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What Evidence Is There That The NT Was Originally Written In Greek? :-)

Discussion in 'Bibliology & Hermeneutics' started by The Thadman, Dec 31, 2002.

  1. Greek

  2. Hebrew

  3. Aramaic/Syriac

  4. Coptic

  5. Latin

  6. English (THINK before you chose this one :-p )

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
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  1. dignitized

    dignitized Well-Known Member

    +724
    Thad: very true, just as the church at Rome writes all of its addresses in LATIN but again, this is more a need to establish primacy than a need to spread the gospel message. Does this mean that Peter wrote his epistles in Latin? I think not. Paul was a Roman citizen does this mean he wrote his epistles in Latin? I think not.

    Paul believed in being all things to all men. You cannot be that unless you speak in words that all men can understand. Paul was a VERY well educated man. There is no reason to doubt that he spoke, read and wrote in Greek. We must remember that this is not some obscure backwater language we are speaking of but the language of commerce in this all the lands of the Roman Empire (Latin having not yet reached it's majority) and was known by the bulk of people. Aramaic on the other hand was a local language used only in the Palestine and adjacent areas.

    Now, concerning the existence of MSS, I have to laugh. The assumption that because the oldest MSS we CURRENTLY have are in language X, that it must be the original language ( ignores the fact that the people, to whom these documents were written, would never have been able to understand language X) to be proof that these documents must have been written in Language X is a bit of a leap. Let us not forget that the best and oldest MSS were in the library at Alexandria which burned.

    I have to agree that in the re gion of Palestine that the Scriptures used were in the vernacular Aramaic tongue, just like in Hellenistic regions the Scriptures were in Greek. If anything this makes a case for the use of Scriptures in the tongue of the people rather than in a language the people do not know.


    "Welcome to The Aramaic New Testament A proud part of . . ." Let us not forget that PRIDE is a deadly sin.
     
  2. The Thadman

    The Thadman Well-Known Member

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    Paul was born and raised a Jew. The vernacular of Jews was Aramaic :) Tarsus was an Aramaic speaking city. A lot of Aramaic survives in the Greek versions of his letters ("Maran atha," "Cephas," etc.).

    I severely doubt that Paul would have been comfortable enough to write an original composition from scratch in Greek. I mean, even Josephus wrote his works in Aramaic originally, then translated into Greek (a language that he, himself admitted that he couldn't properly pronounce and that the learning of the language was discouraged). I also feel that, like Josephus, Paul might have written an Aramaic original, then translated it. As for evidence, I've posted it on my site. :)

    I don't doubt that he knew the languge. I doubt that it was the language that he was most comfortable in. Aramaic was not just a "local" language, but still the lingua franca in MUCH of the eastern Roman empire (Rome might have ruled it, but the people still spoke it) as well of where he was respectively born and raised.

    Eureka! Someone who thinks like I do :)

    With the logic people are using, not too long ago (before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls) they would have all thought that the Old Testament was originally written in Greek! :)

    I'm trying to pin down the language that the originals were written in. It's very understandable that Scripture transmitted in languages that people could understand. But, in order for that to have happened, a translation must have taken place. :)

    Would you like me to change it to "Happy to be a part of . . ."?

    That's the sense I was trying to convey, but "Proud to be a part of . . ." was literarily more alliterative :-D

    Shlomo sageeo la-kh!
     
  3. Job_38

    Job_38 <font size="1"> In perfect orbit they have circled

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    What the heck are you doing? You are making an assumption, then trying to prove it? That goes against all logic! No matter what, you will come up with what you want, because you already have the sollution! Dear God!
     
  4. The Thadman

    The Thadman Well-Known Member

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    Merf?

    Just because I'm an Aramaic primacist does NOT mean that I will evaluate a proof for the Greek authorship of the NT assuming that it was originally written in Aramaic! :)

    Doing that would be the same as if trying to prove that the NT was originally written in Greek while assuming that it's written in Greek. :)

    For the sake of arguing, I'd have to assume that the original language was unknown. I thought that went without saying :)

    I was describing the Greek primacy proofs that I've heard as what you just described as "making an assumption, then trying to prove it."

    We're on the same page, m'friend (I hope).

    Shlomo! (Peace!)
     
  5. dignitized

    dignitized Well-Known Member

    +724
    Paul was born and raised a GREEK Jew in a Hellenistic culture. He was a Roman Citizen. The vernacular language of the Palestinian Jews was Aramaic, the language of the Jews in the Hellenistic world was Greek. If you have any doubts, I recommend your hands on one of Michael Grants books. Either his history of ancient Israel or maybe his book on the Hellenistic world. From there you can find lots and lots of research on the topic :) Or you could try Durant, or Toynbee or any of the good historians.

    It is historically known that Greek was the primary language of the eastern empire. Remember that the eastern empire was a HELLENISTIC culture. From Alexander the great onwards into the Roman world, the lands of the middle east had a decidedly GREEK flavor. It was the Greek empire with a Greek king that the Maccabees fought. It was Zeus who was enthroned in the Temple in Jerusalem.

    Its horribly sad that so many GREEK :D Manuscripts were destroyed in the fire at the library in Alexandria.

    Gee its soooo terrible that we can’t be as enlightened as you are. Forgive us. :( :bow:

    You are welcome to explain it any way you choose. Pride is STILL and always a sin according to scripture. :) Humility is to be desired not pride.
     
  6. The Thadman

    The Thadman Well-Known Member

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    Er, the ammount of Aramaic Paul used in his letters seems to point otherwise (Romans 8:15, 1 Corinthians 16:22, and Galatians 4:6 to name a few). On top of that, I need to point you in the direction of three articles on my website concerning Paul's Letters:

    http://www.AramaicNT.org/HTML/1CORINTH/evidences/ToBeBurned.html

    http://www.AramaicNT.org/HTML/ROMANS/evidences/DoWeWaitForIt.html

    http://www.AramaicNT.org/HTML/ROMANS/evidences/RighteousMan.html

    Tarsus, nonetheless, was an Aramaic speaking city. Coins struck there confirm this.

    Some more evidence:

    How do we know that they were all Greek? :)

    Are you so proud as to scoff at me? ... :-(

    I do hope you find the irony in that statement...

    Shlomo. (Peace.)
     
  7. MizDoulos

    MizDoulos <font color=6c2dc7><b>Justified by grace through f

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    Let's remember to respect each other's opinions and to respond with kindness.


    [noflame][/noflame]
     
  8. The Thadman

    The Thadman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Miz :)

    Shlomo! (Peace!)
     
  9. judge

    judge Regular Member

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    &nbsp;

    Yes...and the thing is that both the greek manuscripts and the aramaic read the same. they are both very early witnesses of the good news, each one confirming the other.

    There is no doubt that the Aramaic has been far less studied by western believers&nbsp; (there has been virtually no systematic analysis of it)...but even if scholars one day do admit it's primacy, it still reads the same.

    lets love one another.
     
  10. dignitized

    dignitized Well-Known Member

    +724
    The problem with the notion that the NT was composed originally in Aramaic is simple - in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC the Primary language or lingua franca of the Middle Eastern region was Aramaic. From this time period we find coins, Manuscripts, etc which demonstrate this to be true. However, during the reign of Alexander the Great of Macedonia (334-325 BC) and his Hellenistic successors, between 325 BC and the Rise of Rome, the lingua franca was transferred from Aramaic to Greek in the bulk of the Middle East. This is an historic fact which can be verified in the works of men like Michael Grant, Will Durant, S. M. Burnstein, P. Green, S. W. Baron, M. Hengel, and many more of Scholarly repute.

    AT the time of Christ the Eastern Mediterranean was at least superficially Greek in culture, some nations only to a Hellenistic facade while other kingdoms were wholly Greek in language and culture.

    Judea definately had a Hellenistic facade over its natural Hebrew culture. The Sadducees were clients of the Hellenistic Egyptians and of the Hellenistic Seleucids. They ruled Judea as the council of elders and the High priest/king of the Jewish people. These people imitated the their Greek friends and neighbors in many ways.

    The Ptolemies and the Seleucids also settled Greek colonies in and around Judea in order to keep these “truculent” people in check. It was after a conflict between Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Empire that Antiochas Epiphanies set up the Statue of Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem., spurring the Maccabeean revolt.

    Now, during this period, many Jews relocated to Greek Cities such as Alexandria in Egypt, Tarsus in Anatolia, Athens and Corinth in Peloponnesia, often buy choice due to trade, and also by force. These cities were wholly Greek colonies. The Jewish Community in Alexandria was noted for quality and proliferation of Jewish literature in the Greek language including the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT canon from both the original Hebrew and Aramaic sources. Why would the Jews of Alexandria translate the OT into Greek if they were still speaking Aramaic? Why was the Septuagint the standard torah of the Diaspora Jews if they read and spoke other than Greek as their lingua franca?

    Now, if the Diaspora Jews and the rest of the Mediterranean world spoke and wrote in Greek, and the Epistles of the NT were written by a Diaspora Jew with Roman citizenship who obviously knew Greek, why would he write those same epistles in a language which was relatively unknown outside of the Syria and Palestine? If Paul was not fluent in Greek how is it that he went to Athens and spoke to the Greeks in their own tongue? (He would have needed to speak Greek and spoken it quite eloquently to have received audience in the cultural capital of the Greco-Roman world.

    Like it or not the evidence is overwhelming that the NT was for the most part composed in Greek the primary exception being Matthew which is reputed by the church fathers to have been written in Hebrew.

    God bless.

    BTW - if there is such startling evidence to support the claim that the NT was penned in Aramaic, how is it that it has not gained wider circulation academically? How is it that teenager is better informed than men who have worked upwards of 30 years researching such history? I have to wonder . . . . I think thadman that the more time you spend in serious academic research on the subject, the more evidence you will find to support that the NT was composed in Greek.

    The Lord be with you.
     
  11. judge

    judge Regular Member

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    Hi Br Max! hope you are well!

    Br Max:

    God bless.

    BTW - if there is such startling evidence to support the claim that the NT was penned in Aramaic, how is it that it has not gained wider circulation academically? How is it that teenager is better informed than men who have worked upwards of 30 years researching such history?

    &nbsp;

    Judge:The conclusion I presently hold is that the possibility has never been investigated by western scholars. When europeans began to translate the bible into english, for some reason it was assumed that the greek was the original. I am not aware of any reason to warrant this assumption.

    At the time there probably wasn't a copy of the aramaic pe****ta in Europe!

    And so for centuries this myth of a greek original has grown, and all the while it was never considered that htis asumption may be wrong (not by protestants anyway).

    There may be some evidence that in the time of Pope Leo X he did not share this view.

    In a book written in 16th century Italy, "Masoret haMasoret", by Rabbi Eliahu Levita, this story is written:

    "Now, when I was in Rome, I saw three Chaldeans, who arrived from the country of Prester John, having been sent for by Pope Leo X. They were masters of the Syriac language and literature, though their vernacular language was Arabic. The special language, however, wherin the books were written, as well as that of the gospels of the Christians which they brought with them was Syriac, which is also called Aramean, Babylonian, Assyrian... Pope Leo X. had sent for them, in order to correct by their Codices his exemplar of his New Testament, which was written in Latin.....Now I saw them reading this (Syriac) Psalter without points, and asked them, Have you points, or any signs to indicate the vowels? and they answered me: "No! but we have been conversant with that language from our youth till now, and therefore, know how to read without points." ( Eliahu ben Asher Ashkenazi (Elias Levita), Masoret HaMasoret (first published: Venice 1538), edited by C. D. Ginsburg, in: Harry M. Orlinsky (ed.), The Library of Biblical Studies, New York: Ktav, 1968, pp. 130-131. )

    &nbsp;

    Unfortunately trying to defend a greek original seesm to present us with additional problems defending the scriptures because they do seem to bear the mark of being translated... no two are identical. This can be contrasted with the pe****ta where all ancient copies of which there are around 350 complete ones are identical.

    So we have the situation today where western scholars argue that the greek precedes the aramaic and Aramaic speaking Christians such as the COE saying "hold on!....we have the original"

    I think the internal evidence should perhaps give us some clue.

    All the best

    :wave:
     
  12. filosofer

    filosofer Senior Veteran

    +287
    Lutheran
    How many western scholars do you know? The scholars I have been studied with and worked with over the past 20 years have indeed studied these kinds of issues. Studying the issues and then rejecting the Aramaic original hypothesis does not mean that the scholars have not investigated it.

    Evidence for the assumption as opposed to study and decisions based on that study?

    I think you might want to reconsider how you phrase some of your claims. If I had to write a paper and get published every time I discover that something is NOT true, I would forever be writing. Rather I could write on discoveries that I consider to be true. But someone cannot assume that because I didn't publish a specific conclusion, I hadn't studied or considered the issue. I may have studied it and discarded it. Every scholar I know does the same thing.
     
  13. judge

    judge Regular Member

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    &nbsp;&nbsp;


    &nbsp;&nbsp;

    &nbsp;&nbsp;

    &nbsp;


    Filosopher:
    How many western scholars do you know? The scholars I have been studied with and worked with over the past 20 years have indeed studied these kinds of issues. Studying the issues and then rejecting the Aramaic original hypothesis does not mean that the scholars have not investigated it.

    &nbsp;

    judge:

    Hi filosofer. Firstly although I find this interesting to study to me it does not really matter because all both the greek and the aramaic (and any other translations too) all read the same.

    Secondly I do have much to learn[

    . If you know of any studies that have been done in this area I would love to hear about them. Can you give me some details about the work that you know of or that others have done?&nbsp;&nbsp;


    &nbsp;
     
  14. dignitized

    dignitized Well-Known Member

    +724
    judge - its an interesting thing to look at I am sure. However - the writings of the church fathers support a Greek original, the facts of history support a Greek original and I have seen no conclusive evidence that the NT was NOT written in Greek originally. It has been stated that Aramaic words have been used in the Greek text - is it shocking to see that? In this ENGLISH language forum you will find words which are accepted in the English language with origins in french, German, Spanish, Latin, etc. A cultural interchange results in linguistic exchange. Therefore the use of the Aramaic word maranatha is not proof that the text was originally written in Aramaic. It simply means that the word became part of the Greek language.
     
  15. judge

    judge Regular Member

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    &nbsp;

    Hi brother Max! ..hope you are well also.

    As I have said it doesn't really matter too much to me, as they all read much the same. But&nbsp;I do find it interesting because I am interested in the scriptures, and there origin and how they have been preserved for us.

    So i find myself seeing that most western t(edited,,somehow half my response did not show up)

    &nbsp;

    So&nbsp;I find myself seeing that most western theologians think greek was first and the our Aramaic speaking bretheren say the pe****ta was first. Can you explain how the early church fathers support a greek original?&nbsp; Thanks in adavance.
     
  16. Higher Truth

    Higher Truth Active Member

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    If my memory is correct, there were a few scriptures that I read in the Murdock Translation, as well as the Lamsa translation that were a little "cloudy". I do not have those references currently in front of me, but I will post one of those scriptures from two Greek based sources, and then you can comment on them.

    SCRIPTURE THAT SHOW THE DIVINITY OF JESUS

    1 Timothy 3:16

    KJV - And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory

    LITERAL - And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in flesh, was justified in Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
     
  17. The Thadman

    The Thadman Well-Known Member

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    Let's see how the Aramaic tackles this:

    ܘܫܪܝܪܐܝܬ ܪܒ ܗܘ ܐܪܙܐ ܗܢܐ ܕܟܐܢܘܬܐ ܕܐܬܓÜ_ܝ ܒܒܤܪ ܘܐܙܕܕܩ ܒܪܘܚ ܘܐܬܚܙܝ Ü_Ü¡Ü_ܐܟܐ ܘܐܬܟܪܙ ܒܝܬ ܥܡܡܐ ܘܐܬܗܝܡܢ ܒܥÜ_ܡܐ ܘܐܤܬÜ_Ü© ܒܫܘܒܚܐ ܀

    u-Sareeroyeeth (and truly) rav (made great) hoo (is) arzo (the mystery) hono (this) d-kheenootha (of godliness/righteousness) d-ethglee (revealed/manifested) ba-vsar (in flesh) u-ezdadaq (and justified) b-rookk (in spirit) u-ethkkzee (and seen) l-malakho (unto angels) u-ethkrez (and proclaimed) beyth (house) 'amme (nations) u-ethhaiman (and believed) b-'olmo (in eternity) u-estalaq (and ascended) b-shoovkho (in glory).

    And truly great is this mystery. Of Godliness revealed in flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen to (by) the Angels, proclaimed the house of nations, believed in eternity, and ascended in glory.

    Shlomo!
    (Peace!)
     
  18. Singleman

    Singleman Alone but not really

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    &nbsp;This is an interesting theory. I'm not a Greek scholar but I've read that experts can usually tell if a text has been translated or was originally written in that language. As for external evidence, I know that Matthew is said by Papias to have written his gospel first in "Hebrew" (probably Aramaic), but many dispute this.&nbsp; Some portions of the gospels may well have been first written in Aramaic, but by the time the finished works were circulating, they were in Greek. Also, I would speculate that Paul wrote his letters in Greek since that was the universal language of the Roman world. Even in Palestine, most people were able to read Greek. :holy:
     
  19. judge

    judge Regular Member

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    Filosofer or Br Max or anyone else who voted for greek...what is the evidence that greek is the original?

    Does any exist? :wave:
     
  20. dignitized

    dignitized Well-Known Member

    +724
    Judge - 2000 years of history :) okay not quite 2000 but close enough :p
     
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