• Nyse Vicente

JESUS: The Polyglot

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

The Author of Life didn't just turn water into wine, He could do it in multiple languages.

Regardless of your beliefs, history has confirmed Jesus came on earth and is a real person.

Well damn. And apart from you know, turning water into wine (which would be useful for the college parties), advocating women's rights and being extraordinarily revolutionary with His lifestyle, Jesus was also a polyglot.

Wait, what.

The Pope vs Israeli Prime Minister

In 2014 Pope Francis went on a three-day tour of the Holy Land. Speaking through an interpreter, Netanyahu said said "Jesus was here in this land. He spoke Hebrew,"

Francis broke in, "Aramaic,", referring to the Semitic language, which although by and large extinct now, is spoken by some Christian communities in Iraq and Syria.

"He spoke Aramaic but he knew Hebrew" the Prime Minister replied.

“Jesus was here in this land. He spoke Hebrew"

They were both right.

Most scholars agree Jesus spoke a Galilean dialect of Aramaic. Aramaic, the oldest language spoken and written language in the Middle East, was the lingua franca from around 11th century BCE.

But Netanyahu was also correct. Hebrew, was also regularly used, in Jesus' day. Hebrew was the chosen language for religious scholars and the scriptures. It is written, in the Gospel that He spoke with the religious scholars at the age of 12, so it's pretty clear He spoke Hebrew.

Jesus, Green and Latin

Jonathan Katz, a lecturer at Oxford, said Jesus most likely only knew a few words in Latin. Latin was reserved for the elite and wasn't for everyday use.

Greek was a common language, and it was likely He spoke in Greek with Pontius Pilate. In the first century A.D., Judea was part of the eastern Roman Empire, which embraced Greek as its lingua franca and reserved Latin for legal and military matters.

Jesus spoke in three or four different languages.

Whilst Jesus mostly used Aramaic for everyday interaction, He knew around three or four languages. And now, His story has been told in over 700 languages.


Thanks for subscribing!