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Pondering the Mysterious Word in the Lordís Prayer No One Can Agree how to Translate
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | June 20, 2013 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 06/21/2013 2:44:12 PM PDT by NYer

In the breviary we are currently reading St Cyprian’s commentary on the Lord’s prayer. It is a prayer shared by and prized by all Christians. Few if any have not committed to memory.

Yet within the Lord’s prayer is a mysterious word that both Greek and Biblical scholars have little agreement over or even a clear understanding of in terms of its precise meaning. Most Christians who do not read Greek are unaware of the difficulties and debate surrounding the word. They simply accept that the most common English translation of the Our Father is undisputed. To them the problem is largely unknown.

The mysterious word occurs right in the middle of the prayer: τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον (ton arton hēmōn ton epiousion) which is rendered most usually as “give us this day our daily bread.”

The problematic word is epiousion. The difficulty is that the word seems to exist nowhere else in ancient Greek and that no one really knows what it means. Even the Greek Fathers who spoke and wrote Greek as their mother-tongue were unaware of its exact meaning. It occurs no where else in the Bible (with the exception of the parallel passage in Luke’s version of the Our Father in Luke 11:3). It appears nowhere in wider Greek literature, whether Christian or Pagan. The early Church Father Origen, a most learned and well read man, thought that Matthew and Luke, or the early Church had “made up” or coined the term.

So, frankly, we are at a loss as to the exact and original meaning of this word! It’s actually pretty embarrassing when you think of it. Right there in the most memorable text of Christendom is a word whose meaning seems quite uncertain.

Now, to be sure, over the centuries there have been many theories and positions as to what this word is getting at. Let’s look at a few.

  1. Grammatical Analysis- The Greek word seems to be a compound word from epi+ousios. Now epi means over, above, beyond, in addition to, or some similar superlative. Ousious refers to the substance of something. Hence, to put these words together we have something amounting to supersubstantial, or super-essential.
  2. The Eucharist – Some of the Greek and Latin Fathers thought is clearly referred to the Eucharist and surely not to ordinary food or bread. Origien for example cites how Jesus rebuked the people in John 6 for seeking bread that perishes rather than the Bread which endures unto eternal life which is Jesus’ flesh and which he will give us. (cf Origen On Prayer 27.2) St. Cyprian too, while admitting that “bread” can be understood simply, goes on to advance that the bread referred to here is more certainly Christ himself in the Eucharist (cf. Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer, 18).
  3. Ordinary and daily bread – St. John Chrysostom however favors a notion that the bread for which we pray is only “bread for today: Just enough for one day….Here Jesus condescends to the infirmity of our nature….[which] does not permit you to go without food….I require necessary food not a complete freedom from natural necessities….It is not for wastefulness or extravagant clothing that we pray, but only for bread and only for bread on a daily basis so as not to worry about tomorrow (Gospel of Matthew Homily 19.5)
  4. Bread for tomorrow – St. Jerome says, The word used by the Hebrews to denote supersubstantial bread is maar. I found that it means “for tomorrow” so that the meaning here is “give us this day our bread for tomorrow” that is, for the future (Commentary on Matthew 1.6.11). Many modern scholars favor this understanding as well.
  5. Supernatural bread – But St. Jerome also says in the same place: We can also understand supersubstantial bread in another sense as bread that is above all substances and surpasses all creatures (ibid). In this sense he also seems to see it linked to the Eucharist. When he translated the text into Latin as the Pope had asked him to do he rendered it rather literally: panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie (give us today our supersubstantial bread). If you look up the text of Matthew 6:11 in the Douay Rheims Bible you will see the word “supersubstantial” since that English text renders the Vulgate Latin quite literally.
  6. Every good thing necessary for subsistence – The Catechism of the Catholic Church adopts an inclusive approach: Daily” (epiousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repetition of “this day,” to confirm us in trust “without reservation.” Taken in the qualitative sense, it signifies what is necessary for life, and more broadly every good thing sufficient for subsistence. Taken literally (epi-ousios: “super-essential”), it refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the “medicine of immortality,” without which we have no life within us. Finally in this connection, its heavenly meaning is evident: “this day” is the Day of the Lord, the day of the feast of the kingdom, anticipated in the Eucharist that is already the foretaste of the kingdom to come. For this reason it is fitting for the Eucharistic liturgy to be celebrated each day. (CCC # 2837) As such the Catechism attempts no resolution to the problem but simply indicates that several interpretations are possible and non-exclusive to one another.

So when we have a Greek word that is used no where else and when such important and determinative Fathers struggle to understand it and show forth rather significant disagreement, we are surely left at a loss. It seems clear that we have something of a mystery.

Reverencing the Mystery – But perhaps the Lord intended that we should ponder this text and see a kind of multiple meaning. Surely it is right that we should pray for our worldly food. Likewise we should pray for all that is needed for subsistence, whether just for today or for tomorrow as well. And surely we should ask for the Bread of Life, the Holy Eucharist which is the necessary Bread that draws us to eternal life and which (Who) is over and above all earthly substances.

So there it is, the hidden and mysterious word in the middle of the Our Father. My own preference is to see that “epiousion” (supersubstantial) is a reference to the Eucharist. Jesus who super-abounds in all we could ask or want, said, “I am the Bread of life.” He is surely, in his Eucharistic presence, our Bread which super abounds.

Most modern translations have settled on the word “daily.” For the record, the Latin Liturgy also uses the word daily (quotidianum). But in truth no one word can capture what is said here. The Lord has left us a mystery to ponder.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; eucharist; lordsprayer; msgrcharlespope; ourfather; thelordsprayer; theourfather
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Msgr. Pope ends with the following request:

I know many of you who read here are learned in Greek, Latin, the Fathers, and scripture scholarship and I am interested in your thoughts. This article is incomplete and has not covered every possible facet of the argument. I leave that you, all who wish to comment.

If you fit the category, please post your comment to Msgr. Pope's blog.

1 posted on 06/21/2013 2:44:12 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 06/21/2013 2:44:36 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: All
Abwoon D'Bashmaya - The Lords Prayer in Aramaic

Aramaic is the language spoken by Jesus and the Apostles. Hebrew, at that time, was the liturgical language of the Temple.

3 posted on 06/21/2013 2:48:12 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Yes, but most of the gospels were likely back-translated into Aramaic. But, since this is a quote of Jesus that the Greek seems to have had problems translating, does this represent something originally recorded in Aramaic?


4 posted on 06/21/2013 2:53:19 PM PDT by dangus (Poverty cannot be eradicated as long as the poor remain dependent on the state - Pope Francis)
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To: dangus

Drink Your Ovaltine


5 posted on 06/21/2013 3:00:47 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof, but they're true.)
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To: NYer

Tell me, if Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus and all the Jews, why did Titus have to draft the services of Josephus and others to speak Hebrew to the people barricaded in Jerusalem? There should have been thousands of Aramaic speakers in Titus’s army. Apparently, there were thousands of Jews who neither spoke Greek or Aramaic.


6 posted on 06/21/2013 3:01:56 PM PDT by pallis
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To: NYer

I am in the “inclusive” category — sustenance for the day, the strength, wisdom, and wherewithal to persevere, and the gift of the Bread of Life.


7 posted on 06/21/2013 3:05:12 PM PDT by twister881
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To: dangus
But, since this is a quote of Jesus that the Greek seems to have had problems translating, does this represent something originally recorded in Aramaic?

An excellent question!! As you may recall, I practice my faith in a Maronite Catholic Church which retains the Syriac Aramaic language of Jesus for the liturgy. I just sent this article to my pastor, and asked him the same question.

8 posted on 06/21/2013 3:11:27 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: pallis

There are several possibilities:

1) in ancient writings “Hebrew” and “Aramaic” are sometimes confused with one another.

2) Josephus might have been bragging.

3) Josephus was more polished in his Hebrew and Titus wanted to have the most able spokesman possible no matter what language was used.

4) Jerusalem was in the South. Aramaic might have been more common in the North where Jesus and the Apostles were from.

5) Even though only a few decades had passed, Hebrew might have experienced a resurgence in usage - which might partially explain Hebrew nationalist uprisings in the 60s.

6) Josephus might have been speaking only to an elite which knew Hebrew and little else or preferred to use Hebrew for their own particular reasons.


9 posted on 06/21/2013 3:11:37 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: NYer

Typo - problem solved.


10 posted on 06/21/2013 3:15:31 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: vladimir998

Was there ever a time when Hebrew was the mother tongue of the Hebrews? I wonder what the Moses generation spoke. Egyptian?


11 posted on 06/21/2013 3:17:33 PM PDT by DManA
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To: pallis

Martin McNamara writes: “All of Josephus’ four extant works are important sources for Jewish history and tradition. The first to be composed was The Jewish War—an account of the war of the Jews against the Romans. Josephus himself tells us that he wrote two versions of this. ********The first one was in his own vernacular, i.e. Aramaic, and composed for ‘the up-country barbarians’, i.e. the Aramaic-speaking Jews of the Parthian kingdom, especially those of Babylon. This edition is lost.********** The extant Greek version is an adaptation by Josephus himself of the Aramaic work. It was published about A.D. 78, when Josephus was about 40 years old. The next work to be published was The Jewish Antiquities, about sixteen years later (A.D. 94 or so). It appears that soon before the publication of The Antiquities Justus of Tiberias had published his history of the Jewish War, with serious accusation of misconduct during the war in Galilee directed against Josephus. It is possible that Josephus’ third and autobiographical work, the Life, was published at the same time as the Antiquities and as a reply to Justus. Some scholars, however, maintain that the Life was published about A.D. 96, and may have appeared together with a second edition of the Antiquities that appeared between A.D. 93/94 and 100. Josephus’ final extant work to be published was Against Apion, or to give its original title, On the Antiquity of the Jews. In the first part of this work Josephus sets out to refute the detractions and contentions of anti-Semitic writings. In the course of doing so he excerpts from a large number of works no longer extant. In the second part Josephus gives his positive defence of the Jewish people, setting forth the inner value of Judaism and its superiority over Hellenism. In this we have a rather full presentation of Jewish halakah as known to Josephus.” (Intertestamental Literature, p. 239) http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html

And if you have $32!!!: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4477386?uid=3739672&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102434339177


12 posted on 06/21/2013 3:20:20 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: NYer
The Souter`s 1916 translates it as:

"from ἡ ἐπιούσἄ [ἡμἐρἄ], 'belonging to the morrow'

Webster 1887: "morrow [ME, morwe,morwen, fr. AS, morgen] 1. Archaic. Morning "

ERGO, belonging to the morning [?]

breakfast?

morning mass?

dunno

13 posted on 06/21/2013 3:20:49 PM PDT by bunkerhill7 (("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione.))
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To: vladimir998

Or it was elites and invaders that spoke Aramaic and Greek, while the peasantry, who never had a reason to abandon it, still spoke Hebrew.

The Mishnah, which included records of debates from at least a generation or two after the destruction of the Temple, was composed in classical Hebrew. The generations that followed apparently had their discussions in Aramaic.


14 posted on 06/21/2013 3:23:16 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: DManA

I would think that many knew both Hebrew and Egyptian. Think of the Gypsies. They know Romany and they speak the language of the land they live in too.


15 posted on 06/21/2013 3:23:23 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: jjotto

I don’t know if the elites would lose a language ability they once had since it was the elite who controlled the rituals and needed the language. But, who knows...?


16 posted on 06/21/2013 3:24:44 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: NYer

Thank you very much. Simply beautiful and a wonderful blessing to hear.


17 posted on 06/21/2013 3:27:44 PM PDT by miele man
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To: vladimir998

I know that I can go into a Reform and Conservative synagogue now and a bunch of the service will be in Hebrew even though very few there, even those controlling the rituals, are fluid in everyday Hebrew vernacular.

The non-Biblical texts among the Dead Sea scrolls, mostly in Hebrew, also indicate its use as an everyday language past the Temple’s destruction.


18 posted on 06/21/2013 3:37:31 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: NYer

When people view this from their human point of view, they are confused, as described above. But if they view it from faith in God’s point of view, “our daily bread” is completely sufficient, because we are asking for God to supply our needs as He sees fit, and allowing Him to be in charge of what those needs are, as only He can completely know. We certainly don’t know. We may think we know; but that’s not the same as what He knows.


19 posted on 06/21/2013 3:40:25 PM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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To: NYer

I think it is just about our daily sustenance or living. Nothing magic about it. For instance “Man shall not live by bread alone” where bread means our regular meals.


20 posted on 06/21/2013 3:43:45 PM PDT by yarddog (There Are Three Things That Remain--Faith, Hope, and Love--and,the Greatest of These is Love..)
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To: NYer

“give us this day the needs of the body.”


21 posted on 06/21/2013 3:55:01 PM PDT by februus
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To: yarddog

FWIW, I have an Aramaic version translated to English.

Matthew 6:11 says “Give us bread for our needs from day to day”

Luke 11:3 says “Give us bread for our needs every day”


22 posted on 06/21/2013 3:55:09 PM PDT by Cottonbay
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To: dangus
The Gospel of Matthew was directed at the Jews who believed in Jesus (Nazarenes) and therefore is believed to have been originally written in Hebrew.

A mosaic floor of a recently discovered Jewish synagogue in the early part of the Christian Era has Greek words which I read as "Erene" (Peace) and "Troph" (Nourishment). I theorize that these were stand-ins for their Hebrew equivalents "Shalom" and "Parnassah".

Perhaps the word in question in the New Testament's Lord's Prayer was "parnassah". It has the connotation of sustenance from above.
23 posted on 06/21/2013 4:07:25 PM PDT by kenavi ("Beware of rulers, for they befriend only for their own benefit." Gamliel)
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To: NYer
Marilyn Horne Ping!
24 posted on 06/21/2013 4:10:17 PM PDT by Utah Binger (Southern Utah where the world comes to see America)
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To: pallis
Like Mexicans who will only respond in Spanish when they understand English very well? The Hebrew thingy may have been a nationalist issue and a way to disingenuously stymie and annoy the Romans. (ie; we can't "really understand you...try speaking to us in Hebrew instead!")
25 posted on 06/21/2013 4:19:48 PM PDT by mdmathis6
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To: vladimir998

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Jesus_Hebrew/jesus_hebrew.html

This webpage should help clear up some of your questions. You come closest to being right suggesting the possibility that Hebrew was primarily spoken in Jerusalem while a dialect of Aramaic was the language of Galilee. When Jesus spoke to his Galilean disciples it was most likely in Aramaic, but he was fluent in Hebrew and Greek. The Samaritans spoke Hebrew. When Jesus spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus it was in Hebrew. Paul was fluent in Hebrew, and he used it when addressing the people of Jerusalem.

I recently read an excellent paper on this subject, and I can’t find it, though it should have been stored on this computer. There is plenty of research that lays to rest the misconception that Aramaic was the only language, or even the primary language of most Jews during the time of Jesus. Hebrew was very much alive and well, and spoken as a common language, in addition to being the language of the Torah and the temple.


26 posted on 06/21/2013 4:22:37 PM PDT by pallis
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To: Cottonbay
Greek Word: ἐπιούσιος Transliterated Word: epiousios Root: from 1897a; Definition: for the coming day, for subsistence:-- Try reading it like this: "Give us our bread for the coming day." The context of what Jesus means here is set forth in Matthew 6, verses 25-34, especially verse 34. After teaching them how to pray and what to pray for, He tells them not to worry about tomorrow. I believe the context makes the meaning clear.
27 posted on 06/21/2013 4:25:00 PM PDT by Stingray (Stand for the truth or you'll fall for anything.)
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To: pallis

“This webpage should help clear up some of your questions.”

I didn’t have any questions in post #12. I have no idea what questions you’re talking about.


28 posted on 06/21/2013 4:25:29 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

My apologies, I meant your suggestions.


29 posted on 06/21/2013 4:28:40 PM PDT by pallis
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To: pallis

Titus’s army, I believe was the 15th Roman Legion. Native Latin speakers? Just a guess.

My understanding is that Aramaic was the native language, Hebrew was the language of the synagog and Greek was the “lingua franca”- the language of commerce and trade. It was being supplanted by Latin at that time.

Sort of like modern Rome. Italian the native language, latin the language of the church, and English by those doing business with foreigners.


30 posted on 06/21/2013 4:35:05 PM PDT by ALPAPilot
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To: DManA
Yes, but it became a written and liturgical language like Latin in Europe after the fall of Rome. Spoken by priests and highly educated people and used, like Latin, for written communication, government decrees, and as the language of scholars. Aramaic was the language of everyday life, as was Vulgar as opposed to Classical Latin.

By the Middle Ages spoken Hebrew was a dead language. The grammar of modern Hebrew was adapted from Arabic - sister Semitic languages - and revived in Andalusia under Muslim rule when Jews were employed as functionaries by the rulers. They were literate, and since they were hated more by the Christians of that age than by their Muslim rulers they could be trusted to not betray their masters. One reason they were expelled or forced to convert (see: Conversos) in 1492 along with all Muslims from Reconquista Spain.

31 posted on 06/21/2013 4:35:32 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: katana
Thanks for the info.

The grammar of modern Hebrew was adapted

What was wrong with the grammar of old Hebrew?

32 posted on 06/21/2013 4:38:44 PM PDT by DManA
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To: silverleaf

ping for later


33 posted on 06/21/2013 4:54:09 PM PDT by silverleaf (Age Takes a Toll: Please Have Exact Change)
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To: kenavi

Actually, the best reason for supposing that the gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew/Aramaic is the simple fact that numerous 2nd century AD sources say so, including Irenaeus and Papias.


34 posted on 06/21/2013 5:04:25 PM PDT by dangus (Poverty cannot be eradicated as long as the poor remain dependent on the state - Pope Francis)
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To: DManA
It had ceased to be an active spoken language. Arabic was and is close enough (no vowels, etc.) that sentence structure and the fluidity of the spoken word were restored with Arabic as a model. That is at least what I was taught many years ago studying Middle East (much of which covered the Arab conquest) history in College. Something similar happened in Central Europe as Hebrew and Aramaic were fused with Germanic and Slavic languages to become spoken Yiddish.

I remember hearing about someone who was a Greek scholar on their first actual visit to Greece. They tried communicating with the locals and were mostly laughed at. They were speaking the language of Plato and Aristotle. Languages, all of them, change over time and distance.

35 posted on 06/21/2013 5:05:28 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: NYer

Manna is the first thing to spring to my mind after reading through this. Manna from heaven, from the Lord above, superlative, bread, morning, it fits the known meanings of the apparent root words. Greek would lack a means of describing something that was apparently difficult to describe for those with direct exposure. Then, there’s the long association of manna with communion or the “Eucharist.”


36 posted on 06/21/2013 5:05:35 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: katana

My father grew up in a household of Swedish immigrants ( came over at the turn of the last century). My grandparants must have spoken Swedish in the house quite a bit because he had a pretty good grasp on the language.

We visited Sweden in the seventies and he was able to converse fairly well but all the Swedes just broke up listening to him because he was speaking, to their ears, an antique version of their langage.

The poor guy, we flew into Copenhagen. We checked into the hotel and he proudly spoke his antique Swedish (to the Danish hotel clerk). She smiled and said, “Mr. Anderson, we speak English here.


37 posted on 06/21/2013 5:15:12 PM PDT by DManA
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To: vladimir998; pallis

Several ancient sources attest to a gospel by the disciple Matthew as having been written in Aramaic, but with Hebrew letters.

Also, Aramaic is not the dead language people suppose. It persists today, among Syrian and Lebanese Christians. As I understand it, Hebrew is the language of the Jews (Judeans), whereas Aramaic was a language of the Gallileans and Samaritans. In the few places where Jesus’ language is retained in the gospels, it is Aramaic, yet Jesus certainly knew Hebrew as a rabbi who read scripture in the synagogue.


38 posted on 06/21/2013 5:20:08 PM PDT by dangus (Poverty cannot be eradicated as long as the poor remain dependent on the state - Pope Francis)
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To: NYer; a fool in paradise
epiousion

I wonder if anyone has used this word as the name of a hi tech company?! Or an anti-depressant? Web domain name?

39 posted on 06/21/2013 5:20:41 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: dangus

I believe the Samaritans spoke Hebrew.


40 posted on 06/21/2013 5:35:34 PM PDT by pallis
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To: DManA; katana
We visited Sweden in the seventies and he was able to converse fairly well but all the Swedes just broke up listening to him because he was speaking, to their ears, an antique version of their langage.

Language evolves over the course of time, with the exception of "dead" languages. For example, the Lebanese speak "lebanese" at home but learn Arabic which is the official language of their country. It's quite fascinating. When two individuals converse in "lebanese" they interject English or French words for the ones, like "ticket" or "computer" that do not exist. I encountered a similar situation while working for Air France. All correspondence exchanged with HQ had to be written in French. As automation evolved rapidly in the US, with no word for "tape drive", etc. we would insert the English word. It did not take long before the government agency that controls language, issued a document with the new French translations. "Tape drive" became "bande magnetique". One of my French coworkers visited Canada and explained that the "french" spoken at home, is what was spoken in France in the 16th century.

Latin, Koine Greek, Aramaic and many other languages are defunct. There are still a few villages in the Middle East where Aramaic is still spoken but ... other words must be substituted for those that are missing.

41 posted on 06/21/2013 6:05:29 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: dangus
Aramaic is not the dead language people suppose. It persists today, among Syrian and Lebanese Christians

See my post #41.

42 posted on 06/21/2013 6:07:01 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: vladimir998
4) Jerusalem was in the South. Aramaic might have been more common in the North where Jesus and the Apostles were from.

So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that Jesus spoke with a Drawl. So He actually said "Give us this day our daily bread Y'all."

43 posted on 06/21/2013 6:13:49 PM PDT by verga (A nation divided by Zero!)
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To: Stingray

Look at this in the context of the manna in the wilderness. The Hebrews were commanded to collect only enough for that day, except, prior to the Sabbath, they were to collect two days worth. Exodus 16:1-30


44 posted on 06/21/2013 6:17:13 PM PDT by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: NYer

More than a few villages... about 2.5 million people.


45 posted on 06/21/2013 6:55:57 PM PDT by dangus (Poverty cannot be eradicated as long as the poor remain dependent on the state - Pope Francis)
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To: verga

“So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that Jesus spoke with a Drawl. So He actually said “Give us this day our daily bread Y’all.””

I don’t know if He had a drawl, but He and the Apostles had a recognizable accent: Matthew 26:73


46 posted on 06/21/2013 7:00:43 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: NYer
Here's an extended quote from Origen:

Seeing that some suppose that it is meant that we should pray for material bread, their erroneous opinion deserves to be done away with and the truth about the needful bread set forth, in the following manner. We may put the question to them—how can it be that He, who says that heavenly and great things ought to be asked for as if, on their view, He has forgotten His teaching now enjoins the offering of intercession to the Father for an earthly and little thing, since neither is the bread which is assimilated into our flesh a heavenly thing nor is it asking a great thing to request it?

For my part I shall follow the Teacher's own teaching as to the bread and cite the passages in detail. To men who have come to Capernaum to seek Him He says, in the Gospel according to John, Verily, verily, I tell you you seek me not because you saw signs but because you ate of the loaves of bread and were filled . . . for he that has eaten and been filled with the loaves of bread which have been blessed by Jesus seeks the more to grasp the Son of God more closely and hastens toward Him.

Wherefore He will enjoin: Work not for the food that perishes but for the food that abides unto life eternal which the Son of Man shall give you. And when, upon that, they who had heard inquired and said: What are we to do that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them: This is the work of God that you believe on him whom He has sent. As it is written in Psalms, God sent His Word and healed them, that is the diseased, and believers in that Word work the works of God which are food that abides unto life eternal.

And my Father, He says, gives you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. It is true bread that nourishes the true man who is made in God's image, and he that has been nourished by it also becomes in the Creator's likeness. What is more nourishing to the soul than Word, or what more precious to the mind of him that is capable of receiving it than the Wisdom of God? What is more congenial to the rational nature than Truth? Should it be urged in objection to this view that He would not in that case teach men to ask for needful bread as if something other than Himself, it is to be noted that He also discourses in the Gospel according to John sometimes as if it were other than Himself but at other times as if He is Himself the Bread. The former in the sense of the words: Moses hath given you the bread from heaven yet not the true bread, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. In the latter sense, to those who had said to Him Ever give us this bread, He says: I am the bread of life: he that comes unto me shall not hunger, and he that believes on me shall not thirst; and shortly after: I am the living bread that is come down from heaven: if anyone eat of this bread he shall live unto eternity: yea and the bread which I shall give is my flesh which I shall give for the sake of the life of the world.

Now since all manner of nourishment is spoken of as bread according to Scripture as is clear from the fact that it is recorded of Moses that he ate not bread and drank not water forty days, and since the nourishing Word is manifold and various, not all being capable of nourishment by the solidity and strength of the divine teachings, He is therefore pleased to offer strenuous nourishment befitting men more perfect, where He says:

The bread which I shall give is my flesh which I shall give for the sake of the life of the world: and shortly after: Except you eat the flesh of the son of Man and drinks His blood, you have not life in yourselves. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood hath life eternal, and I will raise him up in the last day. for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.As the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so also he that eats me—he too shall live because of me. This is the true food, Christ's flesh, which being Word has become flesh, as it is said And the Word became flesh. When we eat and drink the Word He tabernacles in us.

(Origen, On Prayer)


47 posted on 06/21/2013 7:09:58 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: NYer

Get n answer?


48 posted on 06/21/2013 10:14:40 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: BwanaNdege

Look at this in the context of the manna in the wilderness. The Hebrews were commanded to collect only enough for that day, except, prior to the Sabbath, they were to collect two days worth. Exodus 16:1-30


Interestingly enough the word ‘manna’ in Hebrew means “what is it.” Perhaps there is a connection.


49 posted on 06/21/2013 10:19:53 PM PDT by Idaho_Cowboy (Ride for the Brand. Joshua 24:15)
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50 posted on 06/21/2013 10:22:24 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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