Re: Aramaic

On Mon, 28 Mar 1994 scott@geom.umn.edu wrote:

> > The use of Greek at that time was comparable to the current dominance of
> > English.  So an interesting question would be, how much do modern-day residents
> > of Israel (Jews and Palestinians) speak English?  When would large crowds be
> > addressed in English, and when in Hebrew?
>   Well, I think it might be appropriate to remember how Paul responded
> when the mob was demanding his death because they thought he'd brought
> heathen into the temple...he addressed them in Aramaic (Acts 21:40, 22:2)
> and they calmed and listened (for a time) to hear what he had to say.
> This leads me to think it more likely that Jesus would have used Aramaic
> when teaching things that he truly wanted the people to understand (that
> he would have wanted to minimize the foreign-ness of the ideas by expressing
> them in familiar and comforting language).
> 					Scott S. Bertilson

Story of Paul in Acts sounds like a classic case of code-switching driven
by language-as-identity.  Even in bilingual societies in which people are
equally fluent in two languages, frequently one language functions as a
marker of identity for a certain segment of the population.  The story
about Paul sounds like a case of wanting to identify himself as a Jew, and
*not* a hellenized Jew.

Philip Graber
Emory University

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