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Pope, Israel Prime Minister Disagree Openly On Whether Jesus Spoke Hebrew Or Aramic



The Pope’s pilgrimage to the Middle East was controversial because of the holy leader’s impromptu prayer session at the West Bank’s barrier. Daily Mail reports that a playful religious disagreement also took place between Pope Francis and Israel’s prime minister, which revolved around Jesus’ linguistic skills. Benjamin Netanyahu and the Pope had a small, good natured squabble about the language spoken by Jesus Christ.At a meeting in Jerusalem, Mr Netanyahu told the Pope: ’Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,’ in a bid to discuss the strong ties between Judaism and Christianity. To which the smiling Pope corrected: ‘Aramaic. He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.’ Most historians accept that Jesus existed, although the events of his life are far from concrete. Dr Sebastian Brock, emeritus reader in Aramaic at Oxford University told BBC News that both leaders are correct. Hebrew was the language of scholars and the scriptures, while Jesus would have used the Aramaic tongue for his everyday conversations, he explained. Most scholars agree that Jesus spoke Aramaic in Bible, which was also the predominate language used by Mel Gibson in his film, The Passion. People also spoke Latin and Greek during the time of Jesus, while Arabic arrived later in Palestine. Jonathan Katz, stipendiary lecturer in Classics at Oxford University, does not believe that Jesus – a carpenter’s son from

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Galilee – would have spoken any more than a few words of Latin. The language was largely spoken by Roman soldiers and was the language of law. It is slightly more likely that Jesus would be more familiar with Greek, which was used by administrators across the Roman Empire. But again, Dr Katz does not think that Jesus would have been fluent. According to Jewish historian Josephus, Greek was seldom spoken at all in first century Israel and that it was extremely rare for a Jew to know any Greek. Despite the holy leader’s influence, it is unlikely that Jesus could write in any language, Dr Brock said. However, there is one account of Christ writing in the dust in John’s gospel. The account of events though does not stipulate which language Jesus was using, or whether he was drawing.

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