Archives October 2010

Young Earth Creationism

Darwin vs. Design – How the Universe Began

The Question of Origins I/II

During the past century, much of the world has accepted the theory of Evolution as fact. Yet the molecules-to-man theory has no direct evidence to support it at all. Origins provides overwhelming evidence in favor of Creation.

The theory of Evolution has been applied to most scientific fields and this video thoroughly exposes the blind speculation and evolutionary bias in three of these areas of science including: Cosmology, Chemistry, and Biology.

This visually rich, full production reveals conclusive evidence that the universe and all life were created by a Supernatural Being, and that the God of the Bible is that Creator.

Features widely-traveled Creationist speaker, Roger Oakland, who makes the issues easy-to-understand for laypeople. Various scientific experts share evidence and proofs.

Part I of II.

The Miracle Planet – 1:Evidence for Creation on Earth

In this film you will journey through a miraculous place where its features-mass, structure, temperature and so on-are designed “just right for life and for the survival of living beings”. That is our Earth… Millions of animals, plants, insects and sea creatures, all with different structures, colors and features live together on this special planet. The great harmony on Earth and the wonderful life on it are proofs of the existence of God and the artistry of His creation.

Out of Place Artifacts

Great summary of the evidence that is ignored by scientists and archeologists.

The Biblical Flood Explained

The Hydroplate Theory (A Plausible Explanation of the Flood)

Dr Walt Brown

This video shows how the waters of the Biblical flood came from inside the earth, and how this flood created many features of the modern earth.

Evolution vs. Creation: #8 Dinosaurs and the Bible

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Ben Stein)

This a must see film. It raises some extremely important surrounding creation and evolution. If the evolutionists are so certain of their position why won’t they allow another voice in the classrooms, scientific journals and universities?

Knowing Yeshua God’s Salvation

Knowing that Jesus (Yeshua) spoke Hebrew is important to better understand His words and culture. Equipped with that knowledge we can more accurately interpret some of the hard sayings of Jesus. However, do you know Him? Knowing Jesus is the most important thing in life. Do you know what His name actually means?

“Iesous” (ιησους) is the Greek (from the Septuagint) equivalent of the Hebrew name “Yeshua”. “Yeshua” seems to be the first century equivalent of Yehoshua יהושׁע or Joshua. “Yeshua” comes from the Hebrew root “yesha” which means “salvation” while “Yehoshua” (Joshua) means YHWH is salvation. So, when you call upon His name, you are calling out “salvation”! It doesn’t matter what language you speak since Jesus knows your language! His message is very simple and easy to understand and you don’t have to know Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek to understand it! Here are some of the words of Jesus:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
The Bible declares that all have sinned (Romans 3:23)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16 -18)
Jesus states that God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be eternally separated from Him as a result of our sin.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” (John 14:6)
Jesus declares that there is no other way to God except through Him. If we want to live forever with God we must go through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25, 26
Jesus died on the cross and then rose again on the third day proving that He indeed has the power to forgive sins. If we believe in Him as the payment for our sin, we will live forever in Heaven with Him.

So the question is, do you believe this? Jesus came to die for your sins and for mine. He is willing to forgive us just for the asking – and that is our part. We must put our trust in Jesus as our Savior for our sins rather our own efforts. Asking Him to do this for you is easy; it just requires a sincere heart.

Admit that you have done wrong (sin) and are in need of a savior to save you from eternal separation from God.
Repent: turn your back on your sins.
Look to Jesus and what He did on the cross as the payment of your sins. If you sincerely ask Him to forgive you of your sins He will do so based on His death on the cross.

If you believe that Jesus died for your sins, as the Scriptures clearly say, then you can have eternal life. I invite you to receive His gift of life to you and then to rest in the promise that you are a new creation and will live forever with Christ. If you would like pray or to speak with me one on one, please don’t hesitate to write or call!

A Brief History of Hebrew

Historical Evidence

 

The amount of historical evidence that Jesus and the Jewish people living in Israel of his day spoke Hebrew as their mother tongue is extensive.  Over the last hundred years, a better understanding of literary sources such as the Mishna has greatly elucidated the linguistic situation of ancient Israel.  Additionally, discoveries such as the Bar-Kochba letters, coins, inscriptions and the Dead Sea Scrolls have brought to light what some scholars a hundred years ago could not know regarding just how widespread Hebrew was at the time of Jesus.  There is, in fact, so much evidence that there is simply not enough space to cover it all since that would require several volumes. Rather, we will look at the most relevant and pertinent information regarding which language Jesus taught in.

 

The discussion of this chapter will proceed as follows.  First we will trace the development of Hebrew from the time of the Patriarchs to the time of Jesus and later.  We will see that Hebrew never died out as is so often claimed and that when the New Testament writers said Hebrew, they really meant Hebrew and not Aramaic.  Our exploration will reveal that while there were some Aramaic speakers in Israel at the time of Jesus, Hebrew was the language of the Jews and Aramaic was the language in which they conducted their dealings with non-Jews.  Then we will also consider the testimony of some ancient sources that consistently claim that Jesus spoke and taught in Hebrew, that the disciples spoke Hebrew, and that the Jewish people as a whole spoke Hebrew.

 

 Brief History of Hebrew

Table 1 Progression of Hebrew from Ancient to Modern

Dates (approximate) Progression of Hebrew

(stages overlap)

Events or Key Figures
Second Millennium BC Proto Hebrew Abraham to Moses
Moses to Babylonian Captivity (6th century) Standard Biblical Hebrew Moses, David, Isaiah
6th century BC Transition between Standard and Late Biblical Hebrew Babylonian Captivity, Daniel; Aramaic and Persian loan words increase
End of 6th century to 5th century BC Late Biblical Hebrew Zechariah, Malachi, Haggai, and Nehemiah
5th century BC – 135AD Intertestamental and Mishnaic Hebrew Intertestamental period to Jesus
135 – 200 AD Waning and demise of Mishnaic Hebrew Post Second Jewish Revolt when spoken Hebrew truly died out
Early 20th Century  Modern Hebrew Eliezer Ben Yehuda and others revived Hebrew

 

Biblical Hebrew

 

When talking about Hebrew, a brief history of the language is of great aid in understanding what is meant.  Just like today, when we talk about English, we are not speaking of the English that was spoken in Chaucer’s or Shakespeare’s day or even that of one hundred years ago.  While the latter two we can understand, most of us cannot understand the first due to radical changes in the language even though it is referred to as English.  Most educated English speakers, however, can figure out what Shakespeare is telling us – though there are certain words that may trick us and unless we dig deeper into what they mean, we may be left with a misunderstanding of what is being said.  Consider Romeo and Juliet.  In my younger years I thought that Juliet by saying, “wherefore art thou Romeo” was in reality asking where he was!  Only later did I discover that “wherefore” is an archaic way of asking the question “why” (which certainly helps to understand what she was asking!).

 

The development of Hebrew is in many ways similar to that of English.  At some point in the second millennium BC, the Hebrew of the Patriarchs emerged from the Semitic language family and became a distinct language.  This earliest form of Hebrew is referred to as Proto-Hebrew, and the period in which it was spoken lasted approximately up through the time of the Judges.  We can see traces of this older form of the language in the Song of Moses, Exodus 15, and possibly in the book of Job.[1]  From there, we can trace Hebrew to its next stage known as Standard Biblical Hebrew (SBH), which includes the majority of the books of the Bible such as Kings, Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and many others.  It is called Standard by Biblical Hebrew scholars since this is what we find most of the Old Testament scriptures written in.  Finally, the books after the return from the Babylonian captivity – Zechariah, Malachi, Haggai, Esther, Nehemiah, Ezra and Daniel (excluding half of Daniel and Ezra written in Aramaic) were all written in what scholars have called Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH).

 

While in all of these different eras the language was Hebrew, (similar spelling, vocabulary and grammatical features) there are differences that exist among them.  For example, the word “kingdom”, which in SBH is ממלכה mmlcha,[2] becomes מלכוּת mlchut in LBH.  Both are derived from the same root for king (and hence kingdom) but are clear and consistent variants.  Another feature is the addition of pronunciation aids.  For example, the spelling of David דוד dvd in SBH changes to דויד dvid in LBH.  There are many other examples demonstrating that the Hebrew in the Old Testament was a living language constantly going through changes.  Moreover, it never died out as attested by the fact that the latter, postexilic prophets were still writing in Hebrew.

 

Intertestamental Hebrew

The time between the Old Testament and the New Testament (shortly after the time of Jesus) is commonly known as the Intertestamental period.  Though none of the works written in Israel at that time were included in the Bible, many books in Hebrew were composed. Perhaps the most significant finding of this period is the Dead Sea Scrolls found in a region called Qumran near the Dead Sea, southeast of Jerusalem.  A group known as the Essenes inhabited the site from approximately the third century BC until just prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD

Discovered in the 1940’s and 50’s, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain more than 800 documents and fragments, most of which were in Hebrew, some in Aramaic and almost none in Greek. (Stone 2000:11)  Among the most notable finds in the Qumran region was the copper scroll written in Mishnaic Hebrew which gave an inventory of Temple treasure and where it had been hidden before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.  Also found in the caves of Qumran were the books of Ben Sira (in Hebrew), Jubilees (in Hebrew), and Testament of Naphtali (in Hebrew) as well as commentaries on books of the Bible.  Additionally, a document called the Community Rule was found, which was the rulebook for those living in the community. (see Safrai 1991b)

 

Mishnaic Hebrew

 

An important element in discovering the language of Jesus and first century Israel is the Mishna, a body of writings in Hebrew, which set forth rabbinical guidelines of how to apply the law to everyday life.  The Mishna includes the (oral) teachings of the Rabbis up through the second century AD, so it provides crucial confirmation that Hebrew was a spoken language.  It is divided into six parts dealing with every topic to which the law could be applied, e.g. contracts, marriage, work related issues, etc.  In other words, it employed vocabulary that was current and up-to-date at the time of Jesus (see Segal 1908).  The Hebrew vocabulary used in the Mishna is not solely that of the Bible, but neither is it Aramaic – it was the “modern” Hebrew of the day.  Many Hebrew words had changed, some had fallen out of use and others had even taken on a totally different meaning.

 

Nonetheless, many scholars have insisted that Mishnaic Hebrew was either an invention of the Rabbis or even a translation from Aramaic.  Dr. Shmuel Safrai, a founding member of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research and past professor at the Hebrew University, notes that

 

most scholars since the beginning of the nineteenth century have concluded that Aramaic was the spoken language of the land of Israel during the Second Temple period. Even when scribes of that period or later attest that they wrote or transmitted traditions in Hebrew, scholars have persisted in claiming that this “Hebrew” was actually some type of Aramaic dialect then prevalent among the Jews of the land. It has even been claimed that the Hebrew in which the Mishna was written was an artificial language of the bet midrash, house of study, which was a translation from Aramaic, or at the very least heavily influenced by Aramaic. (Safrai 1991a)

 

However, the application of Hebrew to everyday situations strongly suggests that Hebrew was still a living language.  Consider by way of example the English word gay.  Just 30 to 40 years ago, this word meant merry, jovial.  However, if I were to say “I am feeling rather gay today”, I would at the very least get a lot of strange looks from those around me!  How quickly and radically a word can take on a new meaning.  But we would not say that gay is no longer English; it has a different meaning but it’s not a different language.  So, too, the Mishna used much of the vocabulary from the Bible – both Standard and Late Biblical Hebrew – but also coined new phrases to deal with then-current situations and occasionally even completely integrated vocabulary from Aramaic, Greek, Persian and other languages.

 

Furthermore, the possibility of it being a living language is corroborated by other Hebrew documents from roughly the same period, which we will discuss later. To say that Mishnaic Hebrew, the Hebrew of Jesus’ day was not a living language is truly an argument from silence.  All of the sources that we will look at plainly designate Hebrew as a living language and thus, in light of this evidence, the burden of proof should lie with those who maintain that Mishnaic Hebrew is an artificial contrivance. (Dr. Gallagher personal communication)

 

Bar Kochba

After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD under the Roman General Titus, the Jewish people continued living in Israel though their numbers were greatly diminished.  From 132-135 AD, the Jewish people, under Simon Bar Kochba, rebelled against the dictates of Rome which had outlawed circumcision. Though they fought passionately, the Romans overwhelmed them and at the end of the revolt all Jews were expelled from the city of Jerusalem on penalty of death.

Letters of correspondence between Bar Kochba and his soldiers were discovered in 1951 near the Dead Sea.  They are a significant finding since they were written in Hebrew as well as Aramaic and Greek.  There are certain colloquialisms found in them leading to the conclusion that Hebrew was not a dead language nor was it a language reserved only for the synagogues.

 

The Hebrew documents clearly were written by an expert scribe, with the script being similar to printed Hebrew used today…they contain a number of colloquialisms causing some scholars to suggest that contrary to popular assumption, Hebrew at the time was a living and developing language. This is also reflected in the economic and military documents found in the Judean Desert… The widespread use of Hebrew in the period is confirmed by coins minted during the revolt. All fifty-one different types of coin found from that period have Hebrew inscriptions.  (Pileggi 1991)

 

The Bar Kochba letters are a weighty piece of evidence demonstrating that well after the time of Jesus the Jewish people in Israel were still speaking Hebrew.  After all, if you were leading a revolt against the strongest army of the world, wouldn’t you want to give your orders in a language that your subordinates might misunderstand?  And of course, a misunderstanding in war could cost you your life.  Thus, finding correspondence in Hebrew clearly confirms that it was a spoken language, not just a language of religious gatherings.



[1] The dating of the book of Job is complicated and contested and is not the focus of this book.

[2] Vowels are not necessarily written in Hebrew.

The Sign on the Cross of Jesus: Hidden Acrostic?

It has been suggested that the reason the Jewish leaders were so upset with Pilate regarding the sign on the cross of Jesus was due to the acrostic that the words spelled in Hebrew.  That is the first letter of each word “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (John 19:19) actually spelled YHWH, which, if true, would obviously be an affront to the pious leaders of the day.

For the above claim to be true, the Hebrew would have needed to be:  Yeshua Hanotzri W [1] -melech Hayehudim (Jesus of Nazareth and King of the Jews). I have capitalized what the transliterated letters would have needed to be to get YHWH.  The problem is that the letter Vav (represented by the W) is not reflected in the Greek texts of the Gospels.  Hence the above reconstruction is unsound and doubtful and is nothing more than a reconstruction.  If we had the Hebrew original, this would be a moot point, but unfortunately, it is not extant.

Below is the complete list of scriptural passages regarding the sign on the cross.  If the letters YHWH truly did appear on the cross as the reconstruction indicates, then we should clearly see this in the Greek text.  The Hebrew affix W (Vav), which means and, corresponds to the Greek word kai.  For the claim to be true, we should definitely see the word kai between the word Nazareth and the words the king.  If we don’t see this word, then the theory falls apart.

  • John 19:19 “…JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

…᾿Ιησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων.

While the text of John is the most promising of the four, the underlying Hebrew would most naturally be rendered as: Yeshua HaNotzri Melech Hayehudim, thus becoming an acrostic YHMH, which means absolutely nothing.  As a note, we would not see the definite article in front of melech (king) in the Hebrew even though it is there in Greek due to the difference in Hebrew grammar.  In the Hebrew the definite article on yehudim (the ha) is adequate to make melech definite as well.

It should not be overlooked, however, that in the Bible and Jewish literature, a common way to write YHWH was to abbreviate it by just writing יה YH.  So, seemingly, perhaps the Jewish leaders were not so much seeing YHWH but just YH .  This theory could work if it were not for their very complaint a few verses later.  “Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, Do not write, The King of the Jews, but, He said, I am King of the Jews.” (John 19:21)  Notice, they didn’t ask Pilate to change the YH (Yeshua HaNotzri) but specifically asked that the claim of kingship be removed and so the first two letters of the supposed acrostic were in no way an issue.

  • Matthew 27:37 “…THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

…οὗτός ἐστιν ᾿Ιησοῦς ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων.

Matthew provides little information, yielding a translation of Ze Yeshua Melech Hayehudim or ZYMH, meaning nothing.

  • Luke 23:38 “…THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

… οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων.

Luke gives less information than a little less than Matthew: Ze Melech Hayehudim or ZMH, again meaning nothing.

  • Mark 15:26 “…THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

… ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων.

And Mark records the most truncated of the four: Melech Hayehudim or MH, meaning nothing.

Conclusion:

In none of the texts above do we see the word kai, which, if the acrostic YHWH had been written in Hebrew, would have appeared in the Greek.  If it appeared in at least one of the texts, then we might conclude that it really was there.  However, since we don’t see it in any of the texts, which are our only records of what was (or was not) on that sign, we must conclude that the acrostic YHWH was not on the cross.  It is best to be silent where the Bible is silent.  Regardless, however, of what it spelled out, the reason that the Jewish leaders were angry was not because the writing somehow spelled out YHWH, but because it said he was the king of the Jews, an obvious declaration of Messiahship, which they plainly rejected.


[1] The letter vav before the letter M is pronounced as a long “u”.

Mammon

Discovering the Language of Jesus: Hebrew or Aramaic?

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24 see also Luke 16:9,11,13)

The word mammon[1] has long been assumed to be Aramaic.  In fact, every Greek lexicon I checked said unambiguously that it is of Aramaic origin.[2] Many lexicons simply relegate the word to Aramaic a priori based on the fact that it is not Greek.  The word, in fact, comes from an old Hebrew root המון hamon meaning a number of different things making it somewhat difficult to translate.  But essentially, it means many, a lot.  Among the meanings [3] are riches and abundance.  It might seem to be somewhat of a stretch to say that hamon could become mammon.  However, considering that it was quite common for the letter mem to be added to the front of words to make them into other classes of words, it is not a stretch at all.  Consider the following examples:

  • targum (translation), becomes translator by adding the letter mem to the front of the word – meturgeman
  • melech (king), becomes kingdom by adding a mem to the beginning – mamlacha,
  • zamar (to sing) becomes melody, psalmmizmor
  • yesha (salvation) – (from which comes the name Yeshua – Jesus) becomes with the memsavior moshia
  • hamon (a lot) becomes (money) mammon

Equally important is the fact that the word mammon is actually attested outside of the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament.  We find it nine times in the Mishna.  The passages in which mammon is found are in Hebrew (not Aramaic!) and are in reference to money and terms of payment.  One says, “If they give you a lot of money [mammon], you will enter…” Seder Nizikin 3:4 [4].  Another says, that if certain services are not performed, then a fine of money [mammon] will be paid (Seder Nizikin 4:8 [5]. And lastly, Seder Nashim Ktuvot 3:2 says in unambiguous terms that if so and so undertakes or commits to do something and then doesn’t pay then he will be fined as it says in Exodus 21:22:

  • (Mishna Nashim Ktuvot 3:2)וכל המתחייב בנפשו–אינו משלם ממון, שנאמר “ולא יהיה, אסון–ענוש ייענש (שמות כא,כב) …Vkol hamitchayev benafsho – eino meshalem mammon, sheneamar velo yihiye, ason – yenosh yeanash (shmot 21:22).
  • (Hebrew Bible, Exodus 21:22) – וכי־ינצו אנשׁים ונגפו אשׁה הרה ויצאו ילדיה ולא יהיה אסון ענושׁ יענשׁ כאשׁר ישׁית עליו בעל האשׁה ונתן בפללים) – …he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

There are two things in this text that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that mamon is a Hebrew word for money.  First of all, the Hebrew word “pay” (meshalem) appears before mammon (money) and secondly is the reference given to Exodus 21:22b which says “yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay (natan, literally give) as the judges determine.”  We see that the Mishnaic text actually uses some of the same words but updates pay (natan in Exodus 21:22b) with the up-to-date term pay money (meshalem mammon).  Since they use it in conjunction with that verse, which we know means pay and then update it with meshalem mammon, which, by the way, are in a 100% Hebrew context, we can definitively conclude that mammon was Hebrew.  While we cannot say that this was not an Aramaic word, it is worth noting that Targum Onkelos translates the word in the Exodus passage, which is related to the above Mishnaic passage, as natangive. Moreover in places where the Hebrew Bible writes money as kesef (literally silver), Targum Onkelos follows suite with כַספָא kaspa.  If mammon were such a common Aramaic word then why is it not used in this of all verses when the Mishna does use it?


[1] The Textus Receptus has the spelling mamon, which agrees with Luke in every manuscript.  However, for sake of the accepted convention mammon will be used in this book.

[2] See in situ Thayers Greek Lexicon, Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Lexicon, Friberg Green Lexicon, UBS Greek Dictionary and Louw-Nida Lexicon

[3] The meaning of hamon: cry aloud, mourn, rage, roar, sound; make noise, tumult; be clamorous, disquieted, loud, moved, troubled, in an uproarAbundance, company, many, multitude, noise, riches, rumbling, sounding, store, tumult.  (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament hamon entry).

[4] Seder Nizikin 3:4 (im notnin lecha mammon harbe, ata niknas) אם נותנין לך ממון הרבה, אתה נכנס

[5] Seder Nizikin 4:8 (she-ein chayavin ela al tviat mammon kfiqudin)שאין חייבין אלא על תביעת ממון כפיקדון

Introduction to Discovering the Language of Jesus

Discovering the Language of Jesus: Hebrew or Aramaic? Click to purchase

What was the language that Jesus communicated in as he taught and interacted with the people of Israel?  Some say it was Greek since that is the language of the New Testament.  Some say Aramaic, picked up by the children of Israel during their seventy-year captivity in Babylon, since they suppose that Hebrew was a dead language at the time of Jesus. Finally, the minority view holds that Jesus spoke Hebrew, the language of his people, of Moses, David and the prophets.  Nevertheless, Greek, Aramaic or Hebrew, couldn’t he have spoken all three?  While it is entirely possible that he spoke all three, the issue that our discussion will focus on is what language he most often communicated in.  After all, the creator of the universe would obviously be able to speak whatever language he desired, but of course speaking a language is only useful if those around you can understand what you are saying.  So our question quickly becomes limited to what language the disciples and followers of Jesus spoke.  That is not to say what they were capable of speaking, but rather, what language they spoke in the markets, their homes and in their inner circles when sharing their thoughts.

Click here to listen: Discovering the Language of Jesus Douglas Hamp or El Lenguaje de Jesus

Even if we can determine what language Jesus most often communicated in, does it really matter?  Yes, it does matter!  The language of Jesus is important to our understanding of the Jewish culture and world in which Jesus lived, taught and interacted.  So much of a culture is wrapped up in its language that it is often difficult to separate the two.  Knowing what language Jesus and the Jewish people living in Israel [1] in his day spoke, helps us better understand the words, phrases and teachings that were used in the New Testament

Perhaps even more significant to why this is important is that the Bible says that he spoke Hebrew!  The idea that Jesus spoke only Aramaic and not Hebrew is neither historical nor Biblical.  The New Testament clearly and unambiguously says that Jesus spoke Hebrew and that Hebrew was used in his day; it never refers to Aramaic.  In spite of this, most Biblical scholars have taught that Hebrew was a dead language at the time of Jesus.  They claim that when the New Testament says Hebrew, it really means Aramaic; in other words, they say that the phrase Hebrew language really means Aramaic. Just as the phrase American language means English, so they say that the Hebrew language in the New Testament actually means Aramaic.

Greek, Aramaic or Hebrew

Perhaps Greek?

We see evidence in the New Testament that Greek was indeed spoken in first century Israel.  A number of Greek inscriptions have also been found in the land from this period (a result of the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC).  Greek for centuries had been the international language of the Ancient Near East including Israel.  Moreover, Josephus reports that there were signs in the Jerusalem Temple “…declaring the law of purity, some in Greek, and some in Roman letters, that ‘no foreigner should go within that sanctuary’ for that second [court of the] temple was called ‘the Sanctuary,’…” (Wars 5,5,2) Also one of the languages of the sign on Jesus’ cross [2] was Greek (John 19:20) – thus there can be no doubt that Greek was used in Jesus’ day.  In fact, this is an issue which hardly needs to be mentioned.  After all, the entire New Testament has come down to us in Koine Greek, a dialect of Jesus’ day. However, almost all scholars agree that the mother tongue of the Jews in Israel was not Greek.  As we will see, the New Testament records various words written in the spoken language and then transliterated and translated into Greek.

Aramaic or Hebrew

So, if not Greek, then we are left with two options: Aramaic or Hebrew.  This is truly where opinions differ.  Admittedly, nearly all scholars have argued and still maintain the position that the common language of Jesus’ day was Aramaic.  The theory is so prevalent that it is taught in seminaries as fact that Hebrew was a dead language by the time of Jesus.

Barbara Grimes, in her book, Language Choice in First Century Christianity, unambiguously declares, “In the homeland of the Jewish people in the first Century AD, Aramaic was the mother tongue and principal language of most of the people, including virtually all of the women.” (Grimes 1987:20-21)  Alfred Edersheim, an expert on the life of Jesus, suggests that Hebrew was nothing more than a language used in the Temple and synagogues and the messages had to be translated into Aramaic for the commoners (Edersheim 1993:91). Edersheim and Grimes are not alone; perhaps the majority of scholars have had a mistaken view of Mishnaic Hebrew, the Hebrew of Jesus’ day.  Probably typical of the prevailing opinion was Abraham Geiger’s suggestion, given in 1845, that Mishnaic Hebrew was an artificial creation of Rabbis whose native tongue was Aramaic (Buth 1987:25). One of the most frequently cited scholars is Matthew Black, an expert of Aramaic and proponent of the idea that Hebrew was a dead language in the time of Jesus.  He says

…the Aramaic speaking masses…could no longer understand Hebrew.  The use of the term ‘Hebrew’ to refer to Aramaic is readily explicable, since it described the peculiar dialect of Aramaic which had grown up in Palestine since the days of Nehemiah and which was distinctively Jewish … (Black 1967:48)

This belief became so commonplace that the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible followed suit with the assumption by systematically translating the words ῾Εβραΐδι Hebraidi and ῾Εβραϊστὶ Hebraisti (both mean Hebrew) as Aramaic.  For example in John 5:2 the NIV translates “…near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda…” instead of the literal translation Hebrew (though “or Hebrew” is in the footnotes).  Obviously, the rationale for doing so stems from the belief that Aramaic had replaced Hebrew.  Is this justifiable when the word is clearly Hebrew?  When Paul, in Philippians 3:5, describes himself as a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” the NIV correctly retains Hebrew instead of Aramaic or Aramean.  They translate the same word ῾Εβραῖος (Hebraios – related to the two variations above) as Hebrew in Philippians; why not retain the translation in the other passages which are talking about the language?  It is unfortunate that the belief that Aramaic had replaced Hebrew is so strong that Bible translators feel justified in changing the text of the New Testament instead of simply faithfully translating what it says even if it is in contradiction to current scholarship.

Though the prevalent theory of Aramaic as the mother tongue of Jesus is overwhelming, the view is in need of a revision that more accurately represents the language situation in Jesus’ day. Once we begin investigating, we discover that there is a great deal of evidence from the New Testament, as well as a plethora of external evidence showing that Jesus spoke Hebrew (not Aramaic) as his mother tongue and in his daily life and ministry.

 

This is not to say that Aramaic was not spoken.  The amount of evidence is irrefutable that Aramaic was one of the languages of his day.  However, the historical and biblical evidence attests to the fact that he was speaking Hebrew.  Again, this is important since to say otherwise does not accurately represent Jesus.  Also, recognizing his language as Hebrew demonstrates the reliability of the Bible as the Word of God, and provides a continuum of teaching from the Old Testament up to and through the life and ministry of the Messiah.

A Road Map

In order to resolve the question of just what Jesus was speaking as his day-to-day language of communication, we will first of all look at the historical evidence coupled with the testimony of the New Testament in order to see what ancient authors had to say about the language of the day.  After reviewing what history has to tell us, we will then examine, from a linguistic point of view, the actual words of Jesus (plus a few others), as recorded in the New Testament.  This is necessary since words and phrases, such as talitha kumi have so often been used to “prove” that he really spoke Aramaic.  Our linguistic examination will reveal that he was speaking Hebrew, just like the New Testament says.


[1] Israel at the time of Jesus refers generally to the areas of Judea, Galilee and perhaps Samaria as well.

[2] See appendix for the discussion of the supposed hidden message on the sign on the cross.


Nile Mosaic of Palenstrina


The following page is taken in whole from s8int.org Please visit their site for more amazing out of place artifacts that challenge the evolutionary/old earth paradigm.


Nile Mosaic of Palestrina

Palestrina Mosaic

I was in the library this week poring over literally thousands of pages of early Roman art, including the art of 1st century Pompeii. I spent this time in the library after spending weeks trying to find more copies and higher resolution photos of the pieces being presented here online.

If and when I did find them, in the great majority of cases the representations of the art had been cropped so that the “offending details” had been eliminated. Other companion works were often shown in their entirety and often in higher resolution, but these were not.

Although these art masterpieces should be easy to find—they are not. As you look at the evidence s8int.com presents here, remember that the keepers of the evolutionary paradigm did everything overtly or subtlety possible to keep us from seeing them. That might tend to lend them additional credibility as evidence supporting interaction since there would be no need to surpress or deny information which does not threaten the paradigm.

The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina and the hunting mosaic from the “House of the Physician” are incredible works that should be well known to the public in their entirety, but if in fact they were well known, they would be very controversial with respect to the evolutionary timeline.

What we really wonder about is; with respect to the powers that be who conspire to keep this information out of the public eye, do they themselves manage to maintain the belief that dinosaurs and man never coexisted—or is it just the great unwashed true believers out there who have the pure religion? Is the power of denial really that strong?

What we do know is that whatever we do stumble upon here at s8int.com or whatever anyone else discovers is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Nile is not just a river in Egypt.

The Nile is the longest river in the world, stretching northwards for approximately 4,000 miles from East Africa to the Mediterranean. In addition to Egypt, it flows through the African countries of Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia,. Nilotic art like the first century Nile Mosaic of Palestrina detailed life along the Nile.

Nile Mosaic of Palestrina crop1“The vast Nilotic mosaic (21.3 x 17.3 feet) set into the floor of the apsidal hall adjacent to the sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste (Palestrina) provides important evidence for what Roman triumphal paintings using topographical conventions may have looked like.

On the mosaic, the Nile winds past vignettes representing exotic landscapes and settlements; the more recondite details are carefully labeled in Greek, underscoring the Alexandrian source of the genre. The precise nature of the relationship between the mosaic and cartographic practices is controversial.

Recently the Palestrina mosaic has been interpreted as an actual topographic map of the Nile: the upper part of the mosaic represents Ethiopia, the upper zone of the lower section represents Egypt, and the foreground represents the Delta, top to bottom understood as south to north, the standard convention for ancient maps.

More likely, however, the mosaic provides a large, coherent landscape composition of the Nile during the flood season, nevertheless dependent on topographical conventions”.( Meyboom )


Dinosaur Art From the House of the Physician-Mid First Century A.D.

“Pompeii is a ruined Roman city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the commune of Pompei. It was destroyed during a catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius on 24 August 79 AD.

pompeii

"Hunt" mosaic discovered in the House of the physician in Pompeii, Rome

Hunt Mosaic from Pompeii

"Hunt" mosaic discovered in the House of the physician in Pompeii, Rome

The volcano buried the city under many metres of ash and it was lost for 1,600 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire”……Wikipedia

Nile River Crocodile

Nile Mosaic

When the images are discussed, it is within academia, not with the general public. The apology given for the oversized reptiles is that they are simply nile crocodiles. This is not the case. As we will show, the crocodiles on these Nile works were rendered realistically and accurately as shown in this rendering from the Nile Mosaic on the right.

Note that in the image on the left, and in the complete mural below a man is battling a reptile taller than himself with a shield and a spear. Compare the man, the dinosaur and the building at the center of the image. The creature on the right has a dermal ridge, unlike a crocodile but exactly like certain dinosaur types which might be safer to sit astride as we will explore below.

"Hunt" Pompeii Mosaic

"Hunt" Pompeii Mosaic

 

Low stature, armored dinosaur comparison

Low stature, armored dinosaur comparison

There are many armored dinosaur types that fit this reptile portrayal at least as well as the crocodile. Most of them had “low slung” bodies with heights of six feet high or less. One can make up his/her own mind but the hunter astride the reptile is between “plates” on its bck. In addition to the examples shown here, other candidates can be seen by following this link.

Another denial tactic is to label the dark skinned peoples in these mosaics as pygmies (to account for reptile towering over native). However, authorities on Roman art note that its not just blacks who are made diminutive in Roman art but that it was a way of making the Romans seem superior.

 

African-Roman Hero, Hercules. Fresco, Imperial Roman Pompeii

African-Roman Hero, Hercules. Fresco, Imperial Roman Pompeii. Hercules stands beside the enthroned Lydian Queen Omphale

Not only blacks were diminutive in the pieces, white or light skinned persons were dwarfed as well. As a matter of fact, Snowden, in his book “Before Color Prejudice” makes note of the egalitarian nature of the Roman civilization, and apparent lack of color discrimination, using examples from ancient Roman Art; many works showing scenes involving both dark skinned and light skinned citizens.

With respect to the three pieces found at the House of the Physician, all portray light skinned and dark skinned dwarves.

This includes “Judgment of Solomon”, (NOT SHOWN) which depicts the Jews as dwarfed and as both dark skinned and light skinned peoples.

The work below is also first century, from the House of the Physician at Pompeii.

 

from the House of the Physician at Pompeii

From the House of the Physician at Pompeii

 

 

 

Continue to Part 2 >>>

 


Also View:

Dinosaurs in Literature
Dinosaurs Among Men Video Clips
Dinosaur Animation

Dinosaur Animation

Ceratopsids

The ceratopsids were herbivores, characterized by large bony collars, armed with large bony horns. These dinosaurs are often found in association with hadrosaurs suggesting that they may have had similar habits. Shown here is Triceratops called so for obvious reasons. The head shield, thought originally to be a defensive weapon, is now thought, because of the extensive vascularization evident as vessel channels on the surface of the bony shield, to have been involved in thermoregulation.

Tyrannosaurus rex

Perhaps no other dinosaur has received as much bad press as T. rex, the king of carnivorous dinosaurs. There is little doubt that this carnivore was a fearsome sight, standing 20 feet tall, and having long serrated teeth, apparently capable of ripping its prey to shreds. Its front feet were designed for ripping also and probably were not capable of holding the weight of the animal, which walked upright, using its formidible tail for balance. The most famous T. rex is a dinosaur named “Sue” at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. This nearly complete specimen was 43 feet long and stood 12 feet high at the hips.

Ornithomimosaur

These medium sized dinosaurs,s, Gallimimus, are the largest of the ornithomimosaurs except for the famous Deinocheirus, an ornithomimosaur with eight foot long arms and 10 inch claws. are best known for their appearance in Jurassic Park, where they featured, as in this picture, as a stampeding herd. The name “Gallimimus” indicates the overall resemblance (mimic) of these birds to chickens (“Ostrich-like”, may be a more diplomatic way to put it). The remains of these forms have been found in Upper Cretaceous strata in Mongolia.

Hadrosaur (Parasaurolophus)

The hadrosaurs or duckbills are herbivorous ornithischian (plant-eating, bird-hipped) dinosaurs characterized by formidible dental “batteries” containing hundreds of interlocking crushing teeth in upper and lower jaws and having broader and more elongate bill-like snouts than other ornithischians. Hadrosaurs have relatively long fore-limbs with hoof-like terminations on the forefeet. Parasaurolophus, depicted here, is further distinguished by the presence of extended nasal cavities above the head. These animals are extremely abundant in some fossil deposits. It is thought that they may have moved in herds, much as sheep do today. Although this point is still controversial, it is apparent that Hadrosaurs could walk upright, and probably on “all fours” as well. Just which method was preferred awaits further study, but many trackways thought to have been formed by hadrosaurs show only rear foot impressions.

Pterosaurs

Pterosaurs, or flying reptiles, are not, strictly speaking dinosaurs, although they were contermporaries, and doubtless lived in similar habitats. These reptiles were apparently not just gliders, but were capable of active flight as well. In 1975, the largest pterosaur ever found came to light in Big Bend National Park, in Texas (of course!) . This monster had an estimated wingspan of about 35 feet, as large as that of some jet fighter planes. Other pterosaurs, perhaps juveniles, were only a few cenitmeters tall, but appeared to be capable of flight. These reptiles typically had an impressive mouthful of teeth.

Raptors

The raptoral dinosaurs, typified by this version of Utahraptor, achieved great notoriety in the movie “Jurassic Park”, where they were depicted as fierce, aggressive predators. While this is just speculation, we can discern in the skeletal remains from which this depiction originated, the possibilities for an aggressive carnivorous creature.

Brachiosaurus

The sauropods were the blue whales of the dinosaur world. They were herbivores identified by their extremely large bodies, up to 120 feet in length. They had very small heads at the end of long necks, and bore their nostrils on the tops of their heads, which has fueled the suggestion that they lived in water.

All animations, pictures and explanations on this page complements of Earth History Research Center.