What Language Did Jesus Speak?
Pope Francis, Benjamin Netanyahu disagree
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 1, 2014 9:29 AM CDT
There has been some recent debate over what language Jesus would have spoken.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – This week saw a small disagreement between Pope Francis and Israel's prime minister. When the two met publicly in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu told the pope that "Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew." Francis corrected him, Reuters reports: "Aramaic." Netanyahu's response: "He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew." Now, the BBC is looking into just what languages Jesus would have known—and an expert says both leaders are right.

On an "everyday" basis, Jesus would have spoken Aramaic, says Dr. Sebastian Brock of Oxford, and the Washington Post notes there's a "scholarly consensus" on this matter. Hebrew, meanwhile, was used in more scholarly pursuits, as well as scripture—though it was also used by poorer people, "the kind of people (Jesus) ministered to," another expert tells Reuters. Jesus may have known Latin, too, though likely only a few words, the BBC notes; he also could have known some Greek, which was used by officials in the Roman Empire. (An ancient image of a curly-haired Jesus was recently found in a tomb in Egypt.)

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Showing 3 of 190 comments
Greg Bailey
Jun 3, 2014 9:44 AM CDT
Whatever language he spoke, if the translations and the reporting of what he said are true, not embellished, his words were powerful. I still don't believe in gods and goddesses, but like Buddha and other wise men of their times, his words have continued through the ages.
Lorenzo Llamas
Jun 2, 2014 9:13 PM CDT
Jesus was perfect. He could speak any language he chose. Remember his father is the creator of all tongues. He spoke Hebrew,however as far as we know. No doubt he spoke different tongues as he spread the good news of the Kingdom of God,for there were other nations that would converge on Jerusalem,especially on the festival of Pent- cost.Jesus had already died and risen to heaven.On this occasion,"...they all became filled with holy spirit< only the anointed apostles>,and started to speak with different tongues just as the spirit was granting them make utterance"-Acts 2:3.Jerusalem was filled with at least nine nationalities,there to celebrate the Jewish passover. Today, it's no longer granted to speak in tongues,because we have the holy scriptures in it's entirety and in many languages now. So yes,Since Jesus was the son of God,he could speak in any tongue he wished. When you pray,it matters not what tongue you use. He always listens to all our precious words.
btao
Jun 2, 2014 12:09 PM CDT
So, what you are saying, is that everyone that speaks a modern tongue in prayer is a double complete waste of time? 1) Jesus has no clue what anything we say is 2) THERE IS NO FAIRY SKY GOD!