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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Aramaic and NT

We're starting and Aramaic reading group at Sheffield for Biblical Studies postgraduates and there are a fair number of NT postgraduates signed up which is great news. So at least in this particular sample there seems to be a desire to learn this language among NT people. Given that it was the language in which and some among the early church Jesus spoke, and given that there are Aramaic issues in the gospels, it seems a little unusual - with honourable insitutions and individuals aside - that it is not a big emphasis among NT scholars and historical Jesus scholars in particular. Thinking out loud (as it were) I wonder what the reasons for this might be: economic (e.g. lack of time and resources)? Influence of Greek teaching? And was there a difference between scholarship of yesteryear and modern day scholarship, much of which has (rightly in my view) broadened out dramatically since the 1960s (and is this another reason for a downplaying of Aramaic in NT circles...)? I also wonder if the recent stresses on a localised Jesus and his peasant context might lead to more interest in Aramaic?


Blogger Jim said...

First, where do I sign up?

Second, perhaps lack of interest in Aramaic stems from a backlash against Matthew Black. Or perhaps the late dating of the Gospels has something to do with it. Or perhaps students simply don't have time to worry with Aramaic any more- especially in these days of over specialization. Or maybe it's all of the above and a few besides.

In any event- you are on to something here and I hope it spreads like wildfire.

September 26, 2006

Blogger James Crossley said...

The late dating (ahem, by some) of the gospels may well have something to do with as it is presumably not coincidental that there have been a few who stress Aramaic background to the gospels and date Mark at least early. But yes it is presumably a load of these factors no doubt.

September 27, 2006

Blogger steph said...

Excellent news. We are starting one here too, for Aramaic and others - Jim can come to both.

October 01, 2006


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