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Was luke Assyrian?
Was luke Assyrian?
Shlama Akhi Michael,

Yes, he was. The Greek Church Historian Eusebius (4th c. A.D.) tells us that Luke was a "Syrian from Antioch." (Eusebius; Eccl. 20 Hist. 3:4)

First, and very importantly, a little historic background is in order. Do not confuse the Greek word "Syrian" with the modern-day Arab state by that name. The modern nation of Syria did not exist until the 20th century - it was carved out of the Ottoman Empire by the French and British, after they defeated the Ottomans during WWI.

Having established that, the English term "Syrian" is derived from the Greek word "Syrianos".

Here is what Herodotus, the Greek "Father of History", says about the term. (He describes the Assyrian infantry in the Persian Army during the rule of King Xerxes (485-465 B.C.))

Herodotus Wrote:???The Assyrians went to war with helmets upon their head, made of brass, and plated in strange fashion, which is not easy to describe... These people, whom Greeks call Syrian, are called Assyrian by the barbarians. The Babylonians serve at their rank??? (Herodotus, translation by Aubrey de S??lincourt (1972), Herodotus: The Histories Harmondsworth: Penguin Books)

Here is what Strabo, the Greek geographer who lived during the time of Meshikha, said "Syrian" means:

Strabo (64 BC-21 AD) Wrote:???When those who have written histories about the Syrian empire say that the Medes were overthrown by the Persians and the Syrians by the Medes, they mean by the Syrians no other people than those who built the royal palaces in Babylon and Ninus (Nineveh); and of these Syrians, Ninus was the man who founded Ninus, in Aturia (Assyria) and his wife, Semiramis, was the woman who succeeded her husband... Now, the city of Ninus was wiped out immediately after the overthrow of the Syrians. It was much greater than Babylon, and was situated in the plain of Assyria.??? (P. 195 (16. I. 2-3) of Strabo, translated by Horace Jones (1917), The Geography of Strabo London : W. Heinemann ; New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons)

As you can plainly see, Greek geographers and historians from the 5th-century B.C. until the 1st-century A.D. called the Assyrians "Syrians" (a Greek corruption of the Semitic name, "Ashurai", "Assyrians")

Now, again, this has nothing to do with the modern Arab nation called "Syria" - that was a French thing when they and the Brits carved out the modern nation from the Ottoman Empire. Likewise, "Iraq" didn't exist as a nation until after WWI. Same thing with Lebanon, Jordan, etc. These were all carved out of former Ottoman (Turkish) territory.

The Greeks called the Assyrians "Syrianos", or in English "Syrian" in the 1st-century A.D., during the lifetime of Meshikha and for centuries before, as we learned above from the quotes from Strabo and Herodotus.

Now, the Church Historian Eusebius (4th c. A.D.) tells us that Luke was a "Syrian from Antioch." (Eusebius; Eccl. 20 Hist. 3:4)

Remember, the modern nation called "Syria" today, did not exist back then.

If the Greek word "Syrian" during that time meant "Assyrian" to the Greeks, in other words the same people who "built Nineveh and Babylon", and if a Greek (Eusebius) calls Luke a "Syrian from Antioch", then Luke must have been part of the nation, the ethnic group, that built Nineveh and Babylon - he must have been Assyrian.

If he was Assyrian, then he spoke and wrote in the Assyrian's language - Aramaic. Aramaic became the official language of the Assyrian empire 9 centuries before Meshikha was born.

That's why the Greeks call Aramaic - "Syriac" - because it is the language of the Assyrians ("Syrians" in Greek).

Luke was an Assyrian who lived in Antioch, just like Tatian was an Assyrian who lived in Rome....and just like I am an Assyrian who lives in Chicago. All three of us "Syrians" speak (spoke) in Aramaic, and all three of us "Syrians" have (had) non-Semitic names (Greek and Latin) Andrew's name is Greek, but he's a Jew who doesn't speak Greek. Dean's name is....I don't know, but it's not Hebrew. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Just because my name is of Greek origin, doesn't mean that I know Greek (I don't) - and just because your name (Michael) is Hebrew doesn't mean that you know Hebrew (I don't know if you do or not, but you know what I mean.)

Hope that made sense.

There is a "Syria" mentioned in the New Testament. That's because a Roman province by that name existed during Meshikha's time to the north and east of Jerusalem. The reason why the province was called "Syria" is because when Alexander the Great conquered former Assyrian territory (he died and was buried in Babylon), the Greek name for the former Assyrian territories continued to be used by his successors, the Seleucids (who founded Antioch) and the Romans.
+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
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