Author Topic: What Language Did Christ Speak?  (Read 4603 times)

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Offline TVDOC

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What Language Did Christ Speak?
« on: November 19, 2010, 04:08:08 PM »
The language of Christ has been the subject of much conjecture and discussion among Christian theologians for centuries, and the real answer is, no one knows for certain.  However there are some fairly accurate assumptions that can be made by a study of the history of the area, and what was customary for the time,

For the sake of this discussion, let's forsake the theory that as the Son of God, he was capable of speaking in any language, and focus on what can be proven from the historical evidence at hand.

The first fact in this logical exercise is that, of course, Christ was a Jew.  As such he was educated in the Temple as a child, and scripture tells us that he studied the Torah and Talmud with the scholars of the day.  In order to do so, he would have to speak (and read) ancient Hebrew, which is the language of the texts, and that used by the Rabbis in their daily Temple lives.  However, there is little evidence that Hebrew was the language most commonly in use in the Holy Land at the time.

The next fact that must be considered is that the Holy Land was at the time of Christ, a part of the Roman Empire, so one would  logically assume that Latin was spoken at least by some.  However, Roman historical documents of this period indicate that Latin was only used in the common manner in Rome and its immediate surrounds, and that by edict, it was not used provincially.  The use of Latin existed only in internal documents and communications between military and political officials, and primarily in written form, and not as a "spoken language" in what is now known as Israel.

Then there is Aramaic.........Aramaic is a "composite" language, which evolved during the Jews captivity in Babylon, after the destruction of the first Temple, and following the first diaspora.  Aramaic is a mixture of ancient Hebrew, and the Babylonian (ancient Persian) languages, including classic Arabic.  It was widely used in the Holy Land by the common people, and was further widely dispursed in usage in the entire Middle East.  It would be a safe assumption that Christ, being of the "common people" would have been capable of speaking Aramaic, however whether he was capable of writing the language is unknown.

Much of Christ's early years, following his childhood are not spoken of in scripture.  We are therefore left with a "gap" that most certainly held a plethora of education, and life experiences that cannot be verified in the texts.  It would be a safe assumption that that portion of his life was devoted to working, spending time with his family, friends, and learning the ways of the peoples that surrounded him, as well as continuing his scriptural education as a pious Jew.

Now comes the "fly in the ointment" so to speak, as the languages that we have discussed above were, by no means, the ones most commonly used in the Holy Land, and Middle East during this period.  The most widely used language at the time was Koine Greek........Why Greek?  Well.........the Greeks were traders, and had developed the most civilized society on the planet prior to Rome.  Their merchants and vessels travelled the entire Mediterranean basin for centuries, and wherever they travelled and entered into commerce, they left their language behind.  Koine Greek is a blend of several Greek dialects with "Attic', Attic being the form of Greek spoken exclusively by the elite in Athens.  Interestingly, Greek was much more commonly spoken in Rome during this period than Latin, however the Romans preferred "Ancient Greek" which they considered a more perfect form of the language.  Therefore, if there was such a thing as a "universal language" spoken in the Holy Land at the time of Christ it would be Koine Greek.  We know for a fact that his Apostles spoke it, as they preached in that language in the emerging churches throughout the area following the Crucifixion.

Therefore, to accumulate all these assumptions, conclusions, and historical facts, the most plausible theory is that Christ was multilingual.....and likely spoke at least three languages on a conversational basis, Koine Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew.  There is a further theory that he might have also spoke Egyptian, however, critics state that due to the widespread use of Greek in Egypt, this assumption would be a stretch.

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Offline thundley4

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 04:27:15 PM »
I always thought it was Aramaic.


He spoke English in every movie I saw. 

Offline Celtic Rose

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 04:30:38 PM »
Kyrie Eleison  :-)

Offline Thor

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 04:42:15 PM »
While it doesn't address what language Christ spoke, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infancy_Gospel_of_Thomas does show some of the things Christ did as a child.

Then there's  this: http://www.orthodox.cn/patristics/apostolicfathers/infancy1.htm
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Offline TVDOC

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 05:10:08 PM »
While it doesn't address what language Christ spoke, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infancy_Gospel_of_Thomas does show some of the things Christ did as a child.

Then there's  this: http://www.orthodox.cn/patristics/apostolicfathers/infancy1.htm

Aw geez....you had to bring up a "Gnostic Gospel".......

 :thatsright:

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Offline Carl

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2010, 05:17:13 PM »
As I understood it Aramaic is the consensus for what language would have been spoken by the people Christ ministered to so most likely the one He used.
However as God in the flesh He could have spoken any language needed in any given situation or had any person understand His words regardless of what language He was speaking in.

Offline Thor

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2010, 06:46:47 PM »
Aw geez....you had to bring up a "Gnostic Gospel".......

 :thatsright:

doc

Actually, in one of those, it addresses one language Christ may have spoken, Hebrew. Aramaic is probably a given...

What's wrong with the Gnostic Gospels, DOC ?!?!?!?!? :hyper:
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Online ExGeeEye

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 06:50:31 PM »
 :popcorn:
My CCW permit was issued in 1791.

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Offline Eupher

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2010, 08:11:32 PM »
Actually, in one of those, it addresses one language Christ may have spoken, Hebrew. Aramaic is probably a given...

What's wrong with the Gnostic Gospels, DOC ?!?!?!?!? :hyper:

Try this out for size.

http://www.conservativecave.com/index.php/topic,40767.0.html

I'd bitchslap you, but this is a thread about Christ. (I'm trying to be kinder and gentler.)  :rotf:
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Offline vesta111

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2011, 12:41:03 PM »
Try this out for size.

http://www.conservativecave.com/index.php/topic,40767.0.html

I'd bitchslap you, but this is a thread about Christ. (I'm trying to be kinder and gentler.)  :rotf:

Found this old post and thought it goes well with the current thread.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infancy_Gospel_of_Thomas

Offline PatrickMahoney

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 09:36:32 AM »
He probably spoke Aramaic with his followers and family.

As he was acquainted with the Torah, he also probably knew Hebrew.

And since he was probably reasonably educated, he might have also known Latin and Greek.

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2011, 08:55:00 AM »
And since He was God made flesh and therefore omniscient, He doubtless could have spoken Cherokee or Tagalog, or lolspeak for that matter, had the occasion arisen.

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Offline franksolich

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 09:30:56 AM »
And since He was God made flesh and therefore omniscient, He doubtless could have spoken Cherokee or Tagalog, or lolspeak for that matter, had the occasion arisen.

Agreed, wholeheartedly.

But in order for the Message of Salvation to be understood, He of course had to use the language known by those in His time and place.
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Offline thundley4

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 07:14:22 PM »
Maybe people heard what he said in their own language.

Offline debk

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2011, 08:25:29 AM »
Maybe people heard what he said in their own language.

It seems that I was taught as a child, that He spoke Aramaic and Hebrew.

However, I think Thundley's answer is the most likely to be true.
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Offline whiffleball

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2011, 09:04:54 AM »
I was taught that his languages were Aramaic, Hebrew and possibly an Egyptian dialect.  Since He is Divine there is no reason to believe that he could/cannot communicate in every existing language at the time of His life on earth and now.

Offline obumazombie

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2012, 03:17:30 AM »
Jesus spoke in the languages of his apostles, and then only after learning them. John was classically educated, so certainly latin, and greek. As for his divine nature, never did he use his omniscience in a manner greater than the capability of his followers. Everything he did, said and taught, he told his disciples he expected and desired them to do.
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Offline Ptarmigan

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2013, 12:31:49 PM »
Jesus spoke the language of the region he lived in. So he spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. He would of have spoken Latin and Greek as it was part of the Roman Empire at the time. Since, he was a carpenter, being multilingual would be very helpful.
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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2013, 05:05:33 PM »
I always thought it was Aramaic.


He spoke English in every movie I saw. 

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Offline rich_t

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Re: What Language Did Christ Speak?
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2013, 05:08:18 PM »
   
What Language Did Christ Speak?

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