[B-Greek] Paul writing in Latin or Hebrew/Aramaic?

jgibson000 at comcast.net jgibson000 at comcast.net
Sun Aug 22 23:52:35 EDT 2010

On 8/22/2010 10:36 PM, jgibson000 at comcast.net wrote:
> On 8/22/2010 10:29 PM, David McKay wrote:
>> I've just read this assertion on another list and am interested in your
>> comments, please:
>> "And no, Greek was not the language of the Romans.  They spoke 
>> Latin.  Paul
>> would have written to Rome either in one of his better languages
>> (Hebrew/Aramaic) or theirs (Latin), but there's little logic behind 
>> the idea
>> he would have written to them in Greek."
> If memory serves, there is a very good discussion of this claim in the 
> old Sandy & Headlam ICC Commentary on Romans.

Looked it up.  Here's a relevant passage:

> It will seem at first sight to the uninitiated reader a rather strange 
> paradox that a letter addressed to the capital of the Western or Latin 
> world should be written in Greek. Yet there is no paradox, either to 
> the classical scholar who is acquainted with the history of the Early 
> Empire, or to the ecclesiastical historian who follows the fortunes of 
> the Early Church. Both are aware that for fully two centuries and a 
> half Greek was the predominant language if not of the city of Rome as 
> a whole yet of large sections of its inhabitants, and in particular of 
> those sections among which was to be sought the main body of the 
> readers of the Epistle.
> Sanday, W. ; Headlam, Arthur C.: /A Critical and Exegetical Commentary 
> on the Epistle of the Romans/. 3d ed. New York : C. Scribner's sons, 
> 1897, lii
They also note, among much else on the topic, that:

> The question of the use of Greek at Rome has been often discussed and 
> the evidence for it set forth, but the classical treatment of the 
> subject is by the late Dr. C. P. Caspari, Professor at Christiania, in 
> an Excursus of 200 pages to vol. iii. of his work /Quellen zur 
> Geschichte des Taufsymbols/(Christiania, 1875).
Obviously much more contemporary sources which deal with the question 
could be found with a little searching.


Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
Chicago, Illinois
e-mail jgibson000 at comcast.net

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