From: Edward Hobbs (EHOBBS@wellesley.edu)
Date: Wed Mar 11 1998 - 16:54:41 EST
To add nothing but a curious footnote to this discussion (in which I am in
complete agreement with Carl's post, which I wish I had written):
"Rather, what we do know from Scripture
about angels when they speak is that they spoke in the language of the
person whom they were addressing, and he/she understood perfectly what was
being said. I would presume the angels spoke Hebrew to Hagar (Genesis
16:7), Aramaic to the shepherds (Luke 2:10), Greek to Philip (Acts 8:26)
and maybe Paul (Acts 27:23), Latin to Cornelius (Acts 10:4). The language
used by the angelic messenger is never named in these (or any other)
references and therefore this issue could be a quodlibet to argue; but one
thing is certain: the language used was always a human language understood
by the person addressed."
My comment is about the language used by the angel speaking to Paul during
the storm which led to shipwreck: Ward says it was "maybe" Greek.
Interesting that in the preceding chapter, when Paul recounts to Agrippa
his experience on the road to Damascus, he says that Jesus spoke to him in
Hebrew (THi hEBRAIDI DIALEKTWi), a striking comment to make. So maybe
Jesus used Hebrew, but the angel used Greek, in speaking to Paul.
(Remember the ancient Jewish tradition that God always spoke in Hebrew;
could that influence the remark about Hebrew in Acts 26? David Aaron, my
colleague here in Hebrew Bible, is working on an article on this theme.
He, alas!, leaves this summer to head the Ph.D. program at Hebrew Union
College's mother campus.)
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