Another way looking at a language #5 Aramic, Hebrew and Greek

Another way looking at a language

Ancient Hebrew inscriptions - Jewish Encyclopedia

13. Aramaic

Aramaic is to believed to be originated in what is modern-day Syria. Between 1000 and 600 BCE it became extremely widespread, spoken from the Mediterranean coast to the borders of India. Its script, derived from Phoenician and first attested during the 9th century BCE, also became extremely popular and was adopted by many people, both with or without any previous writing system. Despite Hellenistic influences, especially in the cities, that followed the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Aramaic remained the vernacular of the conquered peoples in the Holy Land, Syria, Mesopotamia and the adjacent countries. It ceded only to Arabic in the ninth century A.D., two full centuries after the Islamic conquests of Damascus in 633, and Jerusalem in 635. Aramaic has never been totally supplanted by Arabic. Aramaic had been adopted by the deported Israelites of Transjordan, exiled from Bashan and Gilead in 732 B.C. by Tiglath-Pileser III, the tribes of the Northern Kingdom by Sargon II who took Samaria in 721, and the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom of Judah who were taken into captivity to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 587. Hence, the Jews who returned from the Babylonian Captivity brought Aramaic back with them to the Holy Land, and this continued to be their native tongue throughout the lifetime of Eshoo Mshikha.

Aramaic was destined to become Israel’s vernacular tongue; but before this could come about it was necessary that the national independence should be destroyed and the people removed from their own home. These events prepared the way for that great change by which the Jewish nation parted with its national tongue and replaced it, in some districts entirely by Aramaic, in others by the adoption of Aramaized-Hebrew forms.

The oldest literary monument of the Aramaization of Israel would be the Tarcum, the Aramaic version of the Scriptures, were it not that this received its final revision in a somewhat later age. The Targum, as an institution, reaches back to the earliest centuries of the Second Temple. Ezra may not have been, as tradition alleges, the inaugurator of the Targum; but it could not have been much after his day that the necessity made itself felt for the supplementing of the public reading of the Hebrew text of Scripture in the synagogue by a translation of it into the Aramaic vernacular. The tannaitic Halakah speaks of the Targum as an institution closely connected with the public Bible-reading, and one of long-established standing. But, just as the translation of the Scripture lesson for the benefit of the assembled people in the synagogue had to be in Aramaic, so all addresses and homilies hinging upon the Scripture had to be in the same language. Thus Jesus and his nearest disciples spoke Aramaic and taught in it (see Dalman, “Die Worte Jesu”). (Jewish Encyclopedia)

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in those remains of the library of a Jewish sect from around the turn of the Era, many compositions in Aramaic also provided the best evidence for Palestinian Aramaic of the sort used by Jesus and his disciples. They preached the Gospel and the scribes recorded the Scriptures. The New Testamenthas been preserved in this sacred, scribal language since the Apostolic Age. The whole Bible was originated in this language and therefore it is best to look also at these sources because they lay at the base.

11th century Hebrew Bible with targum, perhaps...
MS in Hebrew and Aramaic on vellum, Iraq, first half of 11th c., 8 ff., 39x33 cm, 2 columns, (25x25 cm), 23 lines in a large Hebrew square book script, by a scribe perhaps originating from the Maghreb (North Africa probably Tunisia). - Image via Wikipedia

Vast compilations in Aramaic (in Western and Eastern Aramaic dialects) could be found in synagogues and where used in the Judaic academies by the rabbis. Jewish law was transmitted, commented, and debated in the Jewish academies by the rabbis and their disciples. The records of their deliberations constitute the two Talmuds: that of the land of Israel and the much larger Babylonian Talmud.

The Old Aramaic Jesus used is considered dead because it ceased to be used as a literary language in the 13th Century. The old form exists only as a liturgical language but there are still people who speak more modern forms of it. The Peshitta Text of the Holy Scriptures is in the dialect of northwest Mesopotamia as it evolved and was highly perfected in Orhai, once a city-kingdom, later called Edessa by the Greeks, and now called Urfa in Turkey. The large colony of Orhai Jews, and the Jewish colonies in Assyria in the kingdom of Adiabene whose royal house had converted to Judaism, possessed most of the Bible in this dialect, the Peshitta Tenakh.

Modern Aramaic, in its various dialects, is spoken in modern-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, and the various Western countries to which the native speakers have emigrated, including Russia, Europe, Australia and the United States.

14. Greek

Greek was only spoken by a few in and around Jerusalem at the time of Jesus so it was more important to get the Words from God and the teachings from Christ Jesus been spread in a language most people understood in the by necessity a multi-lingual land. Names of persons, clearly of Aramaic origin, composed of the word bar which means son were transcribed into the later Greek writings giving names as Bariona, Barabba. In both Syriac and Hebrew the spellings between Abiud and Abiur are so close that during translation into Greek the second name could have been dropped mistakenly.

In addition to the forms of the words borrowed from the Greek, it is also important to determine their meanings; for some of these borrowed terms acquired in the mouth of the Jews a deeper religious and moral sense; e.g., γεωμετρία, a certain norm for the interpretation of Scripture (but compare GemaṬria); βῆλον, Latin velum, “heaven”; σχολαστικός, “teacher of the Law”; στρατμγός, “soldier” in general; σύβολον, “covenant” and “wedding present”; τόμος, “book of the Law.” The Jewish usage is sometimes supported by the Septuagint and by the New Testament; e.g., κατήγωρ, “Satan”; πάνδοκος, “whore”; βλασφημία, “blasphemy.” These semasiological differences justify one in speaking of a rabbinic Greek. (Jewish Encyclopedia)

Some treat “split words” as a distinctive subsection of mistranslations. Sometimes it appears that a word in Aramaic with two (or more) distinct and different meanings appears to have been interpreted in the wrong sense, or even translated both ways in different documents.

Aramean funeral stele Louvre AO3026
A sheolstone in Aramaic. Basalt funeral stele bearing an Aramaic inscription, ca. 7th century BC. Found in Neirab or Tell Afis (Syria).
Capharnaum translated, although with some difficulty, from the form Kafar Nahum, the Village of Nahum, or also the name Aceldama, as found in the Book of Acts 1:19, which unites two words Haquel dema, which is “Camp of Blood.” We also find the names of the women transferred: Marta (Luke 10:38), and Tabita/Tabitha (Acts 9:36) which mean respectively: Madame (or Woman), and Gazelle. (These were well-known and frequently used names in the times of Jesus, taken from Aramaic.) The name of Peter — Cefa — corresponds to the Aramaic form of Kefa which means Rock. The name Golgata (Matthew 27:33), and Gabbata (John 19:13) recalling the accounts of the Passion, are derived from two words with the sense of “(place of) the skull” and “the elevated place.” Some names indicating situations or actions where later in their translation understood as certain places sometimes away from this earth, as e.g. sheol or hell which was a place where the death were burned and is now considered by many Christians as a place of torment by fire.

Other words of interest in Greek translations from Aramaic origin are: Effeta or Effata (to open), Talita Qum (Arise little child), Abba (אבא), (Papa/Father). Also the Aramaic last words of Jesus dying at the stake “Eloi Eloi lema sabactani” were in fact the beginning of Psalm 22, spoken by Jesus in Aramaic, and faithfully written down by the Evangelists in Greek. It is possible that the Evangelists wished to preserve and hand down through their writings some words certainly spoken by Jesus, words which the Early Christians (since they spoke Aramaic) faithfully remembered.

We should be alert when somebody or something is jumping the shark and be on the lookout for those who like to make from the Bible a television show or an entertainment form. 63 percent, from the questioned people for the survey, believe the language should be simple for anyone to understand while 14 percent say the language should be meant more for people who have a lot of experience with the Bible. 40 percent prefer more formal language while 26 percent say should be more informal. 22 percent want language more for casual reading while 44 percent say it should be designed more for in-depth study.

Having a new translation is always some tricky thing because than words have to be chosen to be understood according what they mean. Therefore translators try to find the most accurate form though sometimes there does not exist a singular word for the term. the translators are also confronted with more than one neologism ( /nˈɒləɪzəm/; from the Greek νέο-, néo-, “new”, and λόγος, lógos, “speech”, “utterance”) and should be wondering either to use that new word or newly coined term, or phrase, that may sometimes still be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event. For such up-to-date hype translations like the Bikers Bible, Hikers Bible or Prisoners bible we always do have to be very careful, and we even would advice not to use them.

As translators try to cross the globe and two millennia, fully accomplishing word-for-word translations that are easy to understand, is not always possible. It is also a pity that within the years several words were taken into one word so that slight differences disappeared. From many bible translations it is not clear any more if there is spoken of an ordinary pupil or a special (chosen) pupil, a direct pupil of Jesus, a pupil (disciple) Jesus and of other pupils, a send messenger or an ordinary apostle (MalakiYA (Messenger of YA, sn- Apostle), a set apart (kadosh), a sent one (Shlichim) or one of the seventies. For this it is very interesting to go back to the Hebrew and Aramaic because there we can find the different words which in itself give a clear indication about whom it is.

15. Adonai, Lord

The meaning of an entire verse can easily be altered by a translation, for example; the Greek “Kurios” also at times spelled kyrios or kuros, Greek κύριος is often rendered as the Latin Dominus or “Lord“, however there is both “LORD” (the Father) and “Lord” (the Son), which the translator must choose and Kurios. The Kurios would be either the father, or if he was dead, brothers an uncle or relative would be the Kurios. However the God the Father (YahuwhahYHWHJehovah) often substituted with Adonai (my Lord) and the Son of God (Yahushua/ YehsuaJeshua) are clearly distinguished in Aramaic, there is no confusion about the speaker or who is being addressed. The Kurios or Curios was he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding. As a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence it was also given to people who were above somebody else, or the title used by servants to greet their master.

You should have a look in the preface of your “church bibles” and see if they even admit to substituting the Hebrew (from right to left) “hwhy” or “YHWH” (from left to right) YAHUWAH‘s Name with “the LORD” or “God”. Now read what happens to those who so arrogantly change His Word in Revelation 22:18-19. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19 NIV) We being part of every man that can hear the words of the prophecy of the book of John his revelations and of all the other Books brought together in what we call the Book of books, the Bible. We should take the warning for, adding to these things or for taking away from the words of the book of this prophecy serious. We would not want to see God adding to him the plagues that are written in this book, or having God taken away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

“AHleleuYAH” means “Praise be to YAH.” See how “Israel” could never be “El YAH’s chosen people” because the blaspheme His Sacred Eternal Name daily by hiding it!

"I am YHWH (YAHUWAH) your Almighty Loving El YA..Have no foreign gods before your face!" Shemoth / Ex 20:2-3

Even if your pastor does not fear taking away Gods Name or fears speaking out the Most Holy Name, you yourself may not be afraid to use Gods Name regularly. When you got to know the Name of the Most High you should use him. Be careful not intentionally to ‘forget’ him or not using the Name. Don’t lose your eternal life over intentionally doing of this great sin of blasphemy and destruction! So either use Jehovah or Yahweh/Jahwe or both, but use the Name people can take as the Name of the Only One God. In case we are not sure about the pronunciation of Yahuwah or Jehovah (the three syllables) it is always better to use the two syllable name, which may come from the expression that Jehovah may have everything “Ya Have”, using a shortened version of YHWH’s full Name, like Yah in HalleuYah e.g.. So if you do not like to use the full Name perhaps you still can like to use one of the shortened ones “YaHave” (Yahweh”) or “Yah” instead none. Some Richards also like to be called Bill, or Rogers do not mind to be called Bob. We can only do hope God would not mind calling Him such or so, because we are not sure how it is pronounced or because in our mother tongue or native language we use such or such sounds. so much of our way of saying a name or pronouncing a name shall depend on the region and custom. But we do have to be careful not holding strong to an institution or usage because of tradition. As soon as we know better we should adapt to the new found truth or new insight. All our life we shall have to learn and sometimes we do have to change practice. Though people are often in a rut, believers should try not to get set in one’s way but to be open for adaption to the teachings from the Word of God, the Bible, and should overcome habits and compete for the Truth. We should strive not to thingummy or keep to a “whatchacallit”. For the One who Created everything is not a “what’s-his-name”. He has given His Name for His People to use it, therefore we should use it and prefer to put the title of the heathen name “Lord” (Baal) aside.


YAHUWAH (the 7 English letters are also representative of eternal meanings). We may not “vanatize” YAHUWAH’Holy Name with the blasphemous “cover over” of the word “LORD”, “God”, “Lord God!”

16. God His son

So also for the son of God we should try to use his proper name. We should go back returning to “believing upon His Name” (John-YAHUWcanon 1:12), that is YAHUW-husha, which means “YAHUW, He who will save”! and not referring to Zeus by using “Hail Zeus” or Iesou, in English Jesus or in Dutch Jesus and/or Jezus. Mashiyach or in Hebrew Mashiach and in Greek Christos is rendered in the King James as “Anointed” in Psalms 2:2, and as “Messias” in Daniel 9:25-26. It is the Sacred Name for the Son of YHVH or YHWH. Messiah or Mashiyach and Chaciyd which is used in Psalms 16:10 or only titles and not names for the Son of God. The word Christos was far more acceptable to the pagans who were worshiping Chreston and Chrestos. According to The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, the word Christos was easily confused with the common Greek proper name Chrestos, meaning “good.” According to a French theological dictionary, it is absolutely beyond doubt that Christus and Chrestus, and Christiani and Chrestiani were used indifferently by the profane and Christian authors of the first two centuries A.D. The word Christianos is a Latinism, being contributed neither by the Jews nor by the Christians themselves. The word was introduced from one of three origins: the Roman police, the Roman populace, or an unspecified pagan origin. Its infrequent use in the New Testament suggests a pagan origin.

According to Realencyclopaedie, the inscription Chrestos is to be seen on a Mithras relief in the Vatican. According to Christianity and Mythology, Osiris, the sun-deity of Egypt, was reverenced as Chrestos. In the Synagogue of the Marcionites on Mount Hermon, built in the third century A.D., the Messiah’s title is spelled Chrestos. According to Tertullian and Lactantius, the common people usually called Christ Chrestos.

17. Lord

In older versions of the King James Version of the Old Testament we still can find the name Jehovah, but in later versions more and more the Name became exchanged with three different Hebrew words as lord; however, it does so with a careful use of upper case letters to let the reader know which word is in the original texts. When the King James Version translates the Hebrew word for Jehovah as lord, it uses LORD in all capitals. When the King James Version translates the a special Hebrew word for supreme lord, adownai, as lord, it uses Lord with only the “L” in the upper case. Lastly, when the King James Versions translation of the general Hebrew word for lord, adown, as lord, it does so without any use a capital letter at all. A few years ago several translations just placed “lord” so that nobody could get the difference. Aware of the fault of letting the Name of God out of the Bible a few years ago we got the Restored Name King James Bible; Proper Name Version of the King James Bible and Sacred Name King James Version where again we could find the Name of God on most places.
When the decision was made to undertake the task of editing the King James Version, the fact that it was not a unique work was taken into account. The main sources that were used for editing the most recent version were: The Holy Name Bible, by the Scripture Research Association; The Scriptures, by the Institute for Scripture Research; The ExeGesis, by Herb Jahn; and the New Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance, by George V. Wigram.


Please do find more:

The only Chair of both Hebrew and Aramaic world-wide is at Leiden University’s Department of Hebrew and Aramaic. Bachelor in Hebrew and Aramaic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies (with Hebrew) or a related study (see + MA in Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Culture > Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures

In the Aramaic Languages and Cultures specialisation, you will explore various Aramaic languages and literatures, including Syriac, Targumic Aramaic and Imperial Aramaic. You have the possibility to study various Aramaic languages, both individually and against the background of their 3000-year history.
+ a.o.: The historical grammar of Hebrew and the development of the Tiberian tradition, which also lies at the heart of Modern Hebrew

With effect from September 2012, this programme will be offered as a specialisation within the Classics and Ancient Civilisations programme.


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Restored Name King James Bible on line


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Related articles:

Idol Worship (Jewish Encyclopedia)
All idolatrous cults are condemned by the Biblical insistence on worship of Yhwh only. The Decalogue begins with the command to reverence the one true God and to recognize no other deities. On this theme the Pentateuch dilates from every point of view, and the efforts of the Prophets were chiefly directed against idolatry and against the immorality connected with it. To recognize the true God meant also to act according to His will, and consequently to live a moral life. The thunderings of the Prophets against idolatry show, however, that the cults of other deities were deeply rooted in the heart of the Israelitish people, and they do not appear to have been thoroughly suppressed until after the return from the Babylonian exile. There is, therefore, no doubt that Jewish monotheism was preceded by a period of idolatry; the only problem is that which concerns the nature of the cults (comp. the articles Adrammelech; Anammelech; Asherah; Ass-Worship; Astarte Worship Among the Hebrews; Atargatis; ba-al-and-ba-al-worship” href=”” target=”_blank”>Ba’al and Ba’al-Worship; Baal-peor; Baal-zebub; Baal-zephon; Bamah; Calf, Golden; Calf-Worship; Chemosh; Dagon; High Place; Moloch; Star-Worship; Stone and Stone-Worship; Tammuz; Teraphim; and Witchcraft).

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