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Article claims to debunk Aramaic as Yeshua's language
The linked article<~ makes some interesting claims about Yeshua's native language.

Because so many variations in the Greek tie back to the Peshitta, I prefer the explanation that the Peshitta was the source. However, I did not get to this position by ignoring opposing views. So, I gave the above article a read and yet after doing so must conclude I am not qualified to evaluate many of the claims therein.

Can someone comparable to Paul or Andrew in linguistic learning please address the above?
I'm never one to dismiss opposing views, either. But I'm trying to figure out who the author, "Brent Minge" is, exactly? The reason I'd like to know, of course, is because it is important to know his qualifications. He doesn't quite seem to be very knowledgeable about the differences between the two languages, or equally as important, why they are so similar.

Apparently he wrote a book that this website, "", is referencing. I'd like to know how much more detailed his work might be, or if he really relies on what the Talmud says about angels' understanding of human languages. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->


i don't know any reason to give this guy much credit. i first read this article a few years back, and even then i personally saw some major flaws here. the foremost flaw being that he relies heavily upon the opinions of the Talmud and Mishnaic rabbis. he RELIES on them. he takes them as AUTHORITY. this is where we can all say "OY." does he not think his readers might not have read the Talmud or the Mishnah as well? the one thing that everyone needs to take away from a reading of the Talmud is that the Talmud and Mishnah DON'T AGREE WITH THEMSELVES. it is simple, really. the rabbis argue and dispute over a meaning or a way to perform a commandment, or even mundane lifestyle matters and national history. most of the time they discuss it and the conclusion is never stated as to which idea is authoritative. thus we have the schools of Shammai and Hillel - differing opinions because nobody could agree. (there's a joke in there)...

but Mr. Minge throws out the Talmud as authority that what the rabbis said was uncontestable -- law. here's a little secret: it was LAW to them. period. the rabbi stating a particular "whatever" held authority only so much as people placed their faith in him.
tell the Kariate Jews that the writings of the Talmud and Mishnah are authoritative.
dig up a Sadducee and do the same.
they won't be so ready to acquiesce to Mr. Minge's assertions - i'll bet a shekel on that.

hmmm, so do we have another source OUTSIDE of the Talmudic umbrella that differs in any way from what they say? well, i know this guy, see -- his name is Josephus, and he likes to write in a language nobody really spoke <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> , according to Mr. Minge, and write in it not only for his countrymen in the land, but also to the exiles in the Diaspora.
crazy guy!
<!-- sConfusedtupid: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/withstupid.gif" alt="Confusedtupid:" title="Stupid" /><!-- sConfusedtupid: -->

so yeah, keep an open mind and don't dismiss everyone right off, but don't let your brains fall out in doing so!

Chayim b'Moshiach,

I love the scholarly cover of the book. "Busting" the Aramaic "myth". Are we on Discovery Channel, or something?

One thing he might have missed: let's say Jesus did speak and preach in Hebrew. The fact that He knew Hebrew is indisputable, He did read from the scrolls in synagogue, after all. But here's an interesting thought to ponder: if He didn't speak in Aramaic, then why did He nickname Shimon, "Keepa?" Do you give a nickname to someone in a language foreign to you?

Though I am far from a scholar in languages, I will share some of my observations on his logic and choice of support material. Please critique.

One I can type up at the moment is that his citation of a rabbinic recommendation against praying in Aramaic seems an ironic inclusion, since the problem being addressed (in what language ought we to pray) actually suggests that a significant portion of the people spoke Aramaic natively. If the logic is hard for any to follow, ask yourself this: "Why would the Rabbis bother to denigrate praying in Lishana Aramaya if the masses are as fluent in Lashon Hakodesh as Mr.Minge asserts?"

As an aside... Whatever Rabbi took that position ("Angels do not understand Aramaic"???) must have felt really sorry for any poor angels they imagined can't read the portions of the Tanakh where it's used.
ZING! Also, ironically, the Talmud is written mainly in Aramaic. God?s angels do not understand the Aramaic language in which the Talmud itself is mainly composed....might be best for them! <!-- s:biggrin: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/biggrin.gif" alt=":biggrin:" title="Big Grin" /><!-- s:biggrin: -->
Perhaps it was an intentional mercy. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

The rhetoric has been fun, but the crunchy analysis has been more useful. Thanks for both in the posts so far, and I'm looking forward to that yet to come.

I'm encouraged at the participation, because the issue is critical. We should anticipate running into Mr.Minge's [or similar] material increasingly the more people become aware of Aramaic Primacy, since the GNT so frequently employs the term "Hebrew" in reference to the semitic language used by the characters therein.

Another observation of mine: if the most common form of Ivrit (actual Hebrew) during the 1st-century period - even in the synagogue and the yeshiva - was what came to be called "Mishnaic"... and linguists have demonstrated Aramaic influence on Mishnaic... does this not suggest that the use of Aramaic must have been a very common part of Mishnaic Hebrew's environment? Or does linguistic influence occur in a vacuum?

Whatever deconstructions/analyses of his points can be offered by you more learned fellows will be indispensible to the cause.

yeah, the part about angels not understanding Aramaic, and yet in Daniel 7 (written in Aramaic), we have an angelic being speaking in Aramaic to Daniel... but let's pay no attention to such silliness, right?

it is of importance to see the leaning the author of the articles takes when he addresses a word that he says could be either Hebrew or Aramaic -- well, then, it must be Hebrew in his perspective. why? and then the words which ARE understood to be Aramaic, yet are now assimilated into the Hebrew language, ie, GEHENNA, he says they could have been Hebrew before entering the Aramaic tongue! i'm sorry, this is so much stretching it is just silliness.

to me, the entire argument of Hebrew only falls apart when one takes as truth the statement made in Acts 1:19 that the name Kh'qel D'ma (field of blood) is the name of the field in the LANGUAGE OF THE REGION. fyi -- they are in Judea.

so what language is Kh'qel D'ma?

Aramaic. Hebrew doesn't call a field KH'qel, but SHADEH. the Peshitta calls a field KH'qel (or various inflections of such) 9 times -- 8 outside the above ref. from Acts, mostly in the Gospels, but also in Peter, too.

now what else is there to argue about? Scripture TELLS us the language of the region by the name of the field. this isn't hard. i don't know why Mr. Minge is saying opposite what the Inspired Word is saying. that troubles me. if he wants to say that the testimony of Scripture is invalid, leave him be. i'll take the Word of Alaha over the word of Minge.

Chayim b'Moshiach,
Paul Younan Wrote:ZING! Also, ironically, the Talmud is written mainly in Aramaic. God?s angels do not understand the Aramaic language in which the Talmud itself is mainly composed....might be best for them! <!-- s:biggrin: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/biggrin.gif" alt=":biggrin:" title="Big Grin" /><!-- s:biggrin: -->

that's hilarious! funny how Minge doesn't address the language of the Talmud much, huh? conveniently left that part out....

Chayim b'Moshiach,
Akhay (especially rmanlow)

If you'd like a slightly more scholarly approach to refuting the likes of Minge, it's really rather simple and doesn't require much background in the linguistics aspect.

His most persuasive argument is essentially stripped down to this: the (lamentably limited) apparent Aramaic-only words in Jesus' speech as portrayed in the GNT, can be explained as the presence of Aramaic loan-words in a Mishnaic-like Hebrew.

At face value, it seems like a reasonable, and un-refutable, hypothesis. However, we know what Mishnaic Hebrew looks like. And while it does, indeed, have many loan words from Aramaic and is largely Aramaicized in many grammatical aspects, there are strong indications that it was not what Jesus spoke.

One feature we see in Christ's speech as preserved in the Greek NT, is the use of the emphatic form of the noun. For instance, "keepha" for rock, or "talitha" for little girl, or "abba" for father, as opposed to "ab" or "ha-ab" as would be expected in Mishnaic Hebrew which emulates the noun state of classical Hebrew. For an example in Mishnaic Hebrew, see Pirkei Avoth 1:3: ("He would say, don't be like slaves (ha-mshamsheen) serving the master (ha-rab)..."). In fact, we never see evidence for the Hebrew form of the absolute or emphatic at all in the GNT.

There are many examples of the purely Aramaic emphatic form of the noun in the GNT. "Talitha", "Gabbatha", "Beth-Esda", "Golgotha", "khqel-Dema", etc. None of these forms are Hebrew.

Paul doesn't say "adonainu atha" at the end of his epistle, but "maran atha". The plural possessive form reflects Aramaic, not Mishnaic Hebrew.

+MShamshana Paul ( or, ha-MShamshan) in Mishnaic Hebrew <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> )

Thanks for your point about Acts 1:19. That's a great one.


Thanks for your latest addition which points out from the GNT itself the linguistic problems with Mr.Minge's theory.

To both of you, this is the kind of high-quality stuff that is extremely helpful in straightening out the issue that the referenced article raised. It may seem simple to you, but please remember that "obvious" is relative! I may not be completely ignorant, but as I am only an amateur autodidact in these Hebrew & Aramaic studies, I intend to be very careful and defer to those more knowledgeable. I would not want to put myself out there critiquing the article from my ignorance only to be embarrassed by it being shown that my lack of understanding misled me. It is better to place oneself at the worst seat rather than the best.

Now, however, should I find myself faced with this kind of material, I will be able to point the challenger here, where those who know their stuff have thoroughly disassembled the argument and shown it invalid.

Again, thanks all.
While this video is from a different guy, he seems to be working the same angle as Mr.Minge: assuming that the NT authors' intended meaning of "Hebrew language/dialect/tongue" would be Mishnaic Hebrew.

Right around 31:40 he begins building a claim that the alap appending the semitic words in the GNT are not actually indicative of Aramaic, but are rather a standard transliteration feature from Hebrew into Greek.

I'm remembering a couple of places where despite that theory the phrase is still clearly Aramaic, thanks to posts above ("Maran Atha", for one). However, it would be great to have one of you more learned fellows address this claim thoroughly once you have a moment. An example from Yeshua's own words would be preferable, but I understand if that won't work.
I think Mark 5:41 "Talitha koum!" would be a good example since "talitha" is Aramaic and the equivalent Hebrew word for girl would be "yaldah".

bar Sinko
bar Sinko Wrote:I think Mark 5:41 "Talitha koum!" would be a good example since "talitha" is Aramaic and the equivalent Hebrew word for girl would be "yaldah".

bar Sinko
Good one.

Although, the link in the OP claims to address that, so for my purposes a little unwrinkling is in order. Mr.Minge has it like this:
Quote:Even talitha (?little girl?, Mark 5:41), at first glance the ?least? Hebrew of all the seven words, is known to have been used by other Jews of the period, as it occurs in the Targum of Genesis 34:3 for ?young woman?[57]. Merely because a word is in the Targum, of course, does not preclude it from being Hebrew, as the Targums contain many words ? by one count almost half ? either identical, or very similar, to the Hebrew Bible[58]. Talitha too has Hebrew roots, coming from the Hebrew talah, meaning ?lamb? ? a term hardly out of place on the lips of the Good Shepherd. Merely because it has a ?tha? ending does not, of itself, make it ?Aramaic?, since Gamaliel ? whose strong views concerning Aramaic have already been noted ? had a devout Jewish maidservant with the closely related name of Tabitha[59]. This is not, again, to deny a possible Aramaic influence for talitha, just as ?lassie? is a regional Scottish term derived from old Norse for a young woman. Though not normally used in wider English, its use in Scotland does not mean the Scots speak ?Norse?!
Before covering his back at the end by saying that an Aramaic word here does not an Aramaic speaker make, his main argument seems to be that we are not compelled to read talitha as Aramaic since Tabitha would not have been. This position on the name Tabitha is calling support from Gamaliel's supposed view against Aramaic as recorded in the Talmud, Shabbath 115. So, I decided to read that section in an English translation available here.

After giving this a read, it seems to me that Gamaliel's issue was not general hostility towards Aramaic, or even towards an oral Targum therein, but rather against a written Targum. The rabbis appear concerned that establishment of written Targums could have undesirable consequences. Still, the fact that the order was to bury (hide) and not burn, seems to me more than insignificant. At this point, until corrected, I think Mr.Minge has misunderstood Gamaliel's episode with this early written Targum. Therefore his reasoning against talitha being certainly Aramaic seems to collapse.

Proceeding from that, I find this below snippet from an interview with Ian Young:
Quote:There are, however, in my judgement, some words that must be Aramaic, and cannot be Hebrew; whereas there are no words that have to be Hebrew and cannot be Aramaic. A good example is in Mark 5:41, where Mark translates Jesus' words rather prosaically, as 'little girl, I say to you, arise'. The words are also transliterated in Greek as talitha qumi. Now qumi could be a feminine singular imperative meaning 'arise' in either Hebrew or Aramaic. However one of the most noticeable differences between the two languages is the position of the definite article, 'the'. Aramaic places the definite article at the end of the word, thus the 'tha' at the end of 'talitha' is the Aramaic definite article on a feminine noun. Hebrew would have placed the definite article at the beginning, and produced something like 'Ha-talah', or perhaps 'ha-talyah'. The word talitha means both 'girl' and 'lamb', and the definite article is probably being used here as a vocative, so a possible translation of Jesus' words to the girl would be, 'Get up, little lamb'.

If Mr.Young is correct, I'm sure many of you could make the argument from your own learning. At this point in my studies however, it's better for me to refer to another authority.

At this point I think it's fair to say Mr.Minge's point on Mark 5:41 has been disarmed, and bar Sinko's view upheld. Critique, anyone?
I read someone say that scholars are moving from the idea that Jesus spoke Aramaic as His primary language but I question that, considering the abundant evidence we have that it was His primary language!

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