Re: Jesus Words: Aramaic or Greek?

From: Steve Long (
Date: Thu Sep 03 1998 - 07:19:03 EDT

>> If so, how is the mysteriousness of the
>> *Greek* grammar relevant. Assuming that Jesus spoke in Aramaic (as most
>> experts seem to believe) is it not the Aramaic phrase and its
>> grammatical construction on which our interest should be focussed
>> (though not, of course, on b-Greek)? It seems to be assumed by everyone
>> participating in this thread that EGW EIMI is a precise equivalent of
>> whatever Jesus said rather than just a Greek approximation of the
>> Aramaic by the author of John's Gospel, but do we know that that is so?
>> If it is not considered to be off-limits, would anyone care to express
>> their approach to this whole business of Jesus speaking Aramaic but his
>> words being recording by the Evangelists in Greek. This particular
>> thread serves to highlight a problem of approach that has troubled me
>> for some time.
You know if you consider the political-social landscape of Jesus' day many
of his teachings may have been in Greek. As an educated Rabbi, he would
have certainly been educated in Hebrew, the common Aramaic and as a citizen
of Galilee surrounded by the Decapolis, spending a great deal of time in
Caesarea Phillipi etc., he would have had to know Greek as well.

So then you're going to do a teaching in an open field, crowds of people
gather around, you don't know everyone's nationality or background, what
language are you going to speak? The one the most people can understand,
and in northern Galilee, that may have been Greek. Certainly to scribes and
pharisees he would have spoken Aramiac or Hebrew, but wouldn't he have
spoken Greek to the Centurion?

But again it's just speculation, and as you said George, all we have is the
Greek (unless you buy Lamsa's claims for the Peshitta).


Steve Long
Saint Peters, Missouri

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