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Was the New Testament written in Aramaic?


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#1 Howard509

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:57 AM

George Lamsa was a member of the Assyrian Church of the East who was the main promoter to the Western world of the Assyrian Christian belief that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, not Greek. This could make sense considering that Aramaic was the primary language of the first Christians.

http://en.wikipedia....ki/George_Lamsa

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. -
Teilhard de Chardin


#2 Guest_EEB aka AASB-AWSW_*

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:35 AM

I have used and read Lamsa Bible translation for my personal use in that it is not necessarily more accurate but of those text that were written in Aramaic, Lamsa's translation is more accurate due to the fact that he grow-up speaking the original dialect spoken in the time of Jesus.
http://en.wikipedia....ki/Lamsa_Bible
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshitta

However, it is still an incomplete work in regards to New Testament doctrine because it was abridged by the Church. I have used the Jerome Biblical Commentary, not so much for the commentary content but of the content listing of all the known or allowed documentation at the time of its publication.

If you take only what is in the Bible, regardless of versions, you will never get the whole picture of all the possible doctrine that is available. Therefore, you will never really get the whole truth and nothing but the truth in one book, because there is just to much to take into account, and then these various accounts are subject to translation and opinion.

However, this does not mean that there is nothing of value in these documents but one must always take into account the period and validity of their origin.

Here is an interesting list to ponder:
http://en.wikipedia....ed_manuscripts

Edited by EEB aka AASB-AWSW, 20 February 2013 - 04:02 PM.


#3 Bonita

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:46 AM

I don't think it is possible that the entire New Testament was written in Aramaic since most of it was written for the Gentiles who would not understand Aramaic. For instance, we know that the Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark on bequest of the church in Rome and that he translated Aramaic for his readers. Probably, the Q Source, written by Andrew, was originally written in Aramaic and then translated.

#4 Howard509

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

Many ethnic groups in the Middle East at the time of Jesus spoke Aramaic. Does the Urantia Book directly say that the New Testament was written in Greek?

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. -
Teilhard de Chardin


#5 Bonita

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

It says that Matthew was written in Aramaic because it was written for the Jewish Christians who spoke Aramaic. The language of the other Gospels is not mentioned, but it does state who and where they were written, most by Greeks in Greek speaking lands. We are also told that Luke, a Greek physician, used Isador's writing as a source, which was written in Greek.


121:8.4-5 2. The Gospel of Matthew. The so-called Gospel according to Matthew is the record of the Master's life which was written for the edification of Jewish Christians. The author of this record constantly seeks to show in Jesus' life that much which he did was that "it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet." Matthew's Gospel portrays Jesus as a son of David, picturing him as showing great respect for the law and the prophets.


The Apostle Matthew did not write this Gospel. It was written by Isador, one of his disciples, who had as a help in his work not only Matthew's personal remembrance of these events but also a certain record which the latter had made of the sayings of Jesus directly after the crucifixion. This record by Matthew was written in Aramaic; Isador wrote in Greek. There was no intent to deceive in accrediting the production to Matthew. It was the custom in those days for pupils thus to honor their teachers.


121:89 But Luke had other sources of information. He not only interviewed scores of eyewitnesses to the numerous episodes of Jesus' life which he records, but he also had with him a copy of Mark's Gospel, that is, the first four fifths, Isador's narrative, and a brief record made in the year A.D. 78 at Antioch

by a believer named Cedes.



#6 Howard509

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

As a native of Antioch of Syria, is it possible that Luke's primary language was Aramaic?

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. -
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#7 Bonita

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

Antioch, in the first century, was completely Hellenized in culture and language. That's not to say that the people who lived outside of the city didn't primarily speak Aramaic; they probably spoke both. But there is evidence that the early churches arose first within the cities, particularly port cities due to access and conformity of culture and language, which would have been Greek. Most of western civilization was completely Hellenized by the first century.

There's an excellent book by Rodney Stark titled Cities of God, Harper, San Francisco, 2006.He writes:


In the first century far more Jews spoke Greek than Hebrew or Aramaic. Nearly all the Jews in the Diaspora spoke Greek - which was why the Torah was translated into Greek (the Septuagint). Many Jews raised in Palestine were Greek speakers too, including Paul, who "was a Hellenistic Jew who grew up in an environment in which Greek was the everyday language." (p.77-78)

Even most of the Jews of the Diaspora who did not assimilate were remarkably Hellenized. As noted, they spoke Greek and thought in Greek - Philo referred to Greek as "our language." Most had taken Greek names, and "intermarriage was frequent". (p125)

Like Josephus, Philo also described the widespread observance of Jewish customs, and both of them confirmed that it was common for Jews to invite Gentiles to attend services in the synagogues. This was facilitated by the fact that the language of the Diasporan synagogues was not Hebrew, but Greek, and therefore comprehensible not only to everyone residing in Hellenic regions, but also to all educated Romans, since they more frequently spoke Greek than Latin. (p6)


Here's a quote from TUB which explains the depth and importance of Hellenization and also states that the writings of the early Christians were in Greek:

121:6.2 In the days of Jesus three languages prevailed in Palestine: The common people spoke some dialect of Aramaic; the priests and rabbis spoke Hebrew; the educated classes and the better strata of Jews in general spoke Greek. The early translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek at Alexandria was responsible in no small measure for the subsequent predominance of the Greek wing of Jewish culture and theology. And the writings of the Christian teachers were soon to appear in the same language. The renaissance of Judaism dates from the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. This was a vital influence which later determined the drift of Paul's Christian cult toward the West instead of toward the East.

Edited by Bonita, 20 February 2013 - 01:25 PM.





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