Revelation and James originally in Hebrew?

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Rexlion, Apr 11, 2022.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    When I copied the paragraphs from the individual sources I noticed I had introduced errors, ommissions and misspellings. (This website has no spelling checker). So I appreciate the problem. This is why even the number 666 in Revelation is uncertain because some ancient manuscripts read 616. Interestingly though it is perhaps not a simple copying error and may be more complex than it might appear.

    My Peake's says this: The Greek word behind reackon means to calculate with numbers. The name Neron Caesar satisfies this numerical calculation, and it has the added advantage that it explains the variant reading ' 616 ', for that would be Nero Caesar. To reach this conclusion a reader would have to imagine the name to be written in Hebrew characters. (I can't reproduce the Heb. charaters on my keyboard). It might be interesting to see what the Van Rensburgs make of the 666 variants.

    I've checked and they only have a copy with 666 in it.
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2022
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  2. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Coming in to this a little late, but do Van Rensburg unpack why they think James or John would have been written in Hebrew? It seems more likely to me that James would have been a native Aramaic speaker. If John of Patmos was the same John in the gospel then that would be the same there too. Hebrew was the language of the scribe/priesthood class, not the fishermen. If they were not communicating in their native Aramaic why would they opt for Hebrew over Greek? Especially for Revelation, which seems to be expressly designed to be circulated widely.
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, they do. It's explained in their video and in their writeups on each. I won't try to duplicate here what they say, because I'd surely miss some points.

    I'm not trying to advocate in favor of their position that some autographs may have been in Hebrew. I do find it intriguing and plausible because they make some interesting points about the linguistics, but I'm not invested in the position. People are welcome to view their ideas (or not) and decide for themselves what they think.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2022
  4. Niblo

    Niblo New Member

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    Da iawn!
     
  5. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    Meur ras
     
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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Для меня это все то же самое. ;)
     
  7. Niblo

    Niblo New Member

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    Anytime!

    My paternal grandfather (a Welsh speaker) was on team that helped re-introduce the Cornish language. I was too young, at the time, to know the details, and what his role was. I think he helped with the likely pronunciation of words, but I could be wrong.
     
  8. Oseas

    Oseas Member

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    As you and all know, John the Apostle, was a Hebrew citzen, so certainly he spoke in Hebrew tongue, his native language, maybe another language too, I'm not sure.

    John was with the angel (in fact an archangel likeness the son f man-Revelation 1:v.12-13- and so forwards) sent by JESUS to the isle of Patmos, around year 95AD, or about 65 years after His ascension-Acts 1:v.10-11-.

    And the angel -in fact an archangel - , said to John: Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; Certainly, what John wrote, he wrote in his native language, i.e. the things he had seen, the current things of that time, and future things. And the archangel revealed two unknown mysteries of John: the mysteries of the seven stars, and of the seven golden candlesticks. By allegory, the stars are the angels of the churches: and the candlesticks are the churches. (Today there are many many candlesticks, so the Anglican Church is a candlestick)

    Another interesting detail of the book of Revelation, is his vision of the Beast of sea, it was still the year 95D, and the body of the Beast of sea was still in formation and growth. Revelation 13:v.1-2 say: 13 1 - And I stood upon the SAND of the sea , and saw a Beast rise up out of the sea, having 7 heads and 10 horns, and upon his(10)horns ten crowns, and upon his(7)heads the NAME of blasphemy. 2 And the Beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the Dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. NOTE: The verse 2 describes the roots of the Beast of sea.

    ABOUT THE SAND OF THE SEA

    We MUST understand that John was not in any beach. So, why SAND, ok? Well, John, the Apostle, was a Jewish man, he was/ is a Hebrew citzen, a citzen of Israel, and GOD always made reference to Israel as it being as the SAND of the sea, right? This explains the why John said he was in the SAND of the sea (but he was not in literal beach, neither in a resort, of course).

    That said, by the Holy Scriptures the SAND of the sea where John was in his vision is Israel. AND THE SEA? WHAT SEA?

    ABOUT SEA

    According the Holy Scriptures, Sea means waters, many waters. As you and all know, Revelation 17:v.15 reveals: The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. By the way, the whore is the woman which rides upon the Beast of sea - Revelation 17:v.1-3.

    That said, the above part of Scriptures that is being analysed reveals the person of John was in the middle of the people of Israel -the sand- seeing the Gentile peoples of the whole world, and he saw rising up out from the midst of the peoples a Beast - the Beast of sea - a Gentile Beast, of course, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the NAME of blasphemy.

    THE BODY OF THE BEAST OF SEA
    As we all can see, it is a strong and powerful Beast according the structures of his MONSTROUS and terrible body as a maritime MONSTER. By the way, Genesis 1:v.20-21 ASV reveals about this MONSTER: V.20 - And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth [c]in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And GOD created the great SEA-MONSTER... - Check it.

    I could still write about the 7 heads, and 10 horns, and the NAME of the MONSTROUS body of the Beast of sea, but I would write and comment in another post. So the things I above write, it's all I tried to comment and reveal for now.

    In Christ JESUS
    Oseas (Hosea)
     
  9. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Hebrew would not have been John's native tongue. He would have spoken Aramaic natively, and only learned Hebrew in Torah school.
     
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  10. Oseas

    Oseas Member

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    In fact, Aramaic was widely spoken in Jesus' time. But it seems that Greek was more widely spoken than Aramaic. Both were borrowed languages, the native language of Israel was Hebrew, the others were borrowed languages. Also the elite of the society spoke Latin.

    By the way, John 19:v.19-20 say:
    19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.
    20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

    Speaking of language, I would ask: (just curiosity): What would had been the language spoken by the archangel to John in the isle of Patmos? Or to Moses and Joshua, among others, in the Old Testament?

    Also the Devil spoke with JESUS in the temptation, he even quoted Psalm 91:v.11 to Lord Jesus. In what language would the Devil have spoken?
     
  11. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Greek was not more widely spoken by the Jewish population. John is not a Greek name, so he would not have natively spoken Greek. The Greek speaking populations were concentrated in the gentile cities, and predominantly in neighbouring Syria - not in Judea and Galilee.

    The elite of society spoke Greek in the east, and Hebrew amongst the Jews, not Latin. Latin was the language of state, but the elites used their native languages in all other contexts. The elites of the until-very-recently Greek kingdoms (Syria, Egypt, etc.) were Greeks, not Romans. The elites in Judea that were not members of the governors household were noble Jews, not Romans. Further the educated sect of the Roman Empire was entirely bilingual. Although those in the east conversed in Greek and those in the west conversed in Latin, both were completely fluent in the language of the other - they didn't teach with translations yet. If you wanted to learn Plato you needed to read Greek. If you wanted to read Ovid you needed to read Latin.

    John was a fisherman from Galilee, not a noble from Jerusalem. His native language would have been Aramaic. He would have been taught the Torah in Hebrew. Presuming he wrote his Gospel with his own hand, and did not dictate it, he also picked up the "common" form of Greek used by the regular people (not the elites) somewhere along the way - which would have been usual for people who travelled outside Galilee as the apostles did. It's also written he spoke in tongues, so he could speak far more than just those three languages.

    God, the Angels and the Devil would have spoken whatever language they needed to, if any language at all. Given some of these things were visions, such as John of Patmos's revelation, it would have been "spoken" in whatever language they think in.
     
  12. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I've long thought that in the time of Jesus, the Greek OT was far more common among lay readers than the Hebrew scriptures were. In the Dead Sea scrolls, Greek manuscripts are almost as common as those in Hebrew. Even in Palestine, manuscripts in the Greek would likely have been more common than in Hebrew for the simple reason that more people could speak and write Greek than they could Hebrew. I think this explains who so many NT quotations from the OT come from the Septuagint (the Greek OT) rather than the old Hebrew Scriptures. It boils down to the ubiquity of the Greek Scriptures among literate Jews of the period.

    It's also not clear to me that Jews of the intertestamental period had any special affinity for the Hebrew scripture over the Greek, or considered the Hebrew any more "authentic" than the Greek. Certainly there was a scholarly tradition of maintaining the historic Hebrew Scripture (later maintained by the Masoretes), but I suspect that for everyday teaching and preaching, most Jews used the Greek translation. Paul was a Pharisee and even he seems to favor the Greek Scripture readings over the Hebrew.

    I also think that all the Apostles likely spoke and wrote at least some Greek -- it was the common language of trade and commerce, and was the household language of many Gentiles both in Palestine and elsewhere. I think Jesus preached and taught in Aramaic, but I think it highly unlikely that NT Scripture was ever written in anything but Koine Greek (except for a postulated Aramaic "Q Source" that might have compiled the sayings of Jesus, and was used in the writing of both Matthew and Mark...but this is pure speculation).
     
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I think it is entirely possible that James and John could have known how to write Hebrew and did write some originals in Hebrew. This was a time period when the majority of Jesus' followers were Jews. Writing letters was something learned people did, and we should assume that James and John were learned. When writing to other learned Jewish converts to Christianity (people who probably could stand up in the synagogue and read from the Torah scrolls), it would make perfect sense to write concerning matters of faith in the Hebrew language.

    That is all circumstantial supposition, of course, and it is just as valid as anyone's supposition to the contrary. However, the evidence this native-Hebrew-speaking family has uncovered in specific Hebrew manuscripts seems very convincing to me. They show how certain Hebrew phrases and words in those specific mss make far more sense than the equivalent Greek bits (and more sense than most other Hebrew mss which bear the linguistic earmarks of having been translated into Hebrew from some other language). There are interesting word-plays and rhythms in those specific Hebrew mss which are missing from all others, and this strongly suggests that they are copies of Hebrew originals rather than translations into Hebrew from either Aramaic or Greek.

    What is the relevance? Simply this: in our current versions of these letters, there are certain parts of verses which seem oddly worded or don't seem to flow well with what else was being stated; but when translated from these specific Hebrew mss into English, those same parts take on a greater continuity, make better sense, and/or flow more elegantly in a linguistic rhythm. There are small, subtle enhancements to our understanding made available from their translations. And they're showing the Hebrew and English side-by-side so anyone who knows Hebrew can readily see whether they're being accurate (not that I know any Hebrew, but anyone who does read it could and would be disputing their translation if it were inaccurate); the Van Rensburg's transparency gives me a sense of confidence that they're being open and scholarly about this.

    We should be open to new discoveries (many people here champion the most recently discovered codices and welcome news of new archaeological finds, etc.). It isn't as though the manuscripts being discussed by the Van Rensburgs are going to change any doctrines, so they should not be viewed as threatening or be skeptically discarded out of hand. This is more a matter of these translations helping us to pick up some small nuances which explain certain passages that have long seemed difficult or unclear.
     
  14. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Possible, but I think unlikely. The first language (both spoken and literary) of Jesus and the Apostles was likely Aramaic; the second language was Koine Greek. Jesus and the Apostles no doubt had a certain amount of Hebrew from their religious education, but I think it's unlikely that they would choose it as a basis for their writings.

    I'm very skeptical of claims that Hebrew was the vernacular of the day among Jews in Palestine, though this may be a pedantic quibble; Aramaic is a close relative of Hebrew. Hebrew was probably the liturgical language of the synagogue and the religious school, but I'm not sure how much facility an average Jewish man of the period (like James and John) would have with it.

    It's pretty clear that the NT epistles were all originally in Koine Greek; and that Luke/Acts was also originally in Greek. The Gospel of John was written much later than the other Gospels, and was also originally written in Greek. The contention of Hebrew originals thus revolves around Matthew and Mark -- or rather, a notional "Q" source from which they drew their material. We have absolutely no manuscript evidence of such a document, but if it did exist it could have been written in Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek. We just don't know. I think Aramaic or Greek is far more likely than Hebrew given the literary and cultural milieu, but there's no way to prove it absent manuscript evidence.

    I remain convinced that the original manuscripts of NT Scripture were in Koine Greek, and that even Jesus himself may have used the Greek OT in his teaching (given that many of the OT qotations he uses come from the Old Greek and not the Hebrew*). The NT corpus started to emerge within 15-20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus (around mid-40's AD), and the earliest manuscripts we have are all in Greek. There is no manuscript evidence to support Hebrew originals, and the text-critical argument is, to my mind, very weak. (In fact, given the prevalence of Septuagint OT readings in the NT, the argument for Greek originals becomes even stronger.)

    *It may be that Matthew and Mark were using the Greek OT as a reference when writing their later Gospels, and that Jesus himself used the old Hebrew text as a base for his teaching -- again, there's no way to know for sure.
     
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The thing is, none of us were there, so all we can do is make assumptions about whether people like James and John could read and write Hebrew. But the particular manuscripts discussed by Van Rensburg are more evidentiary than conjecture. Have you watched their videos and considered the written evidence they present? It makes little sense to have a mind so made up that new evidence is ignored without a fair hearing.