Re: What language(s) did Jesus speak?

From: Jack Kilmon (
Date: Mon Mar 03 1997 - 16:18:10 EST

Jonathan Robie wrote:

> Your position seems to be that Jesus spoke Greek fluently.
> You have asserted this several times without providing any
> evidence, and nobody has attacked you for doing so. Now you
> demand that Jack provide a very high degree of proof for
> his position, though you have never provided any for yours.
> and of evidence", we had better be respectful with each other. I found
> your message very insulting to Jack, and it provided no facts or
> evidence at all.

        Further evidence to me that Aramaic was the vernacular is:

The Greek-speaking Luke when explaining the Aramaic
heqel dema (Field of Blood) used by "all the dwellers of Jerusalem"

        The Greek-speking Titus sends Josephus to Jerusalem to
speak to them IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE. JW v.ix.ii
        Speaking of whan he was captive by Titus and when Titus "....
came from Alexandria to the siege of Jerusalem; during which time
there was nothing done which escaped my knowledge; for what happened
in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully; and what information
the deserters brought, I was the only man that understood them
(referring to their language NOT being Greek). Afterward I got
liesure in Rome; and when all my materials (his semitic, probably
Aramaic, notes) were prepared for that work, I made use of some persons
to assist me in learning the Greek tongue, and by these means I composed
the history of those transactions."

        Meier (A Marginal Jew,Vol 1, 260), citing Sevenster (Do You
Know Greek, 75) states:

        "We are not surprised, therefore, to learn that Josephus had
composed the Jewish War in his native tongue (probably Aramaic) and then
employed "collaborators" (synergois) to translate the work into Greek."

        I realize that this conclusion by Meier does not address
HOW MUCH was composed in Aramaic...were they just notes? An Aramaic
draft of the entire work?

        My point, however, was that this educated Jerusalem scholar
used his Semitic language FIRST and needed help with the Greek which
was not as comfortable to him.

        I reiterate that the Greek speaking NT authors place Aramaic in the
mouth of Jesus 26 times! I will accept that Jesus knew enough Greek to
exchange with Pilatus. There is also the "alpha and omega" saying but
we cannot be sure that he did not say "aNA ithi ALef af TAW." That
was so well educated in Greek to teach in it when even the well educated
Josephus needed help is beyond me at this point and I have to fall in
with Fitzmyer (The Aramaic Background of the New Testament) and Meier
(A Marginal Jew) on the issue until convinced by evidence...and I AM
to be convinced.

Jack Kilmon
Houston, TX

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