Paul's knowledge of latin
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Feb 23 09:24:47 EST 1999
On 02/23/99, ""=?iso-8859-1?Q?J=FCrg_Buchegger?="
<j.buchegger at datacomm.ch>" wrote:
> This is Juerg again,
> I'm still working on the pauline neologism ANAKAINWSIS etc. and my question
> is referring to an earlier post by Conrad in which he suggested that the
> word could have been coined after the latin 'renovare'. Now I wonder
> - how much latin did a man like Paul probably know?
> - in his biography (education, locations, every day life etc.), where would
> have been the necessary places and times etc. to get to know enough latin
> for Paul, so he would have creativily thought of renovare when introducing
> Has anybody thought, read or written about Paul's possible knowledge of
> latin? During my theological studies, my teachers never taught me something
> in this direction...
> Any hints? Thanks a lot!
No, nor have I ever read anything about Paul's possible knowledge of Latin,
and only in recent years has there been any serious talk of Jesus' possible
knowledge of Greek, but many now think that's a possibility not to be
dismissed out of hand. I think it even more likely that Paul knew some
Latin than that Jesus knew some Greek. I don't know that it can be proved,
although there's probably some information somewhere on Latin in the
eastern Mediterranean. It wouldn't surprise me if he learned some Latin in
Tarsus, inasmuch as his Roman citizenship comes, so I learned somewhere, as
a consequence of citizenship in Tarsus. While learning of Latin might not
come automatically with Roman citizenship, at least some official Latin
permitting him to say "CIVIS ROMANUS SUM" might be presumed, even if that's
cited in Greek in Acts. I guess the question is the extent and nature of
Latin literacy in the eastern Roman empire.
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