Thursday, June 05, 2014

Jesus' languages yet again

THE BBC: Who, What, Why: What language would Jesus have spoken? Now Sebastian Brock has weighed in:
Both the Pope and the Israeli prime minister are right, says Dr Sebastian Brock, emeritus reader in Aramaic at Oxford University, but it was important for Netanyahu to clarify. Hebrew was the language of scholars and the scriptures. But Jesus's "everyday" spoken language would have been Aramaic. And it is Aramaic that most biblical scholars say he spoke in the Bible. This is the language that Mel Gibson used for The Passion of the Christ, although not all the words could be found from 1st Century Aramaic, and some of the script used words from later centuries
Perhaps. But if the inferences about Hebrew diglossia in the Second Temple period are correct, Hebrew was probably also a widely spoken language, not just a scholarly one. (See discussion in yesterday's post here.) The article also quotes Jonathan Katz on whether Jesus knew Latin (unlikely) or Greek (probably some).

See yesterday's post (linked to above) and links for more on this story.

I have posted endlessly on Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ and its use of Aramaic (and the other languages). Many of the relevant posts are here, here, here (Latin too), here (Latin and Greek too), here, here, here, here, here (Latin too), here, here, here (Greek), here, here (Hebrew and Greek too), and here. And my review of the movie is here.

Also, this seems relevant, sort of.