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Hebrew Primacy Movement Advancing
Shlama to all,

I have a Brother in Law who was Associate Pastor and Dean of Students with Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist and Liberty University at Lynchburg Va. .
He later pastored Calvary Church in Grand Rapids Mich. with 7000 attending every Sunday in three services. Now retired due to ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), he is still active giving Holy Land lectures on tours and his son is studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. They both have been studying Hebrew for several years with Rabbis and Hebrew Professors. When I told my Brother-in-Law Ed about Aramaic primacy and The Peshitta, he said that Jesus spoke Aramaic & Hebrew and that He would have used Hebrew when discussing The Torah, and probably taught the disciples in Hebrew.

I have done a google on the subject, and it seems that the scholars at Hebrew University are campaigning for Hebrew primacy, touting Dead Sea Scrolls and Bar Kochba scrolls of AD 135, among other finds, as evidence that Hebrew was still commonly spoken in Israel in the first century.

I smell a conspiracy. It seems that the enemy is countering the newly emerging Aramaic primacy with a Hebrew primacy strategy, knowing that the Greek primacy argument is already lost, as there simply is no evidence to support it.

Ah, but Hebrew, well all one needs is a few Hebrew mss. written in Israel in the 2nd century after the temple and Israel has essentially been destroyed, or letters conceivably written for practice by Hebrew students- (who knows the identity of the individuals who wrote the scrolls found in clay pots near the Dead Sea? ), then show that a few Aramaic words transliterated in Greek mss. are very similar in Hebrew, and voila ! You have Hebrew as the common everyday language spoken in Israel in an unbroken tradition from the time of Joshua to Jesus!

This is the new trend, my friends. Greek primacy is indefensible. The Hebrew scholars are lining up and subscribing to Hebrew primacy. We should arm ourselves to combat this trend. All we need are the historical facts as recorded by Josephus and the NT. Both of them address this question specifically. Josephus wrote about Greek not being the spoken tongue in Israel. He also wrote about "the language of our country" as what he used in his writing his history of the Wars of The Jews, which he sent in its original form to "the upper Barbarians" of Babylon, Mesopotamia, Persia, etc.
Quote:Who these Upper Barbarians, remote from the sea, were, Josephus himself will inform us, sect. 2, viz. the Parthians and Babylonians, and remotest Arabians [of the Jews among them]; besides the Jews beyond Euphrates, and the Adiabeni, or Assyrians. Whence we also learn that these Parthians, Babylonians, the remotest Arabians, [or at least the Jews among them,] as also the Jews beyond Euphrates, and the Adiabeni, or Assyrians, understood Josephus's Hebrew, or rather Chaldaic, books of The Jewish War, before they were put into the Greek language.
-William Whiston's famous translation of Josephus

As to the New Testament itself, or even the gospels, there is no such thing as a Hebrew Gospel written before the 15th century AD, and the translation
of the Hebrew Matthew I have seen shows it to be a blasphemous piece of garbage, written obviously to denigrate The Messiah Yeshua and to exalt John The Baptist as the true Messiah!
Regardless, not even a scrap of any Hebrew Gospel exists from even the first millenium, much less the first century. If God wrote a Hebrew Gospel, where is it?

If no ancient Hebrew ms. of any New testament book exists, there is no argument for a Hebrew original.

But, look out, for this propaganda is coming. Many evangelical churches are turning to Judaism in their worship style and sympathies. Hebrew is being studied more (which is a good thing) but it is going to fill the void in NT language when Greek is discredited, unless people are properly educated in the Aramaic culture and The Peshitta.

I hope I'm wrong about all this, but I felt I should express my thoughts about it.

Many blessings to all in our Lord Messiah and God our Father,

Dave Bauscher
Hi Dave,

When talking about Hebrew and Aramaic, it's such a fine line anyway. The two are so close that you can almost find the same root behind mistranslations, split-words, etc. as the two languages would share the same common root word 60-70% of the time.

I agree that Hebrew Primacy would leave us at a considerable disadvantage when presented with the rather lacking NT manuscript tradition.

Perhaps it is, in part at least, a counter-attack by the Greek Primacists to attempt to neutralize our arguments.

The problem is, this language they spoke in 1st century Israel is, to them, "Hebrew." That's what they called it. It's not the same "Hebrew" that Moses penned Genesis in, but we Assyrians even called their language "Hebrew".

Even today, when we speak of Iraqi Jews who lived in villages next to us and with whom we could easily converse in Aramaic, their dialect and accent is called "Hebrew" (Ibraith) simply because that's the language of the Hebrews.

Likewise, our dialect and accent is called, by them, "Ashurith" - "Assyrian", even though it's not the same Assyrian as in the Akkadian tablets.

So, they can go ahead and call it "Hebrew" - it is "Hebrew". Just like our language today in the modern dialect we speak is "Assyrian". Even though they are both technically Aramaic.

Does that make sense?
Hi Paul,

Makes perfect sense. I know Hebrew and Aramaic are very similar and that Judean Aramaic is called "Ibraith" in the NT. I did not know that Assyrians still
call it that. That is good to know and very helpful.

I think the Hebrew primacy movement is trying to convince the world that Aramaic primacy is wrong and not just Greek primacy. They talk of written Hebrew being more common than Aramaic writing in first century Israel correspondence, everyone spoke Hebrew as well as Aramaic, etc. Hebrew University is pushing this big time in their writing and lecturing.

It's great to hear from you.

Paul Younan Wrote:So, they can go ahead and call it "Hebrew" - it is "Hebrew". Just like our language today in the modern dialect we speak is "Assyrian". Even though they are both technically Aramaic.

Does that make sense?

That makes perfect sense, Paul. This phenomenon isn't only restricted to Aramaic, Moldovans call their language "Moldovan" when it's really just Romanian, Montenegrins call their language "Montenegrin" which it just Serbian, and Afghanis and Tajikis call their respective languages "Dari" and "Tajik" but they're really just dialects of Persian.

gbausc Wrote:I know Hebrew and Aramaic are very similar and that Judean Aramaic is called "Ibraith" in the NT. THAT's what it is. I was wondering why "tyrb9" shows up when one types both "Aramaic" and "Hebrew" into the lexicon search. I thought it was just a mistake. Thank you, Dave!

You know, being an Assyrian - everyone you run into asks "Do you speak Assyrian?"...."Can you read Assyrian?"...."Are you teaching your children Assyrian?", etc.

Yeah, our ancestors made the switch from Akkadian to Aramaic a few centuries before the fall of the empire, but really ... is our language properly called "Assyrian?" Technically, the vernacular spoken by modern Assyrians is Neo-Aramaic, just like the Jews from Zakho or Dohuk in Iraq still speak in Israel today.

The old Assyrians who originally spoke Akkadian wouldn't understand the language Meshikha spoke, let alone what we speak today.

Was there ever really an "Assyrian" language? After all, the Assyrians were just Babylonians who emigrated northward. The Babylonians spoke Akkadian, from the old city-state of Akkad.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think there's ever been a time that Assyrians spoke anything unique. They had a shared language with southern Mesopotamia (from where they originated), and then after that they adopted the language of the Arameans, whom they later transferred to the captive Israelites and Jews....who originally started out as Arameans.

If they wanted to call it "Hebrew" back then, I guess it's no different than us calling it "Assyrian" today.

If that's not enough to confuse's late and I need to be at the Altar in the morning.
I don't think you can "properly" define the name of any given language.

If by "properly" you mean "linguistically," then no, our language isn't called "Assyrian." The full name would be, as you said, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic. The dialect spoken by those who belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church would be Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, and so on. The name of the nation/group doesn't always correspond to the name of the language: Austrians don't speak Austrian, Mexicans don't speak Mexican, Israelis don't speak Israeli, etc.

BUT, for practical reasons, when someone asks me what language I speak in everyday/common conversations with regular people, I reply "Assyrian." (A person who speaks Chaldean Neo-Aramaic might reply "Chaldean" in the same situation). I say "Assyrian" for the same reason I say "English" instead of "Canadian Neo-Anglo-Saxon:" practicality.

If I was speaking to someone with a broader knowledge of languages (say, a linguist) then I would probably reply with "a dialect of Neo-Aramaic." So the proper/linguistic/historic name for our language would indeed be "Aramaic," but the actual name of a language often has more to do with cultural or political (or, in my case, "situational") influence than it does with the "proper" name (again, which I believe can't be defined).

Basically, I've thought of two ways to name a language: 1) go by cultural/political factors, or 2) go by what linguists/ethnographers say. So who's to say which is more "correct:" the people who actually speak the language or outside sources who have meticulously researched the language? It's not for anyone to say or define...

As for Assyrians never having a unique language of their own: that's somewhat true. But, when you think about it, our Neo-Aramaic dialects and even the Akkadian spoken by the ancient Assyrians are/was fairly unique in their own right.

Uniqueness is relative: some see two dialects of a language and assume they're the same, others see two related languages (e.g. Aramaic and Hebrew) and say they're different, while a speaker of an unrelated language (e.g. Japanese) might say that Aramaic and Hebrew are the same since they share similarities, in other words, Aramaic and Hebrew aren't unique.

The only "real" unique languages are probably language isolates: Japanese, Korean, Basque, Sumerian. All these languages are not known to be related to any other language, hence they're truly "unique."
Dear Dave, Karl & Paul,

A few years after I found books about Aramaic Primacy from Lamsa, I was working in a Christian bookstore chain called 'Mardel's' (it's a chain of stores in the South actually) they (we) sold a great book called 'Jesus, Rabbi and Lord', by Dr. Robert Lindsey, who Pastored Narkis Street Congregation (formerly called 'Narkis Street Baptist Church') in Jerusalem, Israel.

Robert Lindsey moved to Israel in 1946 if I remember correctly, two years before Israel became a Nation again.

His idea's have swept 'the Hebrew Primacy Movement'.

He believed (Dr. Lindsey is deceased now) that the GREEK New Testament can be translated BACKWARDS into a very readable and speakable kind of common Hebrew.

His book that I mentioned above is now out of print and costs more than gold over at, but I have a copy that I bought out of a bargain book bin many years ago when I worked for Mardel's, for probably around two bucks.

Dr. Lindsey's research and ideas have also greatly influenced 'The Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research', in Jerusalem, Israel.

As much as I admire Dr. Lindsey's work, I DON'T think that translating the GREEK New Testament backwards into HEBREW is the correct way to find and understand our Hebrew/Aramaic Roots, and what language that Jesus (Yeshua) REALLY spoke.

But MOST of these ideas have come from Dr. Lindsey's early work along with Rabbi David Flusser's ideas (who I believe is dead now too).

Rabbi Flusser and Dr. Lindsey were close friends for many years.

I just wanted to throw this in here because it seems to fit into this thread.

Shlama, Albion
Great posts! Thanks to all.

Burkta w'shlama,


Interesting posts and quite informative. (I'm happy the forum's back online) <!-- s:onfire: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/onfire.gif" alt=":onfire:" title="On Fire" /><!-- s:onfire: -->

I found an interesting note about Yeshua speaking Hebrew and Aramaic in the Editor's Note to the Aramaic-Hebrew Diglot (published by the Aramaic Scriptures Research Society, sold on, it reads:

"Yeshua spoke in Aramaic, and no doubt used Hebrew in conversations with scribes and other religious leaders, in addition to the synagogue use of Hebrew."
Paul Younan Wrote:The problem is, this language they spoke in 1st century Israel is, to them, "Hebrew." That's what they called it. It's not the same "Hebrew" that Moses penned Genesis in, but we Assyrians even called their language "Hebrew". ... ... ... So, they can go ahead and call it "Hebrew" - it is "Hebrew". Just like our language today in the modern dialect we speak is "Assyrian". Even though they are both technically Aramaic.
Paul are the Dead Sea scrolls penned in the same Hebrew that Moshay used, or the newer Hebrew dialect you speak of?

Also what kind of Hebrew did they use on coinage in the first century during the time of Yehoshua The Anointed One?

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