Linguistic Diversity in the Bible

(by Joseph Nguyen, 11/27/04)

 

1. The Bible was written by people from a diversity of lifestyle and culture - from royalty to slaves, from fishermen to priest, from Northern Israelites to Southern Israelites, from the uneducated to the educated.

 

a.       Any so-called Grammatical Errors in the Bible are simply diversity of language of the common person. 

b.      "Official" grammatical standards for the same language differ from time to time, especially for the Bible, where words span thousands of years apart, and written over 2000 years old. To which standard can anyone compare to but that of the writers themselves?

 

2. Jesus' speech is influenced by Galilean Aramaic.

a.       The Koine Greek language of the New Testament captures some of the way Jesus and his friends use words, in the form of transliterations:

i.                     Ihsouz (pronounce by his close associates as "Yeshu" and by Greeks as "Yesuz": Since there is no "sh" sound in the Greek alphabet, the "s" was used.  Also, the masculine form of a Greek name has to end with a consonant, thus his name had to be written with the "z" ending. The reason that it's pronounced without the "a" ending in Yeshua is simply what people in that area does.

ii.                   Jesus pronounces his friend's name, Alazar, as Lazar, of which we got the name Lazarus (Lazaros) later on. The Aramaic aleph ("a") is silent in the Galilean Aramaic pronunciation in this case.

 

3. Peter's speech and writing is from uneducated fishermen lifestyle living in Galilee.  His style changes as he got older, as discovered in the letters of 1st Peter and 2nd Peter by scholars of the Greek language.

 

References:

1. "Is the Name of the Messiah 'Yeshua'?" by Jason Dulle,  http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/yeshua.htm

2. "Did Jesus have an accent?" by Marvin Hunt, http://www.biblehistory.com/47.htm

3. "Jesus and the Tradition of Joshua" by Richard Shand 12/23/1995, http://www.mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/early.html

4. "World English Bible, Glossary Edition", http://www.worldenglishbible.com/bible/hnv/glossary.htm

5. "History and the New Testament", by Jack Kilmon, http://www.historian.net/NTHX.html