Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Charles Wilson
Posts: 1745
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:13 am

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by Charles Wilson »

NG --

Was my answer to your satisfaction?
Not necessarily that you agree with it but rather that you understand the Base from which this Thesis begins.
If not, plz ask a question and I will try to explain.

CW
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 3878
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by neilgodfrey »

Yes, Charles - I understand where you are coming from and the rationale you have for the pun. It makes sense, thanks. I have a different perspective, as you know.
Charles Wilson
Posts: 1745
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:13 am

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by Charles Wilson »

neilgodfrey wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 3:44 pm Yes, Charles - I understand where you are coming from and the rationale you have for the pun. It makes sense, thanks. I have a different perspective, as you know.
Don't we all...Don't we all...
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 3878
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by neilgodfrey »

Giuseppe wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:17 am
neilgodfrey wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:02 amBut one does not prove the entire thesis, not even a few examples. They are a start, though.
why? Isn't sufficient to apply the argument of the extreme improbability of a coincidence to prove the case?
To be more specific than in my previous response....

V. Panin was famous for "proving" the divine inspiration of Greek NT texts, very famously the divine inspiration of the longer ending of the Gospel of Mark. He lists many "incredibly improbable coincidences" in the texts. I want to be very sure that Dubourg's thesis is not presenting a similar sort of argument. I don't think it is, but the Panin case does make me at least cautious when approaching an argument based in any way at all on gematria. (Yes, Panin's "coincidences" are a somewhat different grammatical type from those Dubourg addresses, but the point is that "incredibly improbable coincidences" are not always a sound argument for what an author is proposing.)

Further, I want to be absolutely sure that the Hebrew retroversions offered by Dubourg are indeed what he says they are. I have no reason to doubt his honesty or competence, but I have learned through many cruel lessons to always check for myself -- just to be absolutely sure. Sometimes wise and capable people do make mistakes. You will have noticed how slowly I have been progressing through Charbonnel's book on my blog: a major reason is my stopping along the way to follow up her citations, her footnotes, and so forth, and then to follow up citations in those, and to not rely on English translations alone. Again, I have learned that quite often biblical scholars are not very careful with the footnotes they add. Sometimes one learns a citation argues the very opposite point for which it is being used -- especially when the citation is to a work in another (nonbiblical) field. I don't know if that is because of genuine misunderstanding of something less honest. But it does happen. So I can't assume that biblical scholars are the only ones who make mistakes in such areas.

I also want to be sure the Hebrew retroversions are the result of very narrow options as D says they are. I want to compare passages with those that are fairly widely agreed are Greek interpolations and not part of the original text.

And i need to check - not assume - that certain words said to be Greek loanwords in rabbinic Hebrew are in fact so.

And so forth.

I am focusing almost entirely on the gospels for now, and Acts, and some of Paul's letters. I have a difficult time accepting Dubourg's overemphasis of Saul-Paul parallels -- it is as if he has forgotten Paul was named Paul in all his letters, and that Saul is known only from Acts and his pre-conversion life. Some of the parallels strike me as "genuinely coincidental" without any need to draw wider conclusions from them.

These are all things that I think need to be tested before embracing D's theory. I can "embrace" it now in a very tentative sense, but if I do I will be very ready to drop it and change my mind as I learn more.

Maybe there is some other "half-way" idea lurking behind the evidence D points out. Maybe something other than actual translations are at work. But here I need to be sure that what so many scholars say about the syntax of the Greek NT is indeed "Hebraic" -- many say that, but I'd like to see it demonstrated so I can "know" and not just "accept" the word of others.

I have come from a past where I trusted people who sounded like they knew what they were talking about and who presented a range of "incredibly improbable coincidences" to "prove" the Bible is the inspired word of God by various types of arguments; and that "proved" creation and "disproved" evolution; I saw many "incredibly improbable coincidences" that "proved" the existence of the spirit world and miraculous powers peformed in this world, and the same sorts of "proofs" "proving" God's divine hand in history.

I've been wrong before and know how damn easy it is to be wrong. I see many people are excited about "answers" and "solutions" they have "found" to various biblical questions, including on this forum, and am reminded why I have found no discomfort at all in living with questions and tentative ideas rather than "answers". I used to have a little motto: Questions Liberate; Answers Bind. That's extreme and not always true, but I still think there is some measure of validity to it.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 9237
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by Giuseppe »

Is there a way to falsify the Dubourg's findings, in first place?

Afterall, if we are said by modern scholars ad nauseam and ad infinitum that the early Christians were 100% Jews et similia, and if recent (best) research has arrived to assume the existence of prototype gospels (for example: proto-Mark or proto-Luke) now lost, one needs very strong evidence (even only) to neutralize what Doubourg says about the character of these now lost earliest gospels.

My feeling (and who knows me knows also that I can't write: "I fear that") is that Dubourg has placed himself in an unassailable position. His view is (at least) as an aeternal "sword of Damocles" looming forever on any different view.

As to Paul, it has surprised me the hasty way by Charbonnel to liquidate him by a short invitation to "read Dubourg about Paul". In a first moment, I had interpreted her hasty appeal to Dubourg as a clue of weakness in her general view. But then, secunda facie, the entrance on the scene of Paul is not so surprising, seeing him as the Saul who comes after Joshua as first inaugurator (Saul is the first king) of the kingdom said to be "near" by Jesus.

Idem for the Book of Revelation, believed by me as a very naive work by anti-Roman fanatic hallucinators. It is very hard to digest the view that "Babylon" is not Rome but Jerusalem. Dubourg is dead before his publication of the third tome (where he would have dealt fully with Revelation), so maybe it is just Revelation the weakest part of his view.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 3878
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by neilgodfrey »

Giuseppe wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:27 am Is there a way to falsify the Dubourg's findings, in first place?
We must hope so. Otherwise his hypothesis is worthless. It could be falsified if we find that retroverting from Greek to Hebrew poses one with such a wide range of choices of words and phrasing that it is just as easy, or even easier, to find matching words that don't produce the puns and worldplays he finds. In other words, if we discover that in very many cases of the gospels that the choice of words yielding Hebrew word play is not guaranteed, then D's thesis has a problem. It would mean we cannot be sure of a "more or less close" Hebrew behind the Greek texts.

Dubourg makes claims in this respect that I have no reason to doubt. But I have no reason to accept his claims either, untll I see the evidence for myself. That's going to take me a little bit of time.

Another problem for D's thesis would be if we discover he has exaggerated the extent and role of Greek loanwords found in later rabbinic Hebrew being part of the original gospels. This is another area that needs to be checked.
Giuseppe wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:27 am Afterall, if we are said by modern scholars ad nauseam and ad infinitum that the early Christians were 100% Jews et similia, and if recent (best) research has arrived to assume the existence of prototype gospels (for example: proto-Mark or proto-Luke) now lost, one needs very strong evidence (even only) to neutralize what Doubourg says about the character of these now lost earliest gospels.
The problem as I see it with this view is that we know many Jews were more fluent in Greek than they were in Hebrew. We know some Jews did write in Greek as their first language. So it is quite reasonable to imagine that the first Jewish gospels were in Greek.

As for "what scholars say", that's not nearly as important as understanding why they say it. What is their evidence. Very often we find they are merely assuming something based on what their peers also assume or have argued elsewhere. "Some scholars" also "say" that the first Christians consisted of both Jews and proselytes or "God-fearers".
Giuseppe wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:27 amMy feeling (and who knows me knows also that I can't write: "I fear that") is that Dubourg has placed himself in an unassailable position. His view is (at least) as an aeternal "sword of Damocles" looming forever on any different view.
D's view is clearly a paradigm changer. But to say that a view cannot be challenged is to imply that it is invalid -- that it is circular, for example. For any view to be valid it has to have points where it can be tested, examined, checked out, and, if necessary, found to be incorrect -- or pass those tests and then be accepted tentatively until proven false or in need of further modification.

Yes, Duboug's thesis is, I think, even more challenging than denying the historicity of Jesus. I simply cannot imagine biblical scholars in today's climate (largely a conservative sort of "liberalism" where words like "sceptic" are treated like character slurs) giving Dubourg the time of day.

Giuseppe wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:27 am As to Paul, it has surprised me the hasty way by Charbonnel to liquidate him by a short invitation to "read Dubourg about Paul". In a first moment, I had interpreted her hasty appeal to Dubourg as a clue of weakness in her general view. But then, secunda facie, the entrance on the scene of Paul is not so surprising, seeing him as the Saul who comes after Joshua as first inaugurator (Saul is the first king) of the kingdom said to be "near" by Jesus.

Idem for the Book of Revelation, believed by me as a very naive work by anti-Roman fanatic hallucinators. It is very hard to digest the view that "Babylon" is not Rome but Jerusalem. Dubourg is dead before his publication of the third tome (where he would have dealt fully with Revelation), so maybe it is just Revelation the weakest part of his view.
It is quite enough for me to focus for now on the gospels. D's discussion of Paul and the epistles raised more questions in my mind than I could juggle. Though I liked what he wrote about Saul in Acts.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 9237
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by Giuseppe »

It seems that the Dubourg's work has been reviewed by a Catholic critic, here:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/i40216542


Some points:
He passes under silence the historicity, or the existential reality of the Gospel characters recognized perfectly by Chouraqui, Jew expert of Hebrew who can't be accused of ignorance, nor a priori of being a Christian.
He ignores the Catholic works on saint Joseph that consider him a religious erudite and in the same time a carpenter.

..the author obliges to think, to update the pastoral that may be done to persuade the esoterist, atheistic, materialistic circles, and the circles of people highly educated in linguistics and science of civilizations but ignorant of the genuine catholic doctrine faithful to the oldest tradition...

This can be dangerous for readers who search for a teacher in the quasi infinite world of esoterical works.

Never I would have imagined that I was going to read a book of "esoterism".
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 3878
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by neilgodfrey »

Giuseppe wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:18 pm It seems that the Dubourg's work has been reviewed by a Catholic critic, here:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/i40216542


Some points:
He passes under silence the historicity, or the existential reality of the Gospel characters recognized perfectly by Chouraqui, Jew expert of Hebrew who can't be accused of ignorance, nor a priori of being a Christian.
He ignores the Catholic works on saint Joseph that consider him a religious erudite and in the same time a carpenter.

..the author obliges to think, to update the pastoral that may be done to persuade the esoterist, atheistic, materialistic circles, and the circles of people highly educated in linguistics and science of civilizations but ignorant of the genuine catholic doctrine faithful to the oldest tradition...

This can be dangerous for readers who search for a teacher in the quasi infinite world of esoterical works.

Never I would have imagined that I was going to read a book of "esoterism".
The reviewer would do well to read Walsh's Origins of Christian Literature, introduced in another thread here ...viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8105

Walsh discusses in some depth the groundlessness of the assumption that the letters of Paul and the gospels should be interpreted literally insofar as that reading yields a true history, at least in outline, of how Christianity began.
StephenGoranson
Posts: 529
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:10 am

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by StephenGoranson »

It may be fair to say (correct me if I'm mistaken) that Greek and Aramaic each had a wider geographic spread, and more users, than Hebrew. Hebrew, in the late second temple period (say about 150 BCE to 70 CE) was still in use, as Qumran new composition mss prove. But, if a gospel was first written in Hebrew, that might suggest a smaller, more localized potential readership, in that version, than Greek or Aramaic.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 3878
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Greek Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew

Post by neilgodfrey »

StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Jul 27, 2021 5:14 am It may be fair to say (correct me if I'm mistaken) that Greek and Aramaic each had a wider geographic spread, and more users, than Hebrew. Hebrew, in the late second temple period (say about 150 BCE to 70 CE) was still in use, as Qumran new composition mss prove. But, if a gospel was first written in Hebrew, that might suggest a smaller, more localized potential readership, in that version, than Greek or Aramaic.
That is obviously true. What was originally composed in Hebrew had a more limited audience than the current model of gospel origins would postulate. A Hebrew-midrashic origin of the gospels suggests a quite different view of "Chrisitan" origins than the current models.
Post Reply