What language was Jesus most at home with?

by fulltimestudent 45 Replies latest jw friends

  • Saintbertholdt

    Hi CalebInFlorida,

    Here's some information on the relationship between Ancient Egyptian and Coptic:

    The Spoken Language System: Some scholars hold that the ancient Egyptians had another language in addition to the written form. Father Shenouda Maher summarized the opinion of Chain concerning the popular national language of ancient Egypt, . . . in which he emphasizes that the Egyptian and Coptic languages have been together simultaneously since olden times. Chain has presented a copious and detailed study and has indicated that the Egyptian language is not a spoken language is so far as it is basically derived from Coptic, assuming that Coptic is the origin, and that the Egyptian language was used by the priests and the scribes in their written work only.

    This means that the Egyptian language is the language of the Egyptian who spoke in Coptic and who used this language for scriptural purposes only. This Egyptian language was only known to scribes and totally unknown to the public.19

    The two systems could be explained by assuming all Egyptian since very ancient times spoke one language, but this language took a different form when used in writing. The oral language was colloquial and used by the common people. Although the spoken language developed over time, it was not written during the rule of the pharaohs. As noted earlier, it was finally written in the third century A. D., utilizing the 31 letters from Greek and Demotic. Utilizing all of these letters allowed for the correct pronunciation of the written language, primarily because the ancient Egyptian did not include vowels.20

    In any case, the Coptic language “is, at base, a dialect of Ancient Egyptian; many of the nouns and verbs found in the Hieroglyphic texts remain unchanged in Coptic, and a large number of others can, by making proper allowance for phonetic decay and dialectic differences, be identified without difficulty.”21


  • CalebInFloroda

    Yes, I know the relationship between Egyptian and Coptic because I'm a philologist and linguist, and I have worked as a professional translator and interpreter for both the Catholic Church and an ecumenical Bible translation.

    But Coptic is still what we call the language of Egypt during the first century. To not differentiate how Hellenism changed the language of the people of Egypt so much that, though related, it became something else by the time of the Second Temple is intellectually dishonest. Coptic was no longer Egyptian anymore than lemonade is still mere lemon juice.

    And regardless of that, even a charlatan pretending to be the promised Messiah among my people Israel would not do so speaking the language of a Gentile. If there was such a historical Jesus of Nazareth, such a man would not have gathered such crowds who came to hear him teach if he spoke a language the common Jewish people did not understand. He could also not qualify to stand before the Sanhedrin without representation if he could not speak the language of the Jews.

  • Saintbertholdt
    And regardless of that, even a charlatan pretending to be the promised Messiah among my people Israel would not do so speaking the language of a Gentile.

    No I'm not saying he did not speak Aramaic, just that he had a heavy Egyptian (Coptic) accent. If he was charismatic perhaps women were attracted to him first and they found his accent foreign and attractive. The men later just went with to listen because their wives would nag them to go.

    ...such a man would not have gathered such crowds who came to hear him teach if he spoke a language the common Jewish people did not understand.

    Like I said perhaps it was a foreign attraction thing and then it evolved into much more. Look at the synoptic gospels. They never fully agree about what Jesus said in any instance. I suspect they couldn't make out what he was saying clearly and had to make things up. The disciples later got together to try and figure it out but they never really cleared up matters. Its almost like a Scotsman addressing an American audience. They share a common language but the Americans would not have a real clue what the Scotsman was saying. They would have to fill in the blanks. Then when one gets to the gospel of John one gets the idea that he might have been ingesting a hallucinogenic of some sort and not paying attention to Jesus at all. Jesus is God and all that and he almost never agrees with the Synoptics. Then when you get to Revelation you know he's on something.

  • stan livedeath
    stan livedeath


    everyone knows jesus spoke english. its wot the bible wos wrote in. innit

  • CalebInFloroda

    None of the gospels are historical records like the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Fundamentalist Christians teach. Each is a catechesis built upon the Gospel message that was being preached by the Christians. Regardless of what you may have learned from the Watchtower, the Gospels don't agree becuase simply they are not supposed to.

    The first account and the simplest is the Petrine Gospel. Composed by Mark, a non-apostle, because of its Petrine source the composition became the basis for Luke and the finalized version of Matthew. Mark is the primitive account, written simply to impress the Christian view that the Passion of Christ was a victory and not a defeat.

    The Matthean account is based on a sayings gospel (tradition holds that the oracles are those spoken of by Papias and may even be the theorized Q), and is a catechesis for Jewish Christians. It is designed not in chronilogical order like Mark, but in in order of five lessons to impress upon Jews that Jesus is the Messiah that Israel has been waiting for. The five sections are meant to copy the five Books of Moses. This gospel relies heavily on midrash, a Jewish form of exegesis to "prove" Jesus is he Messiah of Hebrew Scripture.

    Luke's account is a Gentile catechesis, meant to impress the universality of Jesus. Written in the style of a lesson to a Gentile who has converted to Judaism, Luke also builds on Mark, employing a chronilogical and very precise order to show that Jesus is the Savior not only of the Jews but of the world.

    None of are meant to be history. The Jehovah's Witness theology on this point is contrived on the Gnostic belief that a written text is a greater revelation from a divine source than anything. In reality Christianity is based on a person, Jesus of Nazareth, and the confession of the college of apostles. Each gospel is merely a different tool used to spread this witness in catechism form. Like all catechisms, each is adjusted for the culture and audience it is designed for. The synoptic gospels are catechisms.

    The gospel of John is a late testimony, not so much catechesis as it is reflection and theology based on the gospel message. It uses none of the earlier sources because it's intention is exegesis, explain what Jesus means and why this meaning should convince an audience in the face of the growing threat from Gnosticism and other worldly philosophies.

    One has to let go of the Watchtower views which demand the gospels are historical accounts, even those who become agnostic or atheist. It is the earmark of academic ignorance to claim that these books were even intended to be read like history.

    Regardles if Jesus was real, regardless of what he spoke, one should not fan the flames of Watchtower/Fundamentalism ignorance by advancing the equally contrived in order to disprove straw man claims.

  • Simon

    Wait, wait, wait ... you mean Jesus wasn't American?

    All the WatchTowers and convention drama's don't represent a Jewish guy at all.

  • Saintbertholdt
    The first account and the simplest is the Petrine Gospel.

    The Gospel of Thomas seems to be earlier and is probably Q.

  • CalebInFloroda


    Okay, if you say the Gospel of Thomas seems to be earlier and was probably Q, simply use the scientific method to prove that, right here and now.

    The scientific method is the model used in Biblical criticism by philologists to demonstrate textual transmission. I am sure you know how to do this because I doubt you would be making any such claims here without having validated your views without due process.

    Make sure you include the data of those who validate your conclusions as well.

  • Saintbertholdt

    Oh thats easy.

    In the very same way that Luke and Matthew follow Mark.

    And how is that accomplished?

Share this