Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. He would have spoken a variant of Aramaic, perhaps a type of Palestinian Jewish Aramaic, as well as being cognizant of other languages such as Greek, Hebrew and Latin. These influences would have context to many of the sayings and actions of Jesus.
When approaching scripture, it is worthwhile studying the sayings of Jesus through the lens of Galilean culture and language. It is also important to understand the development of Aramaic historically and geographically so that you are not coming to the wrong conclusions. For example, the Aramaic that Daniel spoke is different to that spoken in the later Babylonian academies and targums (Onkelos and Aquila). This Aramaic is also different to that spoken in Palestine or Samaria. Syriac has different manifestations of Aramaic depending on whether it is early, late, western or eastern. Jesus cried out to his father on the cross in Aramaic. He also uttered the words, ‘talitha cumi’ to the young girl who died. These are a couple of times when the New Testament records his words in Aramaic.
Finding and applying the correct dialect will help to explain not only what he said but why he said it. Palestinian Jewish Aramaic speakers of Jesus era were notable for the simple story-telling style of teaching. Likewise, Jesus taught in a parabolic, simple earthy style that would have appealed to his Galilean disciples.
The booklet below will help you take an important step to understanding the language of Jesus
BOOKLET ‘ 10 CHAPTERS – Eli Lama Sabacthani’ A Guide to understanding the language of Jesus
i- About the Aramaic language
ii- the relevance of Aramaic to modern biblical students
iii- types of Aramaic
iv- the Aramaic of Jesus
v- Aramaic grammar
vi- writing basic Aramaic
vii- Constructing sentences
vii- reading the old and new Testament
viii- an examination of passages in the bible in Aramaic
ix- Speaking Aramaic and the Passion of the Christ
x- Aramaic variants
After this lesson you will be able to read and understand texts like the one below
Questions from the course in Aramaic. After taking this course, the student should be able to answer these questions
A short course in Aramaic taught by R Christopher
LESSON ONE: An Introduction to Aramaic
LESSON TWO: The Aramaic of Jesus
Galilee: the place of Messiah’s childhood