61). James P. Holding argues that statistical analysis of literacy rates is unhelpful with regard to the question of which percentage Jesus would fall under, i.e., they are only helpful in answering the general question 'Were most people literate?', not the specific question 'Was Jesus literate?'.

Since a clear, reliable tradition in the Gospels does not exist, and other sources of evidence and lines of argument are equally inconclusive, there has been no scholarly consensus on the matter.

 

(Point #4 is All quoted From Historical Jesus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus).

 

Conclusion:  Every credible biblical scholar and historian agrees that  Jesus’ MAIN language, Mother tongue, and Even his teachings were done in the language of Aramaic.  Then that left us with 3 languages Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  Latin can be quickly eliminated the following quote demonstrates; “Latin may quickly be eliminated from consideration. Latin was used almost exclusively by Roman officials, who had only recently introduced the tongue. The Romans would have written inscriptions on public buildings without regard for the ability of most Jews to read them. Notably, almost all of the known Latin inscriptions were situated in and around Caesarea Maritima and Jerusalem—the seats of imperial power, not Galilean villages.”

(From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus).

Thus Jesus UNDISPUTABLY did NOT speak the language of Latin.

 

Then that leaves us with Hebrew and Greek remaining.  For Hebrew the following quote is helpful; “Whether Jesus knew any Hebrew would hinge on whether he was literate. Hebrew suffered a great decline in popular use after the Babylonian exile and the return of Jews to Judah. Increasingly Aramaic, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East from the neo-Assyrian and Persian periods onward, made inroads among ordinary Jews resettled in Israel. (From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus).  This clearly that we cannot know if Jesus knew Hebrew, we don’t even know for sure if Jesus was literate.  Also the damage done to the Hebrew language because of Babylonian exile and then Jewish return to Judah was extensive.  Finally, Aramaic began to harm the language of Hebrew.  So with all this information it is EXTREMELY doubtful if Jesus knew and could speak Hebrew and mostly likely Jesus did NOT know or use Hebrew.

 

So that leaves us with Greek.  Again let us look at this information;

 

“Concerning Greek, the testimony of Josephus should be noted (Antiquities 20.21.2): "I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue [Aramaic], that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations..."

As Biblical scholar John P. Meier observes (A Marginal Jew, Vol. I, page 261):

"Admittedly, all this sheds at most a very indirect light on our main question, the language that Jesus knew and used best. But if even the gifted Jerusalemite intellectual Josephus was not totally at home in Greek after years of writing in it while living in Rome, and if in AD 70 he had found it necessary or at least advisable to address his fellow Jews in Jerusalem in Aramaic rather than Greek, the chances of a Galilean peasant knowing enough Greek to become a successful teacher and preacher who regularly delivered his discourses in Greek seem slim."

Inscriptions of the time evince that the commonly spoken Aramaic was mostly free of Greek influence on its vocabulary, unlike in later centuries (Meier, page 265). Although they are all written in Greek, the only foreign words that the Gospels put on the lips of Jesus are in Aramaic, such as in Mark 5:41, 7:34, and 15:34. The Greek Gospel of John says that Jesus named Simon as Kephas (Jn 1:42), and Paul used the Aramaic address to God, abba, even when writing to Greek-speaking Gentiles in Gal 4:6 and Rom 8:16.

Meier concludes his discussion with these words: "Jesus regularly and perhaps exclusively taught in Aramaic, his Greek being of a practical, business type, and perhaps rudimentary to boot." (page 268)” (From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus).

 

This clearly shows that even a great Jewish intellectual like Josephus who says he had studied Greek and could understand it; BUT even with this Josephus admits he is used to speaking his Birth Tongue of Aramaic and that he CANNOT speak Greek with sufficient exactness.  In addition the jewish intellectual Josephus goes on to say that his nation (Palestine aka Judah) does not encourage learning the languages of other nations.  Given these details by the jewish intellectual Josephus, who in 70 CE still found it advisable and necessary to speak to his fellow Jews in Jerusalem in Aramaic and NOT in Greek how can any reasonable person expect Jesus, a Galilean peasant, to know enough Greek to be a successful preacher and teacher in the Greek language.  This is NOT possible, Jesus was certainly NOT fluent, and most like NOT even knowledgeable or anything approaching even semi-conversational in the Greek language.

 

 

This paper has PROVED the Fact that Jesus’ MAIN Language, Birth Tongue, Likely ONLY known language, EVEN MORE Likely ONLY fluent language, and CERTAINILY his ONLY Teaching/Preaching language was the language of ARAMAIC.

 

Jesus USED ARAMAIC in his teaching NOT Greek.  Jesus could NOT have been fluent, or even anything near semi-fluent in Greek when INTELLECTUALS (in years after Jesus’ disappearance such as 70 CE), who had studied Greek, were NOT sufficient in their exactness and conversational use of Greek so they HAD to speak to their follow Jews in the COLLECTIVE Jewish tongue of Aramaic.

 

Jesus spoke Aramaic, Jesus did NOT speak fluent or even semi-fluent Greek!

 

Jesus’ language was Aramaic!

 

All Praise is Due to Almighty Allah!