Tag Archives: Aramaic

The Myth of an Aramaic Original New Testament

I get questions about whether the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic. Some really aren’t questions; they are (I presume) well-meaning people trying to inform me of the “fact” of Aramaic primacy. In light of those sorts of emails, it was nice to come across a well-written summary of why this is a myth (by a professional Aramaic translator no less) It is an even-handed discussion that goes beyond the way I try to disabuse people of the myth in a shorter, less elegant way.

I would only add that this discussion makes zero sense for the two-thirds of the New Testament written to Gentile churches. It’s really about gospel originals (and Luke must then be excluded). And there are no (as in zero) manuscripts of the New Testament that compete with the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament for chronological primacy, either. Aramaic New Testaments from antiquity are all translations made a couple centuries or so after the New Testament was written in Greek.

I periodically am asked about the Lamsa translation of the Bible, which is an attempt to produce an English translation on the basis of Aramaic (Syriac) manuscripts, there is a review here. It speaks for itself (Lamsa’s translation wasn’t exactly hailed by Aramaic specialists).

 

 

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Registration for MEMRA Module 2 for 2017 Now Open

I just posted the new module registration page for the second module of MEMRA’s 2017 language courses. In case you are not familiar with my MEMRA site, here is an explanation from the landing page:

MEMRA courses provide academic content at a level similar to what would be experienced in a college or seminary course. Students are expected to put sufficient time into coursework. Dr. Heiser has created hundreds of videos to guide students in learning to read / translate each language. Students work through grammar, vocabulary, and exercises aided by these videos according to a 52-week schedule. Dr. Heiser answers student questions via posts inside the Classroom or by email.

This second (and last) module for 2017 offers courses in:

  • Beginning Biblical Hebrew
  • Beginning Biblical Greek
  • Beginning Biblical Aramaic
  • Beginning Ugaritic

Each course is $120 for the entire year. Students are not eliminated from the classroom site after the year is over. Textbooks are sold separately on Amazon. Textbook requirements can be found in the course descriptions.

To register for a course, click here. Registration stays open until July 3. Courses begin on July 17.

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Geek Out on Ancient Language Study for Christmas!

If you’ve wanted to learn biblical Greek or Hebrew (or maybe something even more adventurous, like biblical Aramaic or Ugaritic), now is the time. The end of registration for the first 2017 module of MEMRA (midnight, December 25) is fast approaching. These are lengthy video courses (broken down over the course of a full year) that allow you to complete a full first-year course at your own pace.

For something a lot quicker (a couple of hours), check out the video course, How to Study the Bible with Word Studies at Bible Word Nerd.

 

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Registration for MEMRA 2017 Module 1 Now Open

Registration for MEMRA ancient language courses is now open. Please bookmark the registration page. There is plenty of time to register, as registration ends on Christmas day.

MEMRA ancient languages modules are 52 weeks (one year) in duration, beginning at the start date for the module (January 2, 2017) indicated below. Courses are subject to cancellation if there is insufficient enrollment. In such cases, tuition will be fully refunded. Once a course begins there are no refunds. See the COURSES page for course descriptions and required textbooks.

Courses are $120 for the year. Textbooks are NOT included in the cost of the course.

Courses being offered are:

  • Beginning Biblical Hebrew
  • Beginning Biblical Greek
  • Beginning Biblical Aramaic
  • Beginning Ugaritic

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2nd MEMRA Module for 2016 – Registration Now Open

The second module for my ancient language courses (MEMRA) is now available for registration.  Here are the relevant details:

Courses Offered

  • Beginning Biblical Hebrew
  • Beginning Biblical Greek
  • Beginning Biblical Aramaic
  • Beginning Ugaritic

Course descriptions can be found here.  Each course has a textbook requirement not covered by the course cost. Textbooks must be ordered on Amazon or otherwise obtained by students.  The videos follow the textbook.

Registration ends June 21. After registration ends paying students will receive email instructions about accessing the course videos

Module begins July 5

Courses are 52 weeks long, though paying students retain access as long as they need it.


2nd MEMRA Module for 2016 – Registration Now Open was first posted on May 6, 2016 at 8:03 pm.
©2016 “Dr. Michael S. Heiser“. Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at webmaster@postmortaldesign.com

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2nd MEMRA Module for 2016 – Registration Now Open

The second module for my ancient language courses (MEMRA) is now available for registration.  Here are the relevant details:

Courses Offered

  • Beginning Biblical Hebrew
  • Beginning Biblical Greek
  • Beginning Biblical Aramaic
  • Beginning Ugaritic

Course descriptions can be found here.  Each course has a textbook requirement not covered by the course cost. Textbooks must be ordered on Amazon or otherwise obtained by students.  The videos follow the textbook.

Registration ends June 21. After registration ends paying students will receive email instructions about accessing the course videos

Module begins July 5

Courses are 52 weeks long, though paying students retain access as long as they need it.


2nd MEMRA Module for 2016 – Registration Now Open was first posted on May 6, 2016 at 8:03 pm.
©2016 “Dr. Michael S. Heiser“. Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at webmaster@postmortaldesign.com

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2nd MEMRA Module for 2016 – Registration Now Open

The second module for my ancient language courses (MEMRA) is now available for registration.  Here are the relevant details:

Courses Offered

  • Beginning Biblical Hebrew
  • Beginning Biblical Greek
  • Beginning Biblical Aramaic
  • Beginning Ugaritic

Course descriptions can be found here.  Each course has a textbook requirement not covered by the course cost. Textbooks must be ordered on Amazon or otherwise obtained by students.  The videos follow the textbook.

Registration ends June 21. After registration ends paying students will receive email instructions about accessing the course videos

Module begins July 5

Courses are 52 weeks long, though paying students retain access as long as they need it.


2nd MEMRA Module for 2016 – Registration Now Open was first posted on May 6, 2016 at 8:03 pm.
©2016 “Dr. Michael S. Heiser“. Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at webmaster@postmortaldesign.com

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Registration for MEMRA 2016, Module 1, Now Open

The first MEMRA module will begin January 11, 2016. Registration is now open.

Four courses are being offered:

  • Beginning Biblical Hebrew (140+ videos)
  • Beginning Biblical Greek (130+ videos)
  • Beginning Biblical Aramaic (140+ videos)
  • Beginning Ugaritic (50+ videos)

See the Course Descriptions for the required textbook for each course.

Each course is plotted out over 52 weeks. Students work through the videos and the required textbook on their own, at their own pace. Some go faster than the units are laid out; others go slower. (You won’t lose access to the videos after the 52 week mark). Courses are delivered via a CANVAS environment and interact with me with questions or comments via CANVAS discussions or email.

Each 52-week course is $120.

Registration for the first  MEMRA module of 2016  will end right after Christmas (Dec 27, 2015), two weeks before the module begins.  The two week interval is designed for students to get acclimated to the classroom environment and to make sure textbooks are in hand.  During the two-week interval students will receive instructions on how to access the classroom.

 

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Were the Gospels Originally Written in Aramaic or Hebrew?

I’m often asked this question, so it was nice to come across this paper by Jan Joosten online.

Joosten Aramaic or Hebrew behind_the_Gospels

Joosten is an excellent scholar in Aramaic, Syriac, Greek, and Hebrew. This is a worthwhile (and sane) introduction to the issue.

Readers will note that eventually Joosten gets to Matthew 1:23, where Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14. He makes the point that to Hebrew or Aramaic readers, the term almah would have been ambiguous (i.e., they wouldn’t have thought of virgin). That’s overstated. On lexical grounds, it has merit, but it’s a fact of the OT that almah — due to its interchange with betulah, the more precise word for virgin, and the culture, an almah could be conceived of as a virgin. Here’s a short popular essay I wrote on the subject, posted here some time ago.

At any rate, Joosten doesn’t bring up Matt. 1:25. Two verses after his quotation of Isa 7:14, Matthew makes the comment that Joseph didn’t “know” Mary until after Jesus was born. If the gospels had been written in Hebrew or Aramaic, that’s an idiom that would have been completely understood by an audience speaking either language as a denial of sexual intercourse between Joseph and Mary, far more readily than Greek speakers.

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