Those portions of Scripture written during the Babylonian captivity are good candidates for Aramaic originals. So are Matthew's Gospel, John's Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse, Hebrews, James, Peter's Epistles, and Jude.
A little info to add: In John's gospel, chapter 19, Pilate had an inscription placed over Jesus' head: "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews." It was written in 3 langages, (presumably the most common, in that area) The 3 languages are, in 19:20: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. KJV. In Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. ESV. Hebraisti, Rhomaisti, and Hellenisti. Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th rev.Transliterated.
I don't understand why the ESV translates Hebraisti into Aramaic. But it makes Aramaic equivalant to Hebrew.
and I understand that the N.T. was written in Koine ( common ) Greek
( Hellenisti) and that the Aramaic is related to the Hebraisti.
Would a Greek master (not a student) please clarify for us? Thank you
Love and Peace to y'all, Jack
The question is: Is Hebraisti best translated as "Hebrew" or as "the language of the Hebrews" (which was presumably Aramaic)?
It is a common modern claim that the NT was written in Greek. Reality is somewhat different. Acts 6 implies that none of The Twelve spoke Greek. Acts 4:13 implies that Peter and John did not know Hebrew but only knew Aramaic. The early Greek church claimed Matthew wrote in Aramaic or in the language of the Hebrews, that Peter did not know Greek and Mark was his marginally competent translator, and that Paul wrote Hebrews in the language of the Hebrews, which Luke and Clement translated to Greek. The early Greek church also claimed that John's scribe for The Revelation was the bilingual Prochorus mentioned in Acts 6. The early church makes no record of who John used as a scribe for his letters and gospel.
The Aramaic versions of Matthew and John's Gospels, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3rd John, Jude. and Revelation have word plays in them that are lost in the Greek versions. The Aramaic versions of Mark and Luke have one such word play each. Acts and Paul's letters have none. This is what would be expected if the first list was written in Aramaic and the second list in Greek.
Statistical analysis of the words in John's Gospel, 1, 2, & 3rd John, and Revelation demonstrate they come from the same author. The grammer of the Gospel and the Epistles demonstrate they come from the same source, but not the same source as Revelation. This is unexplainable in terms of Greek primacy. This is expected if John used two different translators.
It is a rare Greek scholar who is even aware of the Aramaic tradition of the NT.
Is there any direct evidence (such as a fragment of an original manuscript) of an Aramaic original NT book? What is meant by "the same source"? Could you perhaps give more detail or an URL where I can read more?
Here are the quotes I copied from a book on the subject. I didn't copy the quote I'd found about John's epistles having identical grammer to the gospel and can't remember if it was from the book quoted below.
The author believes in Greek primacy (has never considered an Aramaic sourc) and doesn't know what to do with John's writings that clearly defy Greek primacy.
“It so happens that the differences are such that they cannot be explained by a linguistic evolution of one single person even when spread out over a considerable duration, provided that one could allow for this possibility. And yet the phraseology shows obvious signs of kinship.” Pierre Prigent, Commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John, p 40
“One cannot explain satisfactorily how a single person could have written the book of Revelation early on, in a very rugged Greek, and much later have comprised the Gospel in a much more refined language. But the two writings present the marks of a common family, and it is perhaps worth pointing out that these clues are more numerous when one takes into account only the Letters to the Churches in the book of Revelation.” Ibid. p 41
The Aramaic portions of the Old Testament are Ezra 4:6-6:18 and 7:12-26; Daniel 2:4-7:28. There is one sentence in Jeremiah (10:11) that is written in Aramaic. I limit my answer to the extant Aramaic portions of the Bible without any conjecture of what parts of the NT may or may not have been written in Aramaic (though I don't rule out these possibilities).
IL Vaughn, Thank you for the infomation re: Aramaic. Can you refer me to a good source for more?
I've understood that after Alexander's conquests, that Koine Greek became the language of commerce, and that everyone used it. That is also why Septuagent O.T. was made.
Another question: If parts of Daniel were written in Aramaic, What was the language of all the rest of the O.T.? Jack
Koine, common Greek, was never the common langauge in Palestine, Syria, and points east. If it was, why hang a sign in Aramaic over the cross? Why was Paul asked if he could speak Greek? Acts 21:37.
The Aramaic NT is called the Peshitta. Google that and you'll find that there are probably as many people in this world claiming Aramaic primacy of the entire NT as there are claiming Greek primacy.
Look at their arguments. They have overwhelming evidence for some books, slight evidence for others, and extend that to the rest. They make the same lingua franca argument for Aramaic that you just made for Greek.
For a more balanced look, read Eusebius, History of the Church, circa AD 325. Look carefully for occasional comments. Eusebius will guide you to slightly fuller details in earlier sources.
I know of no modern work that discusses Aramaic vs. Greek primacy in any balanced way. I wish there was someone with proper expertise who would take on this task. Unfortunately, everyone I have talked to, who has the necessary expertise, has told me Eusebius and his sources are in error and all of the NT was written in that correspondent's preferred langauge.
Clearly we are not getting the whole story, nor are the millions who prefer Aramaic.