by reformer on 2011/8/25 3:58:58
"Have been reading about the original language of the NT. That they spoke in Aramaic and was translated into Greek. Wouldn't the Aramaic/Hebrew be more accurate? Or at least be a good source to study from?"
At the time the books of the Bible was being written, the common language of the Roman Empire was Koine Greek. Most Jewish people in Israel used Greek on their tombstones in Jesus day. Jesus and his disciples spoke Greek. Paul wrote his letters in Koine Greek. Greek is the most exact language we know. It is the best language to say exactly what you mean, e.g. they have at least five different words for 'Love':
1. Mania Manic love is almost not a love at all, it's a person possessed with obsession to have someone, regardless of how the other person felt about it.
2. Eros - emotional love, an insatiable desire to be with a person, but in their presence you become excited, emotional, nervous, and/or otherwise make a complete fool of yourself. A purely sexual attraction is usually present, but not always so. Eros does not appear in the Greek NT at all.
3. Philos: A brotherly love, or a very close friendship, 'a friend even closer than a brother', usually with the same sex, but not always. It is a love that grows with time.
4. Agape love is entirely about the lover, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the one loved. Agape love, in its purest form, requires no payment or favor in response. In the Bible it's Gods love toward us.
5. Storge: a word for motherly or fatherly love, an ingrain natural affection..
On the other hand, no early Christian documents are extant in Aramaic! Just using the the known Greek documents of Christians from the first century AD and early 2nd century allows scholars to re-assemble the entire New Testament from their quotes of the NT, minus just a few verses.
The only ones I know that push for an early Aramaic Origin of the NT are those religious institutions that insist that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, did not have any other Children besides Jesus, and no sex with Joseph ever. The fact is, the Greek word 'Brother' actually does mean 'Brother'. And in scripture, it is very clear Jesus had brothers and sisters. The Greek has a totally different word for cousins. I discussed this on a Catholic Forum and the Catholic in charge of the forum insisted the gospels were written in Aramaic pointing out that the Aramaic has no clear word for brother. The Aramaic word simply means relative.
I read an early Christian letter (originally written in Greek) by a late 1st century Christian who states one of his companions is a son of one of Jesus brothers.
The Koine Greek was the common language, and it was invented by Alexander the Great who wanted to unite all of the nations of Greece under one language. I heard this on a documentary about the Greek civilization.