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7 Distinguishing Hebrew from Aramaic in Semitized Greek Texts, with an Application for the Gospels and Pseudepigrapha

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Chapter Summary

The Gospels can be tested to distinguish between Hebrew or Aramaic as the background language in Semitized Greek sources. When this is done correctly, the results point to a written Hebrew source behind the Greek sources to the Synoptic Gospels. This has a direct application for synoptic studies and the history of the earliest strata of the Jerusalem Jesus movement. This chapter establishes three diagnostic tests for distinguishing Aramaic from Hebrew narrative sources in Greek translation during the Second Temple period. One test looks at both sides of the occurrence or nonoccurrence of the Aramaic narrative conjunction אדֱַיןִ edayin. The other test concerns the presence or absence of the narrative Hebraic structure, impersonal ἐγένετο introducing a finite verb main clause, as opposed to the Greek narrative structure, impersonal ἐγένετο introducing an infinite main clause. Pairing these tests allows us to add a third test, the test of internal consistency.

Keywords: Aramaic; Gospels; Greek; Hebrew; Jerusalem Jesus movement; Pseudepigrapha

10.1163/9789004264410_009
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