Saturday, July 16, 2005

Vernon Easterhare Declares: 7/16/05

In my last entry I wrote of Aramaic studies, how I pursue them. This past week, with a mind to apply the effort here to reducing a substrate from the sayings of Jesus I acquired The Critical Edition of Q (Augsburg Fortress Press, 2000) only to read in the preface that its editors-- on the basis of the judgment of an authorative Committee on Q-- that Q as a text never had an Aramaic original.
That was hot reading for me, but I do not wish to say this angered me. It merely turned around topsyturvy a lot of reading I had done. If as I said my objective is to live the real language of Jesus, then I am only closer to home than I thought if this language is simply the Koine Greek of the New Testament.
I fired off an e-mail to Dr. John Kloppenborg, one of the principates of The Critical Edition of Q and in effect asked this question: I AM LESS INTERESTED IN TEXTS THAN TONGUES; DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT THE FIRST LANGUAGE OF JESUS WAS GREEK?
His response was about what I expected, and not exactly assurance to quit studying Aramaic. Dr. Kloppenborg said that few believe that Jesus spoke Greek as his first language, although he may have been able speak some Greek, indeed may have been bilingual or trilingual. He also commented that from earliest Christian times Greek was the primary language.
I wish to embellish these comments with the additional notes that Dr. Kloppenborg is a world-renowned Q scholar, and equally proficient in every aspect of New Testament scholarship. He is a prolific writer known to even those who dabble in matters related to Q. I do not take his opinions lightly.
Yet I do wonder about the chain of reasoning here. At the bottom, there must be a bunch of talk which was Aramaic; Kloppenborg does not seem to deny that this is Jesus talking. I thought that was Q. The text of Q by the Committee to be Koine Greek; to me that has to imply translation from Jesus talk, which is still kinda Q.
So therefore:
"I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me."
----Psalm131:1c, NRSV


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