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From: "Kevin J. Maroney" <kmaroney@crossover.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v022.n002
Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 20:21:30 

At 07:04 PM 12/2/98 -0500, alga wrote:
>Jesus may well have spoken some or even a fair amount of Greek, from the
>evidence that the next town over from Nazareth (the name of which escapes
>me, naturally) was a highly Hellenicized trading town---before you pounce to
>point out that the occupation was Roman, not Greek, the author made the
>point that the lingua franca was at that time Greek (you take my
>meaning--the English of today, heh, heh).

Capernum and Sepphoris were two fairly large newly-buily, heavily
Hellinized towns within walking distance of Nazareth. Neither is mentioned
at all in the Gospels or in Acts, from which some scholars (notably but not
solely John Dominic Crossan) have concluded that Jesus and the movement he
headed during his life did not address themselves at the Greeks and Romans
in Judea. 

If Jesus was a tekton (craftsman, usually translated "carpenter") before he
became a teacher/prophet/revolutionary, he probably did speak at least
enough Greek to do business in those cities. 

>On the other hand, it's unlikely that he went around spouting Greek at
>wedding parties, on top of Mounts and on the cross.

Right. Based on the scanty evidence, he certainly spoke Aramaic as his
primary language, and probably spoke Aramaic to his flock. The Gospel of
Mark is littered with Aramaic statements which Mark then helpfully
translates into Greek.

Jesus probably never spoke Latin, though. 

(For reasons that are unclear to me, I've been reading a lot of
early-New-Testament scholarship over the last year-and-a-half. I highly
recommend John Crossan's recent _The Birth of Christianity_ as one of the
best scholarly works I've *ever* read--incredibly well-researched,
wide-ranging, funny, just flat-out brilliant. You will never look at
Christianity the same way again.)

Has anyone here mentioned the scene in Acts 17:23 cf where Paul lectures
the Greeks on the true nature of the "Unknown God" to whom they have altars?

[22] So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-op'agus, said: "Men of
Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 
[23] For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I
found also an altar with this inscription, `To an unknown god.' What
therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 
[24] The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven
and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, 
[25] nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since
he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. 
[26] And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of
the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their
[27] that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him
and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, 
[28] for `In him we live and move and have our being';
as even some of your poets have said, `For we are indeed his offspring.'

The relevance to _The Book of the Long Sun_ should be, I think, obvious.

Wombat, a.k.a. Kevin Maroney kmaroney@crossover.com
Kitchen Staff Supervisor, New York Review of Science Fiction

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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