See Pieter W. van der Horst, “Jewish Funerary Inscriptions,” in this issue.


See Richard A. Batey, “Sepphoris—An Urban Portrait of Jesus,” BAR 18:03.



See Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “The Phases of the Aramaic Language,” in A Wandering Aramean: Collected Aramaic Essays, Society of Biblical Literature Monograph Series 25 (Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1979), pp. 57–84.


See Fitzmyer and Daniel J. Harrington, A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic Texts (Second Century B.C.–Second Century A.D.), Biblica et orientalia 34 (Rome: Biblica Institute, 1978).


See Fitzmyer, “The Languages of Palestine in the First Century A.D.,” in Fitzmyer, Wandering Aramean, pp. 29–56. Cf. Jonas C. Greenfield, “The Languages of Palestine, 200 B.C.E.–200 C.E.,” in Jewish Languages: Theme and Variations: Proceedings of Regional Conferences of the Association for Jewish Studies Held at the University of Michigan and New York University in March–April 1975, ed. H.H. Paper (Cambridge, MA: Assn. for Jewish Studies, 1978), pp. 143–154; J.M. Grintz, “Hebrew as the Spoken and Written Language in the Last Days of the Second Temple,” Journal of Biblical Literature (JBL) 79 (1960), pp. 32–47; Robert H. Gundry, “The Language Milieu of First-Century Palestine: Its Bearing on the Authenticity of the Gospel Tradition,” JBL 83 (1964), pp. 404–408; Shmuel Safrai, “Spoken Languages in the Time of Jesus,” Jerusalem Perspective 4 (1991), pp. 3–8, 13.


Since Palestine was under Roman domination after the conquest of Pompey in 63 B.C., Latin was also used at times, as inscriptions in that language that have been discovered show. However, Latin seems to have been confined more or less to official use by Romans and for Romans or other visitors from the Roman empire. See further Fitzmyer, Wandering Aramean, pp. 30–32.

On triglossia, see J.T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea, Studies in Biblical Theology 26 (London: SCM, 1959), pp. 130–133. Whether, however, Hebrew in a form approaching Mishnaic Hebrew “was the normal language of the Judaean population in the Roman period,” as Milik claims may be questioned. Cf. Pinchas Lapide, “Insights from Qumran into the Languages of Jesus,” Revue de Qumran (1972–1975), pp. 483–501.


Grintz (“Hebrew as the Spoken and Written Language”) tries to argue that it was, but neither his arguments nor his evidence are rigorous enough to establish his point. Cf. John A. Emerton, “The Problem of Vernacular Hebrew in the First Century A.D. and the Language of Jesus,” Journal of Theological Studies 24 (1973), pp. 1–23.


The targum of Job from Qumran Cave 11 (J.P.M. van der Ploeg and A.S. van der Woude, Le targum de Job de la grotte xi de Qumran [Leiden: Brill, 1971]); the targumim of Leviticus and Job from Qumran Cave 4 (Milik, Qumran Grotte 411:1. Archéologie; II, Tefillin, mezuzot et targums [4Q128—4Q157]), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 6 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1977), pp. 86–90.


See J. Kaimio, The Romans and the Greek Language, Commentationes humanarum litterarum 64 (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1979).


See Martin Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974). For a later period, see Baruch Lifshitz, “L’Hellenisation des juifs de Palestine: A propos des inscriptions de Besara (Beth Shearim),” Revue biblique 72 (1965), pp. 520–538; “Du nouveau sur l’hellenisation des Juifs en Palestine,” Euphrosyne, new series 4 (1970), pp. 113–133.


Discovered at Khirbet el-Kom in 1971. See Lawrence T. Geraty, “The Khirbet el-Kom Bilingual Ostracon,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 220 (1975), pp. 55–61.


Four examples can be found in Fitzmyer, Wandering Aramean, p. 41. Some others could now be added to that list. Cf. A.W. Argyle, “Greek among the Jews of Palestine in New Testament Times,” New Testament Studies (NTS) 20 (1973–1974), pp. 87–89.


See Saul Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine: Studies in the Literary Transmission, Belief and Manners of Palestine in the I Century B.C.E.–IV Century C.E., Texts and Studies of JTSA 18 (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1950; 2nd ed., 1962); “How Much Greek in Jewish Palestine?” in Biblical and Other Studies, ed. A. Altmann (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1963), pp. 121–141; Greek in Jewish Palestine: Studies in the Life and Manners of Jewish Palestine in the II–IV Centuries C.E., 2nd ed. (New York: Feldheim, 1965).


A list of them can be found in Carsten Colpe, “Judisch-hellenistische Literatur,” Der Kleine Pauly: Lexikon der Antike 2 (Stuttgart: Druckenmiller) (1967), pp. 1507–1512; cf. Carl R. Holladay, Fragments from Hellenistic Jewish Authors: Volume 1: Historians, Society of Biblical Literature Texts and Translations (SBLTT) 20, Pseudepigrapha Series (PS) 10 (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983); Volume II: Poets (SBLTT 30, PS 12 [Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989]). Not all these Jewish authors, however, lived in Palestine.


See Holladay, Fragments, vol. I Historians, pp. 371–376.


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 20.12.1, 69 263–265.


Josephus, The Jewish War 5.9.2, 69 361.


Josephus, Jewish War 1.1.2, 69 6.


Josephus, Jewish War 1.1.1, 69 3.


Josephus, Against Apion 1.9, 69 50.


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 1.1.2, 69 7.


See Fitzmyer, Wandering Aramean, p. 35.


Some of these are found in Fitzmyer and Harrington, Manual of Palestinian Aramaic Texts, others in Jean-Baptiste Frey, Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaicarum, 2 vols. (Vatican City: Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 1950–1952), vol. 2, § 882–883, 887–891, 899–961, 964–970, 972, 983–986, 991–1000. Cf. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum vol. 6, § 849; vol. 8, § 179–186, 197, 201, 208–209, 221, 224; vol. 17, § 784; vol. 19, § 922; vol. 20, § 483–492; L.H. Kant, “Jewish Inscriptions in Greek and Latin,” Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt II. 20/2 (1987), pp. 671–713.


See H. J. Leon, The Jews of Ancient Rome (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1960), pp. 75. Cf. Henri Leclercq, “Note sur le grec neotestamentaire et la position du grec en Palestine au premier siecle,” Les Etudes Classiques 42 (1974), pp. 243–255; Gerard Mussies, “Greek as the Vehicle of Early Christianity” NTS 29 (1983), pp. 356–369; “Greek in Palestine and the Diaspora,” in The Jewish People in the First Century; Historical Geography, Political History, Social, Cultural and Religious Life and Institutions, ed. S. Safrai and M. Stern, Compendia rerum iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum 1–2 (Assert, Neth.: Van Gorcum; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976), pp. 1040–1064.

Eric M. Meyers and James F. Strange (Archaeology, the Rabbis & Early Christianity [Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1981], pp. 62–91) go so far as to say, “It appears that sometime during the first century BCE Aramaic and Greek changed places as Greek spread into the countryside and as knowledge of Aramaic declined among the educated and among urban dwellers … Aramaic never died, though it suffered a strong eclipse in favor of Greek.” This eclipse was not characteristic, however, of the first century A.D.


See Pierre Benoit et al., Les grottes de Murabba‘at, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 2 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961), § 89–107, 108–112, 114–116, 164; cf A.R.C. Leaney, “Greek Manuscripts from the Judaean Desert,” in Studies in New Testament Language and Text: Essays in Honour of George D. Kilpatrick on the Occasion of His Sixty-fifth Birthday, ed. J.K. Elliott, Novum Testamentum Supplement (NovTSup) 44 (Leiden; Brill, 1976), pp. 283–300.


See Lifshitz, “Papyrus grecs du desert de Juda,” Aegyptus 42 (1962), pp. 240–256 (+ 2 pls.); Yigael Yadin, “New Discoveries in the Judaean Desert,” Biblical Archaeologist 24 (1961), pp. 34–50; “More on the Letters of Bar Kochba,” ibid., pp. 86–95. See also Naphtali Lewis, The Documents from the Bar Kokhba Period in the Cave of Letters: Greek Papyri, Judean Desert Studies (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1989).


See Fitzmyer, Wandering Aramean, p. 36.


C.F.D. Moule, “Once More, Who Were the Hellenists?” Expository Times (ExpTim) 70 (1958–1959), pp. 100–102. Cf. J.N. Sevenster, Do You Know Greek? How Much Greek Could the First Jewish Christians Have Known? NovTSup 19 (Leiden: Brill, 1968), p. 37.


See W. Sanday, “The Language Spoken in Palestine at the Time of Our Lord,” Expositor 1/7 (1878), pp. 81–99; “Did Christ Speak Greek?—A Rejoinder,” Expositor 1/7 (1878), pp. 368–388; A. Meyer, Jesu Muttersprache: Das galiläische Aramäish in seiner Bedeutung für die Erklärung der Reden Jesu (Leipzig: Mohr [Siebeck], 1896); Gustaf Dalman, The Words of Jesus Considered in the Light of Post-biblical Jewish Writings and the Aramaic Language (Edinburgh: T & T. Clark, 1902); Jesus-Jeshua: Studies in the Gospels (London: SPCK, 1929; repr. New York: Ktav, 1971), p. 1037; Friedrich Schulthess, Das Problem der Sprache Jesu (Zurich: Schulthess, 1917); Charles C. Torrey, Our Translated Gospels (New York: Harper & Row, 1936); André Dupont-Sommer, Les Araméens (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1949) 99, Matthew Black, “The Recovery of the Language of Jesus,” NTS 3 (1956–57) 305–13; Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967); A. Diez Macho, La lengua hablada por Jesucristo, 2nd ed., Maldonado 1 (Madrid: Fe católica, 1976); Paul Kahle, “Das zur Zeit Jesu gesprochene Aramaïsch: Erwiderung,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft (ZNW) 51 (1960), p. 55; E.Y. Kutscher, “Das zur Zeit Jesu gesprochene Aramaisch,” ZNW 51 (1960), pp. 46–54; H. Ott, “Um die Muttersprache Jesu: Forschungen seit Gustaf Dalman,” Novum Testamentum (NovT) 9 (1967), pp. 1–25; J. Barr, “Which Language did Jesus Speak?—Some Remarks of a Semitist,” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 53 (1970–71), pp. 9–29; Barnabas Lindars, “The Language in Which Jesus Taught,” Theology 86 (1983), pp. 363–365.


However, in Isaiah 9:1 the phrase (gelîl haggôyim) is used as a description of “the land west of the Jordan,” northern Galilee, inhabited by pagans even in the time of the eighth-century prophet. Whether that is a stringent argument for that area in first-century Palestine is not apparent. J.M. Ross, who maintains that Greek was widely used in lower Galilee, doubts that it was true of northern Galilee (Irish Biblical Studies 12 [1990], p. 42).


See Sean Freyne, Galilee from Alexander the Great to Hadrian 323 B.C.E. to 135 C.E..: A Study of Second Temple Judaism (Notre Dame, IN: Univ. Of Notre Dame; Wilmington, DE: Glazier, 1980), pp. 101–154.


See J.A.L. Lee, “Some Features of the Speech of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel,” NovT 27 (1985), pp. 1–36. The abundance of parataxis in this early Gospel is often invoked as evidence of the influence of Aramaic.


Argyle, “Did Jesus Speak Greek?” ExpTim 67 (1955–1956), p. 93.


Papias, quoted in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.16.


See my commentary, The Gospel According to Luke, Anchor Bible 28, 28a (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981, 1985), pp. 904–906.


Pindar, Fragments, 140b; Aristophanes, Wasps 1279; Plato, Republic 2.373b.


Argyle, “‘Hypocrites’ and the Aramaic Theory,” ExpTim 75 (1963–1964), pp. 113–114.


Testament of Benjamin 6:4–5; Psalms of Solomon 4:6; 2 Maccabees 6:25.


G.H.R. Horsley, “The Fiction of ‘Jewish Greek,’” New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, 5 vols. (North Ryde, N.S.W., Australia: Macquarie Univ., 1981–1989), 5.5–40. But that fiction is often repeated; e.g. Ben Zion Wacholder, Eupolemus: A Study of Judaeo-Greek Literature (Cincinnati, OH: Hebrew Union College, 1974), p. 256: “In the Gospels Jesus speaks Judaeo-Greek.”


See Klaus Beyer, Semitische Syntax im Neuen Testament: Band I, Satzlehre Teil 1, 2nd ed., Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1968); A. Ceresa-Gastaldao, “Lingua greca e categoric semitiche del testo evangelico,” Storia e preistoria dei Vangeli (Genoa: Universita di Genova, Facolta di lettere, 1988), pp. 121–141; Elliott C. Maloney, Semitic Interference in Marcan Syntax, Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series 51 (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1981).


Lindars, “The Language in Which Jesus Taught,” Theology 86 (1983), p. 364.


See Harris Birkeland, The Language of Jesus, Avhandlinger utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo II. Hist-Filos. Klasse 1954/1 (Oslo: Jacob Dybwad, 1954). Cf. Jean Carmignac, The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels (Chicago: Franciscan Herald, 1987); Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ: Language in the Age of the Gospels (Chicago: Franciscan Herald, 1989). These claims have been adequately refuted by Pierre Grelot, L’Origine des evangiles: Controverse avec J. Carmignac (Paris: Cerf, 1986).


The text is composite, being a quotation of Isaiah 61:1a, b, d; 58:6d; 61:2a. It omits “to heal the broken-hearted” (61:1c) and “the day of vengeance of our God” (61:2b). As such, it is scarcely derived directly from the Hebrew or the Septuagint.