[B-Greek] Paul writing in Latin or Hebrew/Aramaic?
dewayne.dulaney at gmail.com
Fri Aug 27 19:30:02 EDT 2010
Χαίρετε πᾶσιν· (CAIRETE PASIN)-Hello, everybody!
Another probable reason Paul chose to write Romans in Greek is that
any readers from upper-class Roman families would have known Greek as
well as Latin—and possibly Latin-speaking readers from less-affluent
backgrounds also. The Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd ed., 1996), in
the article "education, Roman" tells us "Aristocratic Roman families
often employed Greek-speaking tutors for their children...and these
tutors—often slaves or freedmen—commonly taught both Greek and Latin;
competence in both languages remained a feature of an upper-class
education until the western and eastern empires parted company. This
tradition of tutors...continued alongside the growth of schools."
Later in the same article we learn the Roman elementary schools used
bilingual Greek-Latin textbooks called "Hermeneumata"
("Translations"). In the same work, the article on Hermeneumata tells
us that these textbooks were used to teach children vocabulary and
idiom in both languages. (That article cites the "Corpus glossariorum
latinorum" vol. 3 as a source of these bilingual texts. The CGL is
available for free download from archive.org.)
But such education was not only made available to the wealthy. The
article on Roman education also tells us that the elementary schools,
though they charged fees, were affordable to all in the empire except
Thus, the knowledge of Greek among even native Romans may well have
been widespread in the first century. As Colossians 4:16 indicates the
practice was to read Paul's letters aloud to the Christian assemblies,
likely the readers of Romans could understand spoken Greek as well as
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