Did Jesus speak Hebrew, and what difference does it make?

With Professor Jan Joosten

Classes & Courses

Although the gospels transmit words of Jesus in Greek, historical likelihood suggest that he said them in a Semitic language. A few short phrases are given in Aramaic in the gospels of Mark and Matthew: e.g. Talitha Qum “Little girl, wake up.” Most scholars therefore think Aramaic was the language of Jesus. But the discovery of new texts, and advances in historical dialectology have set the question in a different light, and nowadays it seems most probable that Jesus did at times speak Hebrew.

The possible Hebrew origin of some of Jesus’s sayings throws a new light on their interpretation. While the canonical Greek version bears the mark of early Christian theology, the original Hebrew sayings arguably chime better with contemporary Jewish writings in the same language. Jan Joosten is Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford, and Student of Christ Church. He is editor-in-chief of the forthcoming Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint.

Venue

JW3 JW3
Add to Calendar 30/01/2020 19:30:00 30/01/2020 19:30:00 Did Jesus speak Hebrew, and what difference does it make? Although the gospels transmit words of Jesus in Greek, historical likelihood suggest that he said them in a Semitic language. A few short phrases are given in Aramaic in the gospels of Mark and Matthew: e.g. Talitha Qum “Little girl, wake up.” Most scholars therefore think Aramaic was the language of Jesus. But the discovery of new texts, and advances in historical dialectology have set the question in a different light, and nowadays it seems most probable that Jesus did at times speak Hebrew. JW3 JW3 DD/MM/YYYY

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