Did Jesus speak Hebrew or Aramaic?

| David Lewis | History

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Jesus was probably fluent both in Hebrew and Aramaic and chose which language to use depending on where he spoke and to whom he addressed.   

During the first century AD, Hebrew was the upper-class tongue in the Holy Land while Aramaic was the common man’s language. 

When Jesus spoke to the meager of the earth he is most likely to have spoken Aramaic. When he addressed fellow theologists and Jewish scholars in Synagogue, he probably spoke Hebrew.   

Bonus Fact: Both in Hebrew and Aramaic Jesus’ name is pronounced ‘Yeshua’, which literally means salvation. However, it is most likely not a theophoric name, but probably his given name. ‘Yeshua’ is an abbreviation of ‘Joshua’ which was a very common name in the Galilee area in the st1 century BC and following Century, that is to say exactly in the times when Jesus was born.

Mind you, ‘Joshua’ means god will save us.

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And for all of you Aramaic-enthusiasts, here are some more facts:

Aramaic is a Northwestern Semitic language that has been spoken continuously since the first millennium BCE to the present day. In ancient times, the Aramaic was a prevalent language in the Middle East and Central Asia, especially in the Land of Israel, Syria, Assyria, Babylon, and the Kingdom of Persia. 

It has “immigrated” to the land of Israel in the 6th century BC when descendants of the Jews  – who were exiled from Israel during the Babylonian conquest –  were given permission by the emerging Persian Empire to return to Israel and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

The Aramaic was also used in Jewish scriptures –  some of them part of the old testament –  such as the Book of Ezra and the Book of Daniel; as well as other important theological scriptures such as the Mishnah (quotations), the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud, and the Book Zohar, which is the main book of the Kabbalah.

 

Half millennia later, in Jesus’s time, Aramaic had already come to be the common tongue in Israel.

 

With the Arab conquest in the 7th century, a gradual process of Islamization and acceptance of Arab culture began among the population of the Middle East. The Aramaic speakers who converted into Islam gradually moved to speak Arabic. Hence, Aramaic remained the language of Jews and Christians. 

Syrian Arabic has been heavily influenced by the Aramaic, and to this day words and phrases can be found in Aramaic. Small Aramaic-speaking communities were preserved until the 20th century, although there were major changes in the nature of the language. 

 

Today, Aramaic is divided into two main dialects: the eastern dialect which is spoken in various villages in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia; And the western dialects, which is spoken in only three villages in Syria

And for all of you Aramaic-enthusiasts, here are some more facts:

Aramaic is a Northwestern Semitic language that has been spoken continuously since the first millennium BCE to the present day. In ancient times, the Aramaic was a prevalent language in the Middle East and Central Asia, especially in the Land of Israel, Syria, Assyria, Babylon, and the Kingdom of Persia. 

It has “immigrated” to the land of Israel in the 6th century BC when descendants of the Jews  – who were exiled from Israel during the Babylonian conquest –  were given permission by the emerging Persian Empire to return to Israel and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

The Aramaic was also used in Jewish scriptures –  some of them part of the old testament –  such as the Book of Ezra and the Book of Daniel; as well as other important theological scriptures such as the Mishnah (quotations), the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud, and the Book Zohar, which is the main book of the Kabbalah.

 

Half millennia later, in Jesus’s time, Aramaic had already come to be the common tongue in Israel.

 

With the Arab conquest in the 7th century, a gradual process of Islamization and acceptance of Arab culture began among the population of the Middle East. The Aramaic speakers who converted into Islam gradually moved to speak Arabic. Hence, Aramaic remained the language of Jews and Christians. 

Syrian Arabic has been heavily influenced by the Aramaic, and to this day words and phrases can be found in Aramaic. Small Aramaic-speaking communities were preserved until the 20th century, although there were major changes in the nature of the language. 

 

Today, Aramaic is divided into two main dialects: the eastern dialect which is spoken in various villages in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia; And the western dialects, which is spoken in only three villages in Syria