[b-hebrew] "Mind" in Hebrew and Aramaic

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Tue Apr 4 12:13:07 EDT 2006

Dr. Haig,

Haig: That's my point exactly. Why add an additional term when lev covers it?
What would the additional term have been, if it was Hebrew? What about Aramaic?

BJWIII: See the following note:

NOTE: TWOT, Vol. 2, p. 1037, writes of the Aramaic, "Lamed," speaks of
"LBB ( lebab) heart. This word is more common in BA than is leb. The reverse is
the case in Hebrew."

Haig: Half-true - it's alien from the meaning these terms carry in the Old
Testament. In New Testament Greek, there was some distinction, although it was
much less pronounced than in classical Greek thought, due to the Hebraic
influence on the former. It is questionable whether, for instance, nous and
kardia are always used synonymously in the NT (sometimes they are, not always).
That again gets to the point. Where does Aramaic stand in this regard?

BJWIII: If you will notice the first clause in the quote, "In this matter modern
usage does not correspond," it is modern usage that is trying to make the
distinction. All the quotes from TWOT, Richardson, NIDNTT, ALL make it quite
clear that the LXX was the basis of the understanding in the NT. All one has to
do is look at the uses found in the the Intertestmental period. Furthermore, the
Classical Greek use of the words used translate LBB & LeB,
     "Both of these are good class. Gk. words, and  potentially introduce
philosophical associations which are very different from the Hebraic thought
world. But thee influence of the LXX must mot be forgotten, and by the time
these words were at the disposal of NT writers they had picked up certain
Hebraic colourings through there usage in the LXX and its influence upon NT
writers,  even upon Luke, who perhaps came Christianity from a non-Jewish
background, and upon Paul, who read his OT in Heb. but in fact relied very much
on the LXX version." "The NT reproduces the OT meaning of leb, and, like the
ACCUSTOMED TO BEAR (My emphasis). It is interesting to note that the Jewish
writers Philo .... and Josephus... use kardia in its stricter physiological
sense. But in the NT as in the OT the heart is the seat of the reason and will
(cf. Mark 7.21) s well as of the emotions; that is, NT follows OT, both in the
specific senses of the term 'heart' and in the the general meaning of "inner
man' (cf. I Pet. 3.4)."

The question that you are asking, I think, (assuming that Mark, et al were
speaking in Aramaic and not Hebrew) is,  "Was there an Aramaic word that
corresponds roughly with the Hebrew, LBB or LeB?" Yes, there was, it was LBB and
LeB, though frequency in use is the exact opposite of the Hebrew (See NOTE
above)." The heart, as used in the OT, is contrast to that found in secualr
Greek, in that the latter refers to the "only one function within the system of
spiritual and intellectual processes." Since the heart in Hebrew has
multi-dimensional meanings it is no surprise that the Greek equivalant will only
center on one aspect of that meaning. Just as in modern psychology, with the
emphasis on the "mind," while neglecting the OT and NT emphasis on the mind,
emotions and will as the entire inner person. Furthermore,  I think that Mark is
quoting Peter, who is quoting Jesus accurately, but decides to make an
interpretative decision, for the sake of his audience, to indicate what the
"mind" was understood to be in Hebrew/Aramaic using the corresponding Greek

En Xristwi,

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

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