Jesus Words: Aramaic or Greek?

Date: Thu Sep 03 1998 - 12:21:58 EDT

Neil Booth wrote:
> I venture out of lurking mode only with the greatest trepidation, but
> surely the one thing of which we can be almost certain is that Jesus
> never said EGW EIMI at all.

The bites on this list are all byte sized, Neil ~ Ain't no crocodiles
'round here. Not even in the swamp! I just figure everybody else is
smarter than me, besides being better educated and having better
breeding, and will thus be gracious enough to treat me kindly. Plus
there ARE some unseen teeth that will sink into the hide of anyone who
treats anyone on this list unkindly.

> 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.

This issue has bothered me as well, and I finally just had to pass on
it. Greek was the cultural international language, common to all, and
presumably spoken by Jesus in addition to his native Aramaic. What
language was spoken by Him to the disciples and/or to the Jews in the
tabernacles? I do not think anyone really knows. Opinions are
speculation, some with a longer list of reasons than others. He COULD
have spoken either, or both, or even mixed his metaphors, as we have a
little here just recently with the sigmatic Cs.

So I gave up on that approach, and reminded myself that all we really
have is a Greek text, and that it will either hang together AS A GREEK
TEXT, or it won't. [It holds together just fine, imho.] If we assume
that the 'real' words were Aramaic, then we are lost in the impossible
task of reconstructing the Aramaic, either literally or in meaning,
and must disregard the Greek except for its clueful value to the

An' I, fer one, jes ain't thet Schmaardt!

Assuming it was written some 40-50 years after the events it
describes, and by the only surviving disciple, who was a Jew,
presumably writing by his own hand in Greek and in exile, the question
that arose for me is: "Who is he writing for, and why?" Judaism is
'lost' to Christianity already, and the synoptics already address the
gospel to the Jews, to the Romans, and to the Greeks. What is the
purpose of the fourth gospel? To cover some material that was missed
or omitted by the other three? To 'fill out' the 'wholeness' of the
material already covered? Or was it something more...? Something
much more...? It was as well written AFTER Paul...

And you are right, most scholars do NOT think that Jesus actually
spoke many words in Greek, and believe that the Greek of Christ in the
gospels is a translation of the Aramaic that He actually did speak.
Maybe so. I do not know. And either do they... Ain't nobody THAT
Schmaardt!! :-)


Lisa Messmer..................ICQ# 5666415
George Blaisdell

Have you seen Dulcie? Look for her Heart!

Last Chance for Animals...Fight Pet Theft!

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