James: Hebrew or Aramaic?

Hector3001 at aol.com Hector3001 at aol.com
Wed Dec 25 08:24:56 EST 2002

>===== Original Message From Sergio Saavedra <sesamox at hotmail.com> =====
>The Watchtower literature endorses the hypothesis that in the first
>century, Jews spoke Hebrew instead of Aramaic.

To be fair, what the Watchtower actually says is:
"What Language Did Jesus Speak? On this question there is considerable 
difference of opinion among scholars. However, concerning languages used in 
Palestine when Jesus Christ was on earth, Professor G. Ernest Wright states: 
"Various languages were undoubtedly to be heard on the streets of the major 
cities. Greek and Aramaic were evidently the common tongues, and most of the 
urban peoples could probably understand both even in such 'modern' or 
'western' cities as Caesarea and Samaria where Greek was the more common. 
Roman soldiers and officials might be heard conversing in Latin, while 
orthodox Jews may well have spoken a late variety of Hebrew with one another, 
a language that we know to have been neither classical Hebrew nor Aramaic, 
despite its similarities to both." Commenting further, on the language spoken 
by Jesus Christ, Professor Wright says: "The language spoken by Jesus has 
been much debated. We have no certain way of knowing whether he could speak 
Greek or Latin, but in his teaching ministry he regularly used either Aramaic 
or the highly Aramaized popular Hebrew. When Paul addressed the mob in the 
Temple, it is said that he spoke Hebrew (Acts 21:40). Scholars generally have 
taken this to mean Aramaic, but it is quite possible that a popular Hebrew 
was then the common tongue among the Jews."-Biblical Archaeology, 1963, p. 
It is possible that Jesus and his early disciples, such as the apostle Peter, 
at least at times spoke Galilean Aramaic, Peter being told on the night 
Christ was taken into custody: "Certainly you also are one of them, for, in 
fact, your dialect gives you away." (Mt 26:73) This may have been said 
because the apostle was using Galilean Aramaic at the time, though that is 
not certain, or he may have been speaking a Galilean Hebrew that differed 
dialectally from that employed in Jerusalem or elsewhere in Judea."
Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 1, 143-4 [Watchtower Bible and Tract 
-Heinz Schmitz


"Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without 
forgetting." - Elizabeth Bibesco

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

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