Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

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allegoria
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Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by allegoria »

There is at least one professor who entertains the idea Jesus spoke Greek during his teachings: https://www.wisluthsem.org/did-jesus-speak-greek/

It is odd that if Jesus spoke Aramaic primarily, the gospel writers would translate into Greek using the same basic language with mostly just additions or subtractions. And if he spoke Aramaic, you would expect at least one copy of “sayings in Aramaic” to appear — that would be significant because the words would be transmitted and discussed with perfect fidelity. And if he spoke Aramaic, it makes no sense to specify the few times where he does speak Aramaic in the Gospel and writing it as such, like Matthew 27:46.

Then there’s the Bar Khokba findings: we have Old Testament scrolls written in Greek: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/dai ... iscovered/ . There’s the letter from the “cave of letters” which says “the letter is written in Greek as we have no one who knows Hebrew” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_Letters . If even the fierce Jewish nationalists of the revolt used Greek scrolls, and at one point had no one present who knew Aramaic or Hebrew despite being what looks like a headquarters for the rebels, what does that tell us about the normal Jewish experience at the time? They would be even less likely to know Hebrew/Aramaic or use a Hebrew scroll. But as this is a century after Jesus, perhaps it doesn’t necessarily tell us anything?

So now I wonder what the church fathers say on this matter.
andrewcriddle
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by andrewcriddle »

Papias on Matthew
Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.
may imply teaching by Jesus in Hebrew or Aramaic collected by Matthew and then translated by others into Greek.

Andrew Criddle
StephenGoranson
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by StephenGoranson »

As you know, according to Luke 4:16 and following Jesus read in a synagogue from Isaiah, presumably in Hebrew, as no translation into Aramaic was mentioned. Aramaic was in more widespread use at the time, so sometimes a translator, a meturgeman, would follow the Hebrew reading with an Aramaic paraphrase. Perhaps some church fathers commenting on Luke 4 might discuss languages.

Greek was in widespread use also, more so in the cities than in rural areas, I think, where Aramaic likely was more common.

A religious leader would know Hebrew, even if it was less used than Aramaic or Greek in conversation.

But Hebrew was still in active use, as Qumran manuscripts attest. Before the Qumran discoveries some scholars underestimated the level of Hebrew at the time.

For example, Joseph Scaliger in 1583 rejected a Hebrew etymology of Essenes as an hallucination, because he thought Hebrew was then unavailable, so the word would have come from Aramaic. His assertion misled many for centuries
StephenGoranson
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by StephenGoranson »

For those here who may be interested in history of scholarship, J. J. Scaliger's mistake about whether Hebrew was still used at the time was in:

De Emendatione Temporum (1583) 251-252.
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Peter Kirby
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by Peter Kirby »

allegoria wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:57 am There’s the letter from the “cave of letters” which says “the letter is written in Greek as we have no one who knows Hebrew” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_Letters . If even the fierce Jewish nationalists of the revolt used Greek scrolls, and at one point had no one present who knew Aramaic
Is this conclusion justified?
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Peter Kirby
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by Peter Kirby »

allegoria wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:57 am It is odd that if Jesus spoke Aramaic primarily, the gospel writers would translate into Greek
Is it odd that the gospel writers would use Greek?
allegoria wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:57 amusing the same basic language with mostly just additions or subtractions
This isn't clearly stated, and likewise the argument being made here is not clear.
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MrMacSon
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by MrMacSon »

Peter Kirby wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:41 pm
allegoria wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:57 am There’s the letter from the “cave of letters” which says “the letter is written in Greek as we have no one who knows Hebrew” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_Letters . If even the fierce Jewish nationalists of the revolt used Greek scrolls, and at one point had no one present who knew Aramaic [...]
Is this conclusion justified?
It's not a conclusion, it's a proposition: the If at the beginning gives that away.
There's an implied second 'if' in there, thus:
allegoria wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:57 am
There’s the letter from the “cave of letters” which says “the letter is written in Greek as we have no one who knows Hebrew” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_Letters . If even the fierce Jewish nationalists of the revolt used Greek scrolls, and [if] at one point...no one present...knew Aramaic or Hebrew, despite being what looks like a headquarters for the rebels, what does that tell us about the normal Jewish experience at the time? They would be even less likely to know Hebrew/Aramaic or use a Hebrew scroll. But, as this is a century after Jesus, perhaps it doesn’t necessarily tell us anything?

So, now I wonder what the church fathers say on this matter.

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Peter Kirby
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by Peter Kirby »

MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:28 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:41 pm
allegoria wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:57 am There’s the letter from the “cave of letters” which says “the letter is written in Greek as we have no one who knows Hebrew” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_Letters . If even the fierce Jewish nationalists of the revolt used Greek scrolls, and at one point had no one present who knew Aramaic [...]
Is this conclusion justified?
It's not a conclusion, it's a proposition
If your interpretation is correct, then how relevant is this citation?

Also, would it not be appropriate to attempt to form a conclusion?

If so, what can be concluded (and what can't) about the “cave of letters” in this respect?

Of course, your interpretation is possible but is not necessarily correct. But you are correct to note a possible ambiguity. On this, it might be better to allow allegoria to speak for themselves. Since I replied to them, they can answer my question and correct any possible misinterpretation.
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MrMacSon
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by MrMacSon »

Peter Kirby wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:32 pm
If your interpretation is correct, then how relevant is this citation?

Also, would it not be appropriate to attempt to form a conclusion?

If so, what can be concluded (and what can't) about the “cave of letters” in this respect?

Of course, your interpretation is possible but is not necessarily correct. But you are correct to note a possible ambiguity. On this, it might be better to allow allegoria to speak for themselves.

yeah, Nah. I'm not subjecting myself to your bombast and bullying.
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Peter Kirby
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Re: Do any Church Fathers state or imply that Jesus spoke Aramaic during his ministry (ie in gospel)?

Post by Peter Kirby »

MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:35 pm yeah, Nah. I'm not subjecting myself to your bombast and bullying.
There's nothing like that. Honestly, I think your reading is likely to be wrong, but I can't be sure. It's better to let allegoria correct me, since they can say for sure.

ETA: whether or not allegoria had a personal "conclusion" here was not my emphasis at all, anyway; at the time, I just didn't consider the alternative pure-postulate reading. On that reading, please correct what I said to:

"Would a statement like this be justified as a conclusion?"
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