Did Jesus Speak Greek?

    Several interesting appends have been made in response to mine, and I
don't intend to try to deal with each at length in part because many
express some valid points.  I do want to make a few comments, however,
though these could be more like hand grenades and generate more
responses still!  First, several appends seem locked into the
notion that of course the native population were expert at
Aramaic, and would only use anything else if they had to do so.
Clearly, Aramaic was one of the languages used in 1st Century CE
Palestine, but I'm not ready to commit to the idea that it was
the "native" or "primary" language.  Second, I raised the issue
because, not being a specialist in 2nd Temple archaeology,
epigraphy or numismatics, I found Porter's article quite
convincing, and I think it would be valualble for others
to actually READ the article and then respond to Porter's
evidence and bibliography, rather than mrerely responding
to my opinions, which are based to a fair extent on what
I have read elsewhere.  If you want to talk about
exegesis of a NT passage, I'm ready.  If you want to discuss
1 century funerary texts, that's not a subject that I
can discourse on based on personal observation.

     Some other points I think should be considered.  What if
Jesus wanted to communicate to the largest possible audience
on one or more occasions?  Would he use Aramaic, known by
some, or Greek, which I think there is reason to believe
everyone knew at some level, well at least almost everyone?
In addition, if I use church tradition as a basis for judging
authorship, and I consider that evidence at least as valid as the
unempirical speculations of various scholars, most NT writers
grew up and/or were educated in Palestine: Matthew, Peter,
John, Paul, James and Jude.  They all seem pretty fluent in
Greek to me, though I admit the Johannine material is fairly
simple Greek.  As for translating back into Aramiac, that's a
nice theory, but I'm afraid that when no two scholars seem able to
agree on the translations, there's a certain credibility gap
there for me in trusting those "results".  That's not a
statement about the ability of the "translator".  It's
an observation that if this is such a clear notion,
the transaltions should all pretty much agree (unless you
wish to accept that many differences in the Synoptics could
be due to tranlation/paraphrase techniques from Aramaci!).
Fianlly, one writer noted something about the Jesus Seminar's
view of a particular saying.  Let me drop this bomb and finish
this long note.  The conclusions of the Jesus Seminar,
based on artificial, and often contradictory criteria, with
no empirical controls present, doing activities no one
in other disciplines I know of would do to any literature,
do not particularly hold any value for me.  By their criteria,
I could prove conclusively that I didn't write this append!

Ken Litwak

IBM, San Jose, CA