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Hello to all! Part of what brings me here to this forum relates to my having had an opportunity to watch "The "Passion" as a previewing up here in Montreal. A very powerful movie, I must say! I'm sure that this film will spark a lot more interest in studying the Aramaic and the Peshitta in particular. As it has done for me. I have a strong Hebrew background (through studying the Tanach) which makes the glide into the Aramaic all that much easier for me. I'm wondering if any one else has seen the film to date...and what they think of the Aramaic content (the principal language of the film). Also, who helped the cast to master their lines etc.??


It will be fun to watch people with a funny look on their faces during the movie, thinking, "where is the Greek?!?! I thought they all spoke Greek!" That'll be worth my $7.50 when it comes out hehe


Good news. There will be English subtitles
Bad News!

No news yet about this film being shown in Singapore at the same time with America and other part of the world or being shown here at all.
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I can't go to Malaysia either because I am 100% sure that this film is going to be banned in predominantly Muslim country.

I have seen 5 minutes trailer of this film shown in the church and I can't wait to see it in the cinema. Watching it on the small screen won't be as nice as watching it at the big screen. I will definitely buy the DVD.

Look at ADL's web site. They wasted too much time attacking The Passion of Christ despite Christians continuous support for Israel.

I am sad to hear that Mel Gibson had to cut some scenes after being pressurized. The major studios, including 20th Century Fox which has first refusal on all Gibson's movies, were scared off distributing The Passion of Christ. Gibson has to turn to an independent film distributor, Newmarket Films. Let all of us show our support to this film.

Why the media is so quick to accuse the film of being "anti Semites" when the truth is that the media is anti Christian? Why it is okay to be anti Christians when it is not okay to be anti Semites?

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We should shout & protest "Anti Christianites"!

It is time for churches in America to support the Assyrian Christians in the Middle East especially those in Iraq living under muslim persecution and discrimination and know more about holocaust of the Assyrian and Armenian Christians instead of focusing too much time on the Jews.


"We should shout & protest "Anti Christianites"!

Exactly Akhi! Why can't Mel be allowed to tell like it is? I tell you, if the Nazis ran America, it would be politically incorrect to make movies that have nazi war crimes in them <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> I smell hypocrisy
February 22, 2004

In just 3 days, on Ash Wednesday, February 25, Mel Gibson's movie "Tha Passion of the Christ" will be released with Aramaic the principal language and with English sub-titles.

I look forward with great enthusiam to the comments from members on this forum on the quality of the spoken Aramaic and on the accuracy of the sub-titles in this movie.


Is that the first movie in Aramaic?
Shlama Akhi Otto,


One of Mel Gibson???s earliest decisions as director of The Passion of The Christ was to have the Jesus of his film speak the same language that the historical Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago. That language is Aramaic, an ancient Semitic tongue closely related to Hebrew that today is considered by some linguists to be a ???dead language,??? still used in dialects by only a small number of people in remote parts of the Middle East.

"Once, however, Aramaic was the lingua franca of its time, the language of education and trade spoken the world over, rather like English is today. By the 8th Century, B.C. the Aramaic tongue was widely in use from Egypt to Asia Major to Pakistan and was the main language of the great empires of Assyria, Babylon, and later the Chaldean Empire and the Imperial government of Mesopotamia. The language also spread to Palestine, supplanting Hebrew as the main tongue some time between 721 and 500 B.C. Much of Jewish law was formed, debated and transmitted in Aramaic, and it was the language that formed the basis of the Talmud.

Jesus would have spoken and written what is now known as Western Aramaic, which was the dialect of the Jews during his lifetime. After his death, early Christians wrote portions of scripture in Aramaic, spreading the stories of Jesus??? life and messages in that language across many lands.

As the historical language of expressing religious ideas, Aramaic is a common thread that ties together both Judaism and Christianity. Professor Franz Rosenthal wrote in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies: ???In my view, the history of Aramaic represents the purest triumph of the human spirit as embodied in language (which is the mind???s most direct form of physical expression) . . . [It was] powerfully active in the promulgation of spiritual matters.??? For Gibson, too, there was something ineffably powerful about hearing Christ???s words spoken in their original language.

But to bring Aramaic to life on the modern motion picture screen was going to be an enormous challenge. After all, how do you create a film in a lost First Century tongue in the middle of the 21st Century?

Gibson sought the help of Father William Fulco, Chair of Mediterranean Studies at Loyal Marymount University and one the world???s foremost experts on the Aramaic language and classical Semitic cultures. Fulco translated the script for The Passion of The Christ entirely into First Century Aramaic for the Jewish characters and ???street Latin??? for the Roman characters, drawing on his extensive linguistic and cultural knowledge. After translating the script, Fulco served as an on-set dialogue coach and remained ???on call??? to the production, providing last-minute translations and consultations. To further authenticate the language, Gibson also consulted native speakers of Aramaic dialects to get a sense of how the language sounds to the ear. The beauty of hearing this dying language spoken aloud, he recalls, was very moving.

Ultimately, the entire international cast of The Passion of The Christ had to learn portions of Aramaic ??? most doing so phonetically ??? becoming perhaps one of the largest groups of artists ever to take on an ancient tongue en masse. For Gibson, the film???s ???foreign language??? had another benefit: learning Aramaic became a uniting factor among a cast made up of many languages, cultures and backgrounds. ???To bring a cast from all over the world to one place and have them all learn this one language gave them a sense of common ground, of what they share and of connections that transcend language???, he says.

It also compelled the cast to look more deeply into their physical and emotional resources above and beyond the use of words. ???Speaking in Aramaic required something different from the actors???, observes Gibson, ???because they had to compensate for the usual clarity of their own native language. It brought out a different level of performance. In a sense, it became good old-fashioned filmmaking because we were so committed to telling the story with pure imagery and expressiveness as much as anything else???.
Greetings All:
The Passion of the Christ! I went and viewed the film by myself wednesday evening, full of anxiety not knowing what to expect. It's not a horror film! But neither is it a walt disney movie either. If you ever wondered what true love is for your fellow man, it's something to see. But if your love is of the world, you better be ready for the truth! It is HE who gave his life for our sins, that asks YOU to open your heart and mind, and put aside your differences, so that WE can love one another as He has always loved US!! That's all. No more, no less. Does it point the finger? only at the one you see in the mirror.

That's what I felt after seeing it along with the ahh and endless love for the messiah!
Regards Richard <!-- s:listen: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/listen.gif" alt=":listen:" title="Listen" /><!-- s:listen: -->
shlomo lkoolkhoon,

The movie was great!


Hollywood moment for ancient language
Among the many controversies surrounding Mel Gibson's new film, The Passion of the Christ, is the use of two ancient languages - Aramaic and Latin - throughout. Some believe audiences may be put off by having to read so many subtitles, but for George Kiraz the language was the highlight.
For Dr Kiraz, who lives in New Jersey, this was the first time he could hear his own language in a Hollywood blockbuster.

"From a language point of view, they did a good job," the Aramaic-speaker told BBC News Online after being one of the first to see the film when it opened on Wednesday.

"I understood 60% or more of the Aramaic - not bad considering I wasn't used to the particular dialect they used."

Dr Kiraz is founder and president of the Beth Mardutho Syriac Institute in Piscataway, New Jersey. The organisation promotes the study of Syriac, an Aramaic dialect.

He was brought up with the language as a child living in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, through his church, the Syrian Orthodox Church.

Now, it is the language he uses to speak to his three-year-old daughter Tabetha.

"It's our only form of communication," he said. "My wife speaks to her in Turkish and the babysitter uses English.

"She switches from one to the other with no problem."

Modern challenges

Aramaic is spoken by about one million people worldwide, Dr Kiraz said.

It is used by a handful of Christian groups in northern Iraq and other parts of the Middle East including Turkey and Iran. The language has been around for at least 2,500 years, and has links to both Hebrew and Arabic.

"What I speak with my daughter is a kind of classical Aramaic, mostly a language used in churches, like Latin," Dr Kiraz said.

Sometimes, Dr Kiraz finds he has to adapt the language to describe things in the modern world.

After all, no-one was watching television or using mobile phones 2,000 years ago.

"The word we use for 'television' is 'surqolo'," Dr Kiraz explained. "It's made up from the words for 'vision' and 'voice'."

For Aramaic speakers, The Passion of the Christ is their first chance to hear their language on the big screen. It remains to be seen whether other directors will follow Mel Gibson's lead.

The film is opening at 2,800 cinemas in the US - and is released in the UK on 26 March.

Story from BBC NEWS:
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Published: 2004/02/26 06:16:32 GMT


poosh bashlomo,
I -really- enjoyed the movie, but some of the language just plain confused and upset me.

It took me a while to tune my ears in, but when I did I realized that there was a strange mixing of Hebrew in ways that I would not expect a 1st Century man or women to speak with, such as substituting Adonai for Mori, and Khayim for Khoye. Other than that, the Jewish character of the Aramaic was wonderful :-)

Unfortunately, however, In a couple places Kefa was called "Kefas" like the Greek, the imperatives were a bit funky, they used the archaic "di" particle instead of a normal proclitic "de-", and they used "sabakhthani" (which is jibberish in Aramaic) instead of the proper "shvaqtani."

Other than that, it was WONDERFUL!

Shlama lukhon,

I saw the movie on opening night here in the Los Angeles area was absolutely stunned and awe-inspired. Considering all the obstacles and challenges facing Mel Gibson and the crew I consider it a Masterpiece!

While the scenes displaying the bloody sufferings of Meshikha were often too much to bear, I found the use of cut-aways and flashbacks immensely inspiring and extremely emotional in ways other movies or even reading directly from the Gospels are unable to reproduce.

Most "Gospel" movies follow the life of Meshikha in a chronological order much like the Gospels themselves so by the time you get to the "passion" scenes, the teachings of Meshkiha and other aspects of His life were seen much early in the film.

In fact, many critics of the "Passion" claimed the movie was out of context because the movie focused too much on the last 12 hours of Meskhika's life.

I found it the complete opposite!

It appears that Gibson purposefully brought the context directly to the viewer by cutting back and flashing back to early parts of Meshikha's life at the same moments that He is experiencing extreme pain and suffering. So portions of the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Supper and other beautiful teachings are brought in direct context while we are watching Meshikha living the exact words He taught about earlier in His life.

The use of language was fascinating: While the Aramaic was for the most part Aramaic in grammar and Syntax; clearly Hebrew words were sprinkled throughout in probably an attempt to present a very "Jewish" Aramaic.

Roman savagery and brutality was particularly demonstrated. So critics who cry "Anti-Semitism" unjustifiably should probably wonder why the Italian communities don???t consider the movie "Anti-Roman or Anti-Italian" because it appears that Gibson went out of his way to characterize the Roman soldiers as blood-thirsty savages.

Just my 2 cents ....

Dean Dana
Shlama to all

This is the first time I'm writing a note on this forum, first I would like to say thanks to Paul Younan for his work and to all of you, I hope Paul is getting better from his operation. I've been praying for you.

I also delighted in the film, and it touched me profoundly. Something I could notice from the Aramaic speakers is that Yshu's disciples called him Adonai. Is it not this word in Hebrew, I know that to say Lord in Aramaic the word is Marya or Mar. Could some explain this to me?
I also notice that some translations were banned.

walter burn
A cartoon I really found hilarious.....

(translation: "A good tree is unable to bear bad fruit")

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I don't get the joke. But let's meditate on the words "A good tree is unable to bear bad fruit." If we relate the "good tree" to a righteous person, can we honestly say that he/she is cannot commit unrighteous deeds, which are in this case "bad fruit?" Then maybe again, my comparison is wrong. What is the good tree that bears no bad fruit?
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