The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (6)
Languages That Were Current In Palestine:
Palestine is divided into three regions: (1) Mountainous Region; (2) Fertile Crescent, and (3) Desert Region. The Fertile Crescent was the most affluent part of the world, and everybody wanted to occupy the region. The Jews came in from the Desert region into the Fertile Crescent, so groups tried to dislodge each other.
Palestine is a Cosmopolitan Country in which several different languages are current.
1. Latin was the first official language of those that conquered Palestine (the Romans). The Roman Governors and officials and the Soldiers on parole used this language. The Jewish Palestine don’t know Latin; very few can speak the language. Most Palestinians do not know or speak Latin, i.e., Centurion, Legion, Denarius, and Praetorium. Legate, Colony, etc. The trial of Jesus before Pilate could have required an interpreter. At the time, Latin was the language of Politics and Diplomacy.
2. The Greek Language; this was the language of Commerce. Greek was widely understood in Palestine, especially in the North (Galilee of Gentiles). It was here that the Jews came into contact with the Greek Gentiles and enabled them to communicate; there was a need for bilingualism which became an economic necessity. It has its root in the 2nd Century before Christ when the Seleucid dynasty was in charge of Syria. Acts of making non-Greek, Greeks are known as Hellenising or Greecising. The Greek they were speaking was called ‘Koine Greek,’ a kind of pidgin that the ordinary people were speaking.
3. Aramaic language was the mother tongue of most Jews. Post-exilic Jews could not speak fluent Hebrew, but the language commonly spoken was Aramaic. At the beginning of the Christian era, in Palestine’s Synagogues and Babylon, the Old Testament was read in Hebrew and Aramaic. But that Aramaic was paraphrased known as Targum. The reason was that the people knew little or nothing of Hebrew. The hometown of Jesus was Nazareth, and by this time, Aramaic had become the language of Nazareth, so Aramaic was Jesus’ native language. As time went on, it became necessary for Jesus to know Hebrew and Greek. Jesus preaching and teaching was done in Aramaic, but when it came to debates with the Scribes and teachers of the law, he needed to know Hebrew. Also, he needed to know Greek to communicate with the centurions and Phoenicia women.
Cultural And Religious Background Of Palestinian Judaism:
The social and Political background of the New Testament is essential for any Biblical Scholar. Still, in truth, the Cultural & Religious background is more important to enable us to know the religious thoughts of Jews during this period and what shaped their thoughts. What are the books that influence the thinking of Jews in Palestine? Who are the Scribes? What is pious thinking? The answers to these questions are needed to understand the matrix in which the Christian Church emerged.
Survey Of The Intertestamental Period:
Apocrypha books are divided into:
- Legendary or Novelist,
- Wisdom or sapiential,
- Historical Apocrypha,
- 1 and 2 Maccabees,
- Legendary Apocrypha, and