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Clarity on the definition of "Hebrew" as in Acts 22:2
Mike Kar Wrote:I would really like to hammer this down as to what is intended (the real definition on the word for "Hebrew") when a given New Testament writer mentions the "Hebrew" language as in Acts 22:2.

Is the writer , when saying something like, "which in the HEBREW is translated . . ." - like the apostle John did in his gospel about 5 times, referring to COMMON language of Aramaic spoken by Jews or does the writer mean the actual Hebrew language , the language of the temple and the scrolls?? (See John 1:41, John 1:42, John 5:2, John 19:13 and John 19:17)

Acts 22:2 says, "And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: . . ." (King James Version).

Here, let us keep in mind that at this point (in Acts 22:2) Paul, having just been arrested was just in the temple with some Gentiles. The Jews go ahold of him and arrested him and he is currently under Roman Custody - in JERUSALEM. I wish to hammer this down and asking for help. But, in my opinion, I think that when the authors of the New Testament say "Hebrew", as the example just stated above, (and pretty much ALL the references in John) - the author means just that - HEBREW and NOT the sister language of HEBREW; of which the sister language of Hebrew is Aramaic. Again, the authors, as Luke here in Acts 22:2 really means Hebrew - the mother tongue of the Jews BEFORE they were carried away into capitivity into regions of Assyria and Babylon. I say this because the context of these verses seems to strongly suggest this and NOT ONE author ever uses the word Aramaic. So, am I on the right course here?

Mike Karoules

Mike, this has been discussed on this forum a million times. The "Hebrew tongue" of the 1st century (and actually since the 5th century BC) was Aramaic (actually, several different Aramaic dialects depending on the region), and not the old classical Hebrew of Moses. That's why they required Aramaic Targums - very few could understand the old written Hebrew. It certainly wasn't a spoken vernacular.

Real Hebrew was not resurrected until the 19th-20th century, but even the modern tongue has differences from the ancient language of Moses. For centuries in Europe, the "Hebrew tongue" was Yiddish. For centuries in the Middle East, the "Hebrew tongue" was Judeo-Arabic. For centuries in Spain, the "Hebrew tongue" was Ladino. You get my point, I think.


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Re: Clarity on the definition of "Hebrew" as in Acts 22:2 - by Paul Younan - 05-06-2013, 06:02 PM

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