Aramaic Literature – Part 10 – The Mishnah

Following the “three gates” that form the first three treatises of Nezikin, the Mishnah moves on to the treatise Sanhedrin. That name is, of course, familiar from the New Testament. In the Mishnah, however, this section deals with criminal law and its related procedures. In this material, the reader often recognizes the Biblical background to the discussion, but the directions in which the discussion develops … Continue reading Aramaic Literature – Part 10 – The Mishnah

Aramaic Thoughts 9

  Aramaic Literature – Part 9 – The Mishnah The sixth treatise of Nashim is Gittin. This deals with the issue of divorce, with the discussion springing from the text in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 that seems to authorize divorce, and which also came up for discussion in Jesus’ debates with the legal scholars of his own day. Though divorce is obviously an emotional issue, the discussion in … Continue reading Aramaic Thoughts 9

Aramaic Thoughts 8

Aramaic Literature 8  The Mishnah The eleventh treatise in Mo’ed is called Katan (half-feasts). Originally it was called Mashkin, from the first word in the treatise. It deals with the middle days of Passover and Tabernacles, that is, those days between the first two and the last two days of the particular festivals. However, as with many of the Mishnah treatises, the discussion range far … Continue reading Aramaic Thoughts 8

An Aramaic Approach to the Church Epistles

  An Aramaic Approach to the Church Epistles By Karen Masterson   Commentaries and biographies almost unanimously regard the Apostle Paul as a Hellenistic Jew. They regard him as a Jew whose native language was Greek, who thought in terms of Greek ideas and culture. They compare him to men such as Philo, who explained Judaism in terms of Greek philosophy. They regard Paul as the … Continue reading An Aramaic Approach to the Church Epistles

Aramaic Thoughts Part 7

Aramaic Literature – Part 7 – The Mishnah The eighth treatise in Mo’ed is Rosh Hashanah. This literally means “the head of the year,” or “the first of the year,” thus it is the New Year celebration. In our modern calendar, Rosh Hashanah occurs in September. It corresponds to the first day of the seventh month in the Old Testament liturgical calendar (Leviticus 23). The … Continue reading Aramaic Thoughts Part 7

Aramaic Thoughts Part 6

Aramaic Thoughts Aramaic Literature – Part 6 – The Mishnah The fourth treatise of the order Mo’ed is Shekalim (shekels). This deals with the half-shekel tax that was assessed on Israelite males (Ex 30:11-16). Originally this went to the provision for and upkeep of the tabernacle. Later, it was applied to the maintenance of the temple, and is probably the tax referred to in Matt … Continue reading Aramaic Thoughts Part 6

The Be-Attitudes From The Aramaic

The Be-Attitudes From The Aramaic Touveyhoun, the first word in Aramaic of each Be-Attitude, is historically interpreted as a bestowed “Blessing.” Y’Shua’s words spoke of an earned reward. He delivered simple and practical teachings in His native tongue, Aramaic. In the sixth century, all known Aramaic bibles were burned and many foreign ideas, unsupported by His actual words, were put into His mouth. As Jesus’ … Continue reading The Be-Attitudes From The Aramaic

Aramaic Thoughts 5

The Peshitta – Part 5 The Peshitta and Textual Criticism, Part 1 The Peshitta is generally considered to be of secondary importance in matters of textual criticism. This is due in large part to the fact that the Peshitta as it currently exists appears not to be a simple, straightforward translation of the Hebrew original into a related Semitic language. Rather, there are indications not … Continue reading Aramaic Thoughts 5

Aramaic Literature 4

Aramaic Literature – Part 4 – The Primary Targums Most books of the Old Testament have Targums. The only exceptions are Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The reasons for these omissions are not clear. Perhaps it is due to the fact that these books already contain some Aramaic, especially since Daniel is about half Aramaic. It does seem to be clear that the third section of … Continue reading Aramaic Literature 4

Aramaic Literature 3

– The Primary Targums The other most important Targum on the Pentateuch is that of Neofiti. It was discovered only recently (1956). It had remained hidden in the Vatican library, probably for centuries, before it was re-discovered. Lest the reader think that there is some sort of Da Vinci code conspiracy at work here, the Targum was placed along with other Targum manuscripts, and catalogued … Continue reading Aramaic Literature 3

Aramaic Thoughts 2

Aramaic Literature – Part 2 – The Primary Targums After Onkelos, the second primary Targum is that of Pseudo-Jonathan. The curious name comes from the fact that this Targum was (wrongly) ascribed to the same Jonathan who was responsible for the Targum Jonathan on the Prophets. This misidentification was perhaps due to wrongly reading the abbreviation TY as an abbreviation of Targum Yonathan instead of … Continue reading Aramaic Thoughts 2

Aramaic Thoughts 1

Aramaic Literature – Part 1 The most extensive, and most significant, collections of Aramaic literature (apart from the Aramaic in the Bible) exist in the various texts produced by Jewish scholars in the early centuries of the Christian era. I have given a quick survey of these materials in an earlier column in this series. It is my intention over the next several weeks to … Continue reading Aramaic Thoughts 1