[b-hebrew] Queries about Hebrew in the first century

Sesamo m. sesamox at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 7 04:03:31 EST 2009


Most scholars think that Jesus and his disciples spoke Aramaic, but there are a few scholars who think they spoke a variety of Hebrew with Aramaic influence. I know some members of this list tend to favour the latter theory, so I don't mean to propose a debate about which option you prefer, what I want is to know the ramifications of this less known theory.
 
My main question is: in this scenario, what would the role of the Aramaic language be? Where and by whom would the Aramaic be spoken?
For instance, when Jesus talk to the Samaritans, would he use Aramaic, or maybe Greek? In the court of Herod Antipas, would they speak Hebrew like the common people, Aramaic, or Greek?
 
According to this theory, that Jesus usually spoke in Hebrew, the explanation for the Aramaic phrases in the Gosples would be that they were exceptions, and that could be a reason why they are transliterated and then translated. But I've got a few queries about this as well:
 
* Mark 7:34, "Ephphata". 
I guess it might be that the person Jesus healed was one of the many people who came from Damascus or any other area where Aramaic was spoken, and so Jesus simply spoke in his own language. Of course, this is just speculation, but I think it is plausible. But the following expample could be a little more problematic:
 
* Mark 5:41: "Talitha koum". 
In this case, Jairus was a respected Jew who lived in Galilee, so for the proponents of this theory it would be more difficult to explain why his family spoke Aramaic. In the gospels there may be a lot of small details that are not specified. For instance, what if Jairus' wife was from, say, Damascus, and so she and her daughter usually spoke Aramaic? In that case, Jesus used Aramaic to address that girl in the presence of their parents. This explanation is too speculative, but do you know of a better explanation?
 
* Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34: "Eli Eli/Eloi Eloi, lama sabachthani?" 
I've read that this might be Hebrew, even "sabachthani", which might be a loan from Aramaic. So in this case the reason to transliterate this phrase would be not because it was Aramaic, but to explain the confusion with Eliah (personally, I think "Eli" was more likely than "Eloi" since this explain better the confusion).
 
* I guess examples such as "Boanerges", "Kefa", "bar" etc in this theory could be explained just as loan words from a once very influential language such as Aramaic, is this right?
 
I'd like to know the opinions of those who thend to believe in the Hebrew theory, since there are a few details I don't understand about it.
 
Thanks!
Sergio
Madrid
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