Sunday, December 13, 2009

Personal Chuckle

I usually have a personal rule about commenting on still open polls/quizzes, but I just couldn’t wait.

The question: In which language is the New Testament originally written?

The answers: Herbew, Aramaic, Latin, Greek

Hebrew is the language of the books Christians collectively call “The Old Testament” (which is more or less the Jewish Tanakh). I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing most of the people who guessed this are Jewish. My wife’s blog sends a lot of traffic to my site, so I think it’s a fair assumption.

One person said Aramaic. This is the pseudo-intellectual Christian answer. The person who answered this clearly knew Jesus spoke Aramaic, so they just figured, “Well, if his buddies wrote the New Testament, clearly they wrote it in Aramaic. Plus, wasn’t ‘The Passion of the Christ’ in Aramaic?”

Catholics probably answered Latin. Not all Catholics, since I know I was taught in CCD that the New Testament was written in Greek, and that the Latin Vulgate is merely an accepted translation. Maybe someone who knew Roman ideology had such an influence on Christianity also took a stab that it was Latin.

Greek was the scholarly language of the early Roman Empire. Specifically, Koine (or common) Greek was the lingua franca (primary language) during the centuries leading up to and proceeding Jesus.

Greek is the language in which the New Testament was written. The earliest works attributed as books of the New Testament were Paul’s epistles/letters. The earliest Gospel is Mark’s, dating no earlier than 65 CE. Nothing in the New Testament was written anyone who ever met Jesus. The New Testament is a work of Greek literature, relying heavily on Platonic philosophy.

Just something to chuckle about.


  1. Moreover, Christians have never adequately explained the fact that literacy was rare, reading and writing was part of the upper class of society, and how did non-educated non-Greeks write in perfect Coptic Greek?

    The answer is: they didn't. Which is to say as you have, nobody who knew Jesus or was a Jew in ancient Jerusalem at all part of the creation of the NT. There was no... "eye witness accounts."

    People forget that Paul was a Greek to begin with. So that probably explains his literacy, but anything of Paul's early life is unknown. Christians love nothing more to do than conflate Paul's abilities as a genius of letters and superimpose that concept on all the disciples, who are, ironically, all likely to be fictitious.

    But I've written a lot on this subject on my own site. I won't clog up yours with what you already seem to know... that would be redundant. ;)

  2. LOL @ the Aramaic voter switching

  3. If Mark wrote in 65 CE it must be possible that he met Jesus.

    Just a quibble.

  4. The actual writing date is likely after 70 AD. The "Mark," who the Gospel is attributed to, was a young scholar who is said to have recorded discourse between the Apostles, though had never met Jesus.

  5. Tristan, that's something I never thought of. Though I thought Paul was supposedly educated enough?

    Anyways, irrelevant. It is interesting how people will often talk about how the NT was written in Aramaic, then talk about how they looked up the Greek, so they know their interpretation is accurate!


If your comment is too long, break it into multiple comments and post them all.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...