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The History Behind Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francisís Awkward Jesus Moment
Daily Beast ^ | 06/01/2014 | Jay Parini

Posted on 06/01/2014 6:27:38 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

A tense exchange between the Israeli prime minister and the pope over Jesus’ language points to the complexity of the Middle East’s history—and suggests a way toward understanding.

Apart from when Pope Francis stopped to pray at the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank, perhaps the most provocative moment in his whirlwind tour of the Holy Land happened during his interview with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,” said Netanyahu firmly. The Pope looked unhappy, correcting the prime minister. “He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.”

Oh, dear. So what language, or languages, did Jesus speak? It’s more than just a small point of historical interest for linguists and historians. There is political content here.

Of course, Netanyahu made his point to emphasize that Jesus lived in the land of Israel over two thousand years ago, when no “Palestinians” were in view. Many Israelis today don’t like to think of this tiny region between the Mediterranean and Jordan as ever having been called Palestine, though the original word (peleshet) occurs at least 250 times in the Hebrew scriptures.

This complex geographical area was certainly called Palestine (in Greek) at least as early as the fifth century B.C.E., when Herodotus used that term. By the second century before Christ, the Romans widely called the region Palestine, probably in an attempt to undermine the Jewish presence in Jerusalem and neighboring states. The Ottoman Empire (1517-1917) preferred this term for the area during their four centuries of control, and during the British Mandate in the mid-20th century it was always called Palestine. Not until the Jewish state was restored in 1948 did the term Israel come back into active play, with native Arabs from the region demoted to “Palestinians.”

(Excerpt) Read more at thedailybeast.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: israel; netanyahu; popefrancis
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1 posted on 06/01/2014 6:27:38 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

2 posted on 06/01/2014 6:28:15 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: onyx

To me ... I hope I find this, AFTER, our FReepathon.


3 posted on 06/01/2014 6:30:18 PM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: SeekAndFind
Apart from when Pope Francis stopped to pray at the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank, perhaps the most provocative moment in his whirlwind tour of the Holy Land happened during his interview with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,” said Netanyahu firmly. The Pope looked unhappy, correcting the prime minister. “He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.”

Oh, dear. So what language, or languages, did Jesus speak? It’s more than just a small point of historical interest for linguists and historians. There is political content here.

IB4TPWMA

4 posted on 06/01/2014 6:32:25 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: SeekAndFind

Well, it seems that some people in Judea still spoke Hebrew. The Talmud notes that when Hillel moved there from Babylonia (where Aramaic was the norm) he had trouble understanding his Jerusalemite wife (who spoke Hebrew). As well, around 100 AD a group of scholars in Galilee consulted a woman from Jerusalem about certain Hebrew words, as she was a native speaker.

When Jesus is quoted in the gospels a few times in Aramaic, it is more likely than not that these are exceptions to his general speech, and were recorded and preserved exactly as he said them, for that reason.

See Tresmontant, “The Hebrew Christ”, and Carmignac, “Birth of the Synoptic Gospels”, for more discussion.


5 posted on 06/01/2014 6:36:54 PM PDT by CondorFlight (I)
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To: All


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6 posted on 06/01/2014 6:38:54 PM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: SeekAndFind

The fact that the article references “BCE” instead of “BC” tells me all I need to know about the writer’s agenda.


7 posted on 06/01/2014 6:48:02 PM PDT by NoKoolAidforMe (I'm clinging to my God and my guns. You can keep the change.)
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To: NoKoolAidforMe

The article really doesn’t make any point except that it was always Palestine and the original Hebrews (people and language) were almost forgotten by the time of Jesus.

Christians used to try to erase Jews and Israel; now the torch has been passed to leftists.

To the Jews, it’s just same old, same old.


8 posted on 06/01/2014 6:51:59 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: NoKoolAidforMe

Before Christian era.


9 posted on 06/01/2014 6:53:51 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: jjotto

Correct. And the Pope just proved the point that he thinks his “religion” won. He couldn’t help himself. Just plain rude.


10 posted on 06/01/2014 6:56:45 PM PDT by Tzfat
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To: Alex Murphy
The Pope looked unhappy, correcting the prime minister. “He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.”

Sounds like the Bishop of Rome does not read his own book.

Jesus read from the Isaiah in the synagogue, the text was in Hebrew. Ergo, Jesus spoke Hebrew. Game, set and match Netanyahu.

11 posted on 06/01/2014 6:57:11 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Proud Infidel, Gun Nut, Religious Fanatic and Freedom Fiend)
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To: Raycpa

Bookmark


12 posted on 06/01/2014 6:58:40 PM PDT by kinsman redeemer (The real enemy seeks to devour what is good.)
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To: Tzfat

Right. There are more and more cases where this Pope just can’t help himself, which does nothing but dilute his leadership capabilities. A Pope for our times indeed.


13 posted on 06/01/2014 6:59:21 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: SeekAndFind

Jesus prayed and read from Torah ( Hebrew). He lived close to a Largely Greek city where he probably secured work and provisions. Aramaic, a language related to Hebrew , was widely spoken or understood in the larger region. And Jesus and his fellow Jews lived under Roman occupation ( Latin). So there are reasons for them to know up to four languages. My best guess: he knew at least Hebrew and Aramaic with some understanding of the others. But of course that’s judging from a human perspective. Jesus’s gifts may have exceeded those of the average schlemiel


14 posted on 06/01/2014 6:59:25 PM PDT by faithhopecharity ((Brilliant, Profound Tag Line Goes Here, just as soon as I can think of one..)
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To: SeekAndFind

Why not mention that the so-called “Palestinians” are actually forcibly exiled Jordanians?


15 posted on 06/01/2014 6:59:32 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Raycpa

Before common era.


16 posted on 06/01/2014 7:00:20 PM PDT by NoKoolAidforMe (I'm clinging to my God and my guns. You can keep the change.)
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To: faithhopecharity
Jesus’s gifts may have exceeded those of the average schlemiel

Exactly. I doubt He would have had a problem speaking with literally anyone.

17 posted on 06/01/2014 7:00:41 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I do not understand what the difficulty is in stating that the vernacular used by Jesus was Aramaic rather than Hebrew. This was the vernacular of the Jews at the time and does not make him any less Jewish. Just as if the Gospel had been situated in eastern Europe in the modern era and stating that he spoke Yiddish. It is still the language of the Jews.


18 posted on 06/01/2014 7:07:39 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: SeekAndFind

As I understand it, during the time of Christ, Hebrew was the common language spoken in Jerusalem and Samaria. In other parts of Israel Aramaic was spoken, so the Pope was right on one point. Jesus almost certainly spoke both languages, and probably a few more.


19 posted on 06/01/2014 7:13:05 PM PDT by pallis
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To: Petrosius
Because it is a convenient myth, invented to erase Jewishness. Scholars now acknowledge that Aramaic was the language of the upper crust. Common folk, am ha-eretz spoke Hebrew. It is sort of like how Mel Gibson had him speaking Latin - it is about owning "Jesus." The Pope could not let some silly Jew own "Jesus" - so he made a jerk of himself.
20 posted on 06/01/2014 7:14:45 PM PDT by Tzfat
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To: Talisker
I doubt He would have had a problem speaking with literally anyone

He spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well. Who knows what language she spoke.

21 posted on 06/01/2014 7:19:11 PM PDT by Tonytitan
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To: Petrosius

Interesting that the Mishnah, compiled a century or two after Jesus, is in Hebrew, not Aramaic.

The Gemara, commentary on the Mishnah compiled a century or two after the Mishnah, is indeed in Aramaic.


22 posted on 06/01/2014 7:22:58 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: Tzfat

Jesus only spoke Latin in Passion of the Christ?


23 posted on 06/01/2014 7:23:01 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: Tzfat
Because it is a convenient myth, invented to erase Jewishness.

How can it be a myth invented to erase Jewishness when it is the claim that it was the language of the Jews at the time?

The wide-spread use of Aramaic by the Jews is attested by the Aramaic Targums. That the Jews at the time did spoke Aramaic rather than Hebrew should be no more disturbing than the fact that later eastern European Jews spoke Yiddish or that Jews today in America speak English. They are still Jews and Jesus is still a Jew regardless of what was the Jewish vernacular that he spoke.

24 posted on 06/01/2014 7:31:45 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: ansel12

Jesus only spoke Latin in Passion of the Christ?

No, I remember discussions of Aramaic when the movie came out.

The script was written in English by Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald, then translated by William Fulco, S.J., a professor at Loyola Marymount University, into Latin, reconstructed Aramaic and Hebrew.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_the_Christ


25 posted on 06/01/2014 7:34:31 PM PDT by sgtyork (Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy)
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To: jjotto
Interesting that the Mishnah, compiled a century or two after Jesus, is in Hebrew, not Aramaic.

The Gemara, commentary on the Mishnah compiled a century or two after the Mishnah, is indeed in Aramaic.

Yes, but the Targumim were in Aramaic. It should not surprise that Hebrew was still being used as a religious and scholarly language alongside Aramaic as the vernacular. We see the same thing with the former use of Latin and Old Slavonic by Christians.

26 posted on 06/01/2014 7:36:55 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: Tzfat

Here is the description at IMDB

What languages do the characters speak in the film?

Jesus and his disciples speak Old Aramaic, a Semitic language which was the daily speech of most Jews between 539 BC and AD 70. The Jewish authorities speak Hebrew, which at the time was only used for religious purposes. The Romans speak Latin (however, in the eastern Roman Empire, Koine Greek was also used.) The Gospels were written in Koine Greek, however, many Aramaic words and phrases appear, most notably “Abba”, “Mammon” and “Eli Eli lema sabachthani”.


27 posted on 06/01/2014 7:39:20 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: Petrosius

So, you believe that there were Targums considered authoritative before the Mishnah was accepted?

The whole point of the Mishnah was to make it easier to learn and teach. Why not make it in Aramaic if it was the most common language? Why wasn’t it in Greek if the Septuagint was the accepted Bible?

We know the Gemara used the most common language of its day. Why the difference?


28 posted on 06/01/2014 7:47:09 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: ansel12

I don’t care what language Jesus spoke. For me I was disappointed that the Pontiff thought the security wall was there for the same reason the Berlin wall was put up by the Soviets.

Nothing could be further from the truth. For years Palestinian Arabs would enter Israel to blow themselves up or plant bombs to blow up buses and crowded places where Jews would be killed. Also many times if it was not a bombing they attacked with small arms and handguns.

The security wall is mostly fences, but in some particularly vulnerable places where attack before happened the Israelis have built concrete walls. These walls as Netanyahu pointed out to the Pontiff have saved thousands of lives both Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis as well as Christians.

I would have thought a brilliant and worldly man that the Pontiff is would have not have realized that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood since 1948.


29 posted on 06/01/2014 7:47:19 PM PDT by Zenjitsuman (New Boss Nancy Pelosi)
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To: Tzfat
Scholars now acknowledge that Aramaic was the language of the upper crust.
Can you provide a link? I have always read just the opposite: that Aramaic was the language in the rural, poorer areas.
30 posted on 06/01/2014 7:52:26 PM PDT by Tennessean4Bush (An optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist fears this is true.)
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To: Zenjitsuman

I didn’t know he said that, so Israel didn’t build the wall to keep the Jews from fleeing to freedom, just like the border fence is not built to keep me and you from escaping to Mexico.


31 posted on 06/01/2014 7:53:30 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: pallis
As I understand it, during the time of Christ, Hebrew was the common language spoken in Jerusalem and Samaria. In other parts of Israel Aramaic was spoken, so the Pope was right on one point. Jesus almost certainly spoke both languages, and probably a few more.

My understanding from New Testiment class is that Christ was at least tri lingual, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. For example when He was examined by Pilate, there doesn't seem to be any indication of a translator. It's not impossible that Pilate knew Hebrew or Aramaic, but it's easier to believe that they both knew Greek.

32 posted on 06/01/2014 8:10:27 PM PDT by MAexile (Bats left, votes right)
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To: jjotto
So, you believe that there were Targums considered authoritative before the Mishnah was accepted?

Whether the Targums were considered authoritative or not is irrelevant. The fact is that there was a need from the first century B.C. for Aramaic paraphrases and explanations.

The whole point of the Mishnah was to make it easier to learn and teach. Why not make it in Aramaic if it was the most common language? Why wasn’t it in Greek if the Septuagint was the accepted Bible?

There is no contradiction in the use of a Hebrew Mishnah in a scholarly setting and an Aramaic Targum in a more common setting.

We know the Gemara used the most common language of its day. Why the difference?

The Gemara was used by rabbis. Thus it being in Hebrew is no more indicative of Hebrew being the common language of the Jews than Latin theological texts being indicative that Latin was the common language of Catholics. On my bookshelf I have a set of Latin seminary texts that were printed in 1936. I also have a set of Latin philosophy textbooks printed in 1919 "in usum adolescentium" (for the use of adolescents). Neither indicate that Latin was the common language of Catholics.

33 posted on 06/01/2014 8:12:16 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: Petrosius

Gemara is in Aramaic.


34 posted on 06/01/2014 8:13:45 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: SeekAndFind
What is this bs? I heard an antisemite say peleshet occurs with herodetus (sp). If so he may have been talking about the Philistines who were fought by Samson and Kind David, at least.

Also, Jesus would have spoken hebrew to the lower classes.

35 posted on 06/01/2014 8:16:04 PM PDT by Stepan12
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To: SeekAndFind

Here is a very recent analogy: I lived in Czechoslovakia immediately after the fall of the Iron Curtain and then for another 6 or 7 years. Czech and Slovak are related languages in a very similar way to how Hebrew and Aramaic are related. They are mutually intelligible to anyone who follows them. As a concrete example, when that part of the world was still Czechslovakia, television programs in both languages were regularly broadcast. Czechs understood the Slovak programs and Slovaks understood the Czech programming, even though each who watched spoke his or her own mother tongue in everyday life.

I would suggest that the same was true of Hebrew and Aramaic. If millions of Czechs and Slovaks could regularly deal with both languages, even though one would be their default language, why would the people of 1st century Palestine be different?

Additionally, most Czechs and Slovaks learned Russian, a linguistically cognate language, in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. and understood it quite well. When the 2000’s dawned after to so-called Iron Curtain had fallen, many Czechs and Slovaks revealed that, because they had been listening to German TV and radio, they also understood German fairly well ... and their understanding would only get better.

What is the difference between Czech/Slovak versus Hebrew/Aramaic and then with the addition of Russian or German in the first instance and Greek (the language of the Hellenistic ancient world) in the second. All of this is rather simple to understand by way of modern analogy unless one insists on believing that those who lived a couple of thousand years before us were less intelligent than we ... something I find ludicrous.

That Jesus spoke Aramaic and, probably, Hebrew is a no-brainer. That he also understood and spoke Greek is probably a given. Such was the world in his time. Such is the world in our time if one happens to live in a “Palestine.” For the average citizen of Rome or Athens this may have been hard to understand, but for one who lived in Palestine - as with one who today lives in a Czechoslovakia, or a Belgium or a Liechtenstein - this is not hard to understand at all. It is in fact hard for them to understand how anyone would have trouble understanding.


36 posted on 06/01/2014 8:27:41 PM PDT by Belteshazzar (We are not justified by our works but by faith - De Jacob et vita beata 2 +Ambrose of Milan)
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To: SeekAndFind
This article is Leftist bs. What one would expect from the Daily Beast? It was the Jews that were called Palestinians back then and the Arabs were called Arabs or southern Syrians.

Let's see how this nonsense works. The Palestinians swept down from Arabia in the 7th century and met... Palestinians.

Golly gee. Maybe Jesus was the first Nikolai Lenin type, too /sarc

37 posted on 06/01/2014 8:28:24 PM PDT by Stepan12
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To: jjotto
My remarks should have referenced the Mishnah.

But the fact that the Gemara is Aramaic makes it or its authors no less Jewish than the Mishnah. If the vernacular of Jesus and the Jews of his day was Aramaic they too would be no less Jewish. I do not understand this insistence that it must have been Hebrew.

38 posted on 06/01/2014 8:37:31 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: SeekAndFind

I thought the Romans called it Syria.


39 posted on 06/01/2014 8:43:27 PM PDT by virgil (The evil that men do lives after them)
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To: sgtyork

In the movie, the Jews spoke Aramaic and the Romans spoke Latin, iirc.


40 posted on 06/01/2014 8:51:35 PM PDT by virgil (The evil that men do lives after them)
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To: Petrosius

I don’t understand the preconceived notions either. Hebrew would have been the language of the natives. Aramaic would have arrived with foreigners imported by foreign rulers during the First Exile, then the Maccabee period would have seen stronger official insistence on Hebrew.

What doesn’t make sense is the claim that Jews used a Greek Septuagint Bible, but then used a translation of Hebrew into Aramaic to explain it in ordinary situations.

More likely, they used traditional Hebrew Bible and Mishnaic explanations, with Aramaic Targums for outsiders (The best known Targum is the 2nd century Onkelos, who was a convert - outsider - to Judaism and thus better able to explain the Hebrew to non-Hebrew speakers). As Aramaic became more common after the Second Exile, the by-then more common Aramaic was used for the Gemara to help understand the original Hebrew.


41 posted on 06/01/2014 8:57:41 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: SeekAndFind

Vespasian renamed it, then Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed it again in the year, 135 (”Palaestina”), to blot out the name of Judea.


42 posted on 06/01/2014 9:04:51 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: Petrosius
This whole story and all of the discussion about the various languages has me completely confused.

According to my Bible, everyone was speaking to each other in English.

:-P

43 posted on 06/01/2014 9:35:34 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("What in the wide, wide world of sports is goin' on here?")
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To: pallis

“Jesus almost certainly spoke both languages, and probably a few more.”

that was Bibi’s point, not the Pope’s. The Pope said Aramaic, Bibi said both.


44 posted on 06/01/2014 9:57:46 PM PDT by flaglady47 (Oppressors can tyranize only w/a standing army-enslaved press-disarmed populace)
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To: flaglady47

I find it somewhat ironic that men are still more concerned about what language Jesus spoke rather than what He said....

“I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me....”

Continue.


45 posted on 06/02/2014 4:13:17 AM PDT by Manly Warrior (US ARMY (Ret), "No Free Lunches for the Dogs of War")
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To: Petrosius
The majority of Jews still lived in the area around Babylon in the First Century. The language there was Aramaic. The language of the returning exiles in the 5th Century BCE was Hebrew, (they were Zionists after all). Ezra and Nehemiah were written in Hebrew.There are numerous extant texts from the time that recount the languages in use during the life of Hillel.

The fact that so many vociferously deny Hebrew to the common man in the Land of Israel during the time of Jesus illustrates my point, and why this Pope felt so COMPELLED to interrupt a speech.
46 posted on 06/02/2014 4:46:40 AM PDT by Tzfat
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To: Stepan12

What the article conveniently left out was the pronunciation of “Palestinian” - in Hebrew it is “Filistini.” The reason “Palestine” existed as a word in the First Century was Roman attempt to resurrect the earlier occupants of the Land - the Philistines. So any time the word Palestinians is used, think “Philistines.”


47 posted on 06/02/2014 4:53:30 AM PDT by Tzfat
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To: NoKoolAidforMe
The fact that the article references “BCE” instead of “BC” tells me all I need to know about the writer’s agenda.

He has been indoctrinated in liberal "seminaries" - universities.

It gets worse:

Alexander brought with him a tidal wave of language and philosophy, including the Platonic notions of body and soul, ideas that Jesus himself would assimilate.

n the Septuagint becomes parthenos, or virgin: a verbal sleight of tongue that led to notions about the Virgin Birth).

Yet "body and soul" are distinguished in the OT, and further distinctions are part of the progressive revelation of the NT. And the Hebrew word used in Is. 7:14 can mean "virgin"

48 posted on 06/02/2014 5:23:44 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: SeekAndFind
You can get brain rot reading this crud put out by the media:

"...with native Arabs from the region demoted to “Palestinians.”"

Before the founding of Israel, the Palestinians were the Jews living in ghe area. Was that a demotion, insult or slight? In fact, Palestinian terrorists were Jews part of the Irgun and the Stern Gang. Morons.

49 posted on 06/02/2014 6:39:57 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (You can have a free country or government schools. Choose one.)
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To: NoKoolAidforMe; Raycpa

Ever since these annotations/abbreviations have become popular, I’ve taken to using “BCE” to mean Before Christ Enters.


50 posted on 06/02/2014 7:28:00 AM PDT by ro_dreaming (Chesterton, 'Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It’s been found hard and not tried')
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