Re: Jack's website

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Wed Sep 24 1997 - 10:05:05 EDT

On Tue, 23 Sep 1997, Jonathan Robie wrote:

>> > I am curious about his [Jack Kilmon's] methodology. How can you produce a
>> reconstruction of
>> > Jesus' words in Aramaic that is more accurate than the earlier texts
>> we have
>> > in Greek?

Andrew Kulikovsky responded:
>> A better question is why the heck would you want to?

Then at 7:26 PM -0500 9/23/97, Jack Kilmon replied:

> Simply because the vox ipsissima Iesu was Aramaic and not Greek.
> Are you saying that the Greek-speaking Matthean author was
>"inspired"moreso than the Aramaic speaking Jesus?

There was a rather long discussion on B-Greek some time ago about the
language(s) Jesus spoke, so I don't want to reopen that discussion. I would
rather interested persons simply consulted the archives. Still, it is
important to know that many New Testament scholars do not see it as obvious
that Jesus was a monolingual speaker of Aramaic. It seems quite certain
that he DID speak Aramaic, but he may have also spoken Greek and may even
have used it in some of his teachings. This being at least a possibility,
it is certainly not obvious that translating the Greek of the Gospels into
Aramaic is necessarily going to get us any closer to Jesus' actual words in
every instance.

Let's immagine for the sake of argument, though, that Jesus did speak only
Aramaic. As any fluently bilingual person knows, there is more than one way
to translate virtually any statement from one language to another, so how
could we possibly have any certainty that a particular back-translation
from Greek to Aramaic would end up with the same Aramaic words that the
Gospel writers supposedly translated from Aramaic into Greek?

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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