[b-greek] Re: Fwd: Re: Hebrew or Greek? 2

From: Jack Kilmon (jkilmon@historian.net)
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 13:03:20 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2001 7:06 AM
Subject: [b-greek] Fwd: Re: Hebrew or Greek? 2

> I was asked to forward the following to the list for Al Lukaszweski:
> Subject: Re: [b-greek] Re: Hebrew or Greek? 2
> Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 02:51:20 +0100
> From: "A. Lukaszewski" <all1@st-and.ac.uk>
> To: Dave Washburn <dwashbur@nyx.net>
> Dave,
> While I fully concur with you that the Gospels were not written
> originally in Hebrew,
> I would like to offer a citation that might clarify the lingua franca
> issue in
> first-century Palestine and to ask a question concerning your sources.
> With respect to Hebrew as a living language in the first-century, you
> might take a
> look at Rendsburgs' "Diglossia in Ancient Hebrew" (ASOR, 1986?). He
> demonstrates, I
> think, quite well that Hebrew was a living language and not reserved
> strictly for
> religious purposes.

I think the issue is *where* Hebrew was a "living" language. The term
"Lingua Franca" usually refers to the common tongue, in this case the
am ha'aretz. Hebrew was "living" and developing dialects in certain
socio-religious or nationalistic "pockets" and also appears to have
been the "business" language. Perspectives in this issue are:

Only about 5% of the population was literate.

Hebrew was the literate language

Aramaic was the spoken language of the non-literate population

The non-literate do not leave inscriptions behind as evidence but there
is a class that does..the minimally or "quasi" literate that appears on
graffiti, many ossuaries and some ostraca with a higher degree
of spelling errors or odd orthography.

> Further, what evidence do you have of "virtually everyone" being
> bilingual? And to
> what extent do you anticipate that they were bilingual?

I think I would again look to the bone boxes and funerary inscriptions
for part of this evidence..primarily Greek and Aramaic.


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