it can easily shown that Hebrew was a spoken language in Israel during the time
of Y'shua, there are no
Testament manuscripts available today that would indicate an original Hebrew
autograph. All Hebrew New Testament Bibles today have been translated
Aramaic texts. The oldest Hebrew manuscripts, translated
into Hebrew from
Greek, are dated to the 15th Century.1
former Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford and numerous other scholars, assert
that First Century Jewish followers of Y'shua were faithful religious Jews
therefore must have been fluent in Hebrew. They only differed from contemporaries in
Judaism because of their acceptance of Y'shua as Messiah. True, but the New Testament itself tells us that the lingua franca, the common spoken language of Israel was the sister language
Aramaic. Acts 1:19 the KJV reads, "And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood." Aceldama is
Aramaic, which tells us that "the dwellers at Jerusalem" spoke Aramaic as their proper tongue. So we have very good reason to believe that Y'shua (Jesus) and his disciples spoke both Hebrew and Aramaic.
Ongoing excavations in the Galilee and Golan, Israel are now uncovering many First Century Aramaic inscriptions written with Hebrew letters, this is where much of the confusion exists. The relationship between Hebrew and Aramaic is so close that most natural born Israelis (known as "sabras") cannot distinguish between
Hebrew or Aramaic inscriptions. To date, no reputable honest scholar has ever provided evidence of NT texts originating from Hebrew originals. Cultic pseudo-scholars operating within "Hebraic Roots" or "Sacred Name" circles are making foolish wild-eyed claims of ancient Hebrew New Testament texts to benefit the ears and religious theologies of their followers. In reality no "Hebrew Roots" or "Sacred Name" leader is willing to present themself publicly for debate, they will though sit behind anonymous online pen names working against scholarship and honest dialogue by hurling hubristic or vitrilistic obsenities at others. The reader must beware that there is a huge difference between proper "debate" and presenting one's falacious opinions in the absense of peer review and questioning.
Netzari (Nazarene) Jewish based faith fell into rapid decline due to the
Jewish-Roman wars (66-135) and the growing anti-Judaism that is best personified
by Marcion in the second century. With help from the Roman Emperor
Constantine in the fourth century the Netzarim (original followers of Y'shua) faded
quietly into an underground movement by the fifth century. Gentile based
Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, however, while
the Gospel was travelling West in
Greek it continued the journey East in
Aramaic to the point that incredibly, scholars have discovered sixth century Aramaic New Testament inscriptions in China!
is clearly the kadosh lashon
(holy tongue), and the language of the Tanakh (Old Testament),
also used in the Tanakh and was employed for Jewish commentaries, the Talmud
(Oral law) and numerous Jewish writings, simply because
Aramaic was used more widely
used within the Jewish world than Hebrew .
script is based on the "square" letter form, known as Ashurit (Assyrian),
Aramaic script. There is little doubt today that Aramaic has been displaced by
Hebrew as the everyday spoken language of Israel, but that the chief predecessor of Hebrew in the Middle East was the very closely related
Scholars remain divided over pretty much everything the exact dating of linguistic transitions being no exception, a majority of scholars follow
Geiger and Dalman, that
Aramaic became a spoken language in the land of Israel
as early as the start of Israel's Hellenistic Period in the 4th century BCE.
And, from that period Hebrew began to function less as a spoken language and
more as the holy tongue, which is again speculation. Segal, Klausner, and Ben Yehuda are notable exceptions to that viewpoint. During the latter half of the 20th century,
accumulating archaeological evidence and linguistic analysis of the Dead Sea
Scrolls that view has been challenged. The Dead Sea Scrolls, uncovered in
1946-1948 near Qumran, revealed a proliferation of ancient Jewish texts in
Hebrew, and far less texts in Aramaic, which proves nothing really when dealing with an ultra-religious sect such as the Essenes. Qumran scrolls may indicate that
Hebrew texts were readily understandable to the average Israeli and that the
language had evolved since Biblical times as spoken languages do, but the fact remains that Hebrew and Aramaic are such close languages that in many cases we're arguing over dialect rather than distinct language terminologies.
scholarship suggests that archeology indicating Aramaic speaking Jewry is simply evidence of a multi-lingual society, not necessarily that either Hebrew or Aramaic
was the primary language spoken in Israel. Clearly Hebrew and Aramaic co-existed
within Israel as spoken languages, however most scholars now date the demise of
Hebrew as a spoken language to the end of the Roman Period, or about 200 CE.
They suggest that it continued as a literary language down through Byzantine
Period from the 4th century CE. Some Hebrew linguists postulate the
survival of Hebrew as a spoken language until the Byzantine Period.
exact roles of
Aramaic and Hebrew remain hotly debated, there is also plenty
evidence of a trilingual scenario within the first century land of Israel. Both Hebrew
and Aramaic functioned as the mother tongue for ancient Israelis, both have powerful ties to Israel's history,
origins, and to the golden age and as the language of Israel's religion. Aramaic
continued to function as the international language with the rest of the Mideast
predominately spoken in Northern Israel; and eventually
Greek functioned as
an additional international language with the eastern areas of the Roman Empire.
Communities of Jews (and non-Jews) immigrated to Judea from other lands and
continued to speak Aramaic, Hebrew and
believed to be used in the Galilee (northern Israel),
Greek is believed to have
been concentrated within the former colonies and governmental centers, and
Hebrew monolingualism may have continued in the smaller southern villages of Judea.
Greek New Testament contains
Aramaic place names and quotations, and although
the language of such Semitic glosses (and in general the language spoken by Jews
in scenes from the New Testament) is usually referred to as "Hebrew" or "Jewish" in
the text, this term often applies to
Aramaic instead. Abraham is considered Hebrew but his mother tongue was Aramaic, as was Isaac and Jacob's Aramean language.
since Aramaic and Hebrew are such closely related languages, Hebrew readers are
able to read the
Aramaic in the Aramaic English New Testament and recognize it
according to the strength of their Hebrew vocabulary.
1 Some of
biggest advocates today are
along with misquided Hebrew Roots and Sacred Namers in America. Netzari Jewish Rabbi Baruch Ben Daniel writes; "Only myoptic pseudo-scholars
on a religious high would be so unsophisticated as to conclude that Shem
Tob's shabby work was based on some Hebrew New Testament original.
haters of Y'shua (Jesus) and the New Testament, so it should come as little
surprise that Karaite
leaders would support a polemic, hateful work of a fellow anti-Messiah religious
Jew. Gaining personality cult status from "believers' has never been so
easy for Karaites thanks to Ephraimite-American, Two House, Hebruised Roots leaders. Over the last decade hundreds of souls have been churned through
the Hebruised Roots and Sacred Names movements in America winding up with great
disdain for Y'shua and his teachings in favour of regurgitated "cutting edge Hebruised"
identities." Don't forget, you heard it here first at www.hebrewnewtestament.com.
Learn about the Aramaic English New Testament
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