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Tim Hegg critique of Aramaic primacy

Tim Hegg has just published a paper critiqueing some of the popular Messianic translations out there, and with the popularity of Roth's AENT, he has engaged to a certain degree the argument of Aramaic primacy. Although he has not spent a considerable amount of time engaged with this, his comments are still very noteworthy considering his level of scholarship is, in my opinion, more often than not absent from the investigation of Aramaic primacy (although this is my "too often exposed to pseudo-scholarship" side talking). The paper can be found below,

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... lation.pdf</a><!-- m -->

I would enjoy seeing a professional dialogue with Hegg from those Peshitta primacist veterans around here who have a working knowledge of the language and manuscripts.

Some will also find interest in his critical examination of a few passages within the AENT where he makes clear note of some translation errors. Although he is not familiar with the fact that Roth merely revised Murdock's translation and Younan's interlinear with the exception of Galatians, nonetheless, he brings up some excellent points.
Quote:But once again, an Aramaic word on the lips of Yeshua does not prove that Aramaic was His primary language.

No, but his last words, must have been his mother tongue. You don't die and speak the last words in a foreign language but your mother tongue, unless you're trying to die like in a shakespeare story but YEshu was not like that.

In addition, when the people were shouting hoshanna! they did it in mother tongue. You don't do such for a new king in a foreign language having such emotions.

He mentions Bruce Metzer. Well, that must be the definite authority! Metzger compared the Khabouris which he later calls the Yonan codex, and concluded that the Khabouris is the same as the standard peshitta. We know this is not true.
IMO, Hegg did a very poor job regurgitating standard academic talking points, while offering very little in way of original thought.

--scholars all agree NT was written in Greek

--oldest fragments are in Greek

--just because Jesus spoke Aramaic doesn't necessarily mean He spoke Aramaic

--I love my own voice as I reframe old ideas as if they are my own

--look at my beard I look religious

blah blah blah.

I wanted to save you some time in case you're interested in actual original thought. I can't get that 1/2 hour of my life back, but perhaps I can save yours.


well i know i read fairly quick, so i figured: 30 minutes? i can do that in 15!! lol

shoulda listened to Paul.....i can't get back those minutes <!-- sConfusedhocked: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/shocked.gif" alt="Confusedhocked:" title="Shocked" /><!-- sConfusedhocked: --> but you warned me <!-- sSad --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/sad.gif" alt="Sad" title="Sad" /><!-- sSad -->

so, my assessment: nothing even remotely of weight argument-wise. i was really surprised at that, actually. i expected more from him, to be honest...

also, funnily enough, since he appeared to do a *thorough* job of speaking about modern translations from the Aramaic, i noticed he didn't make any mention (critical or positive) of Rick Wills' modern translation of the Matthew Peshitta at all. i wonder if it is because he hosts that particular translation on torahresource??
see <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m --> if you're interested (to be fair i haven't done any proper assessment of Mr. Wills' translation to offer a critique one way or the other, which may be the same for Mr. Hegg, although he trusts enough to put it on his site).

anyhow, i've seen far more educated attempts at refuting Aramaic Primacy (and failing) from the few-and-far-between posters that appear here, and some time back on but Mr. Hegg's effort just felt rather elementary, and overtly snarky towards the end - a pity for one who should be trying for at least an amicable presentation.

also, Distazo, you wrote:

Quote:No, but his last words, must have been his mother tongue. You don't die and speak the last words in a foreign language but your mother tongue

THANK YOU for probably the simplest and yet most intelligent argument for what language Messiah spoke i've ever heard!!

Chayim b'Moshiach,
Sorry Paul,

I read the article first, then the blog posts. What's sad about that article is the amount of double standards and ignorance of the Jewish and Roman historical backdrop.

For starters, his notions that Yeshua spoke Greek is ignoring of some other texts we can use to show He definitely did not speak Greek. For even their own Bibles say in John's gospel:

"20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ?Sir, we wish to see Jesus.?" (NKJV)

Even Greek primacist Bible footnotes and commentaries say something to the tune of:
"1. that they were Jews who spoke the Greek language, and dwelt in some of the Greek cities. It is known that Jews were scattered in Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, Egypt, etc., in all which places they had synagogues."

Others say these were Greek proselytes, but no matter, because the distinction's already been made. Why the distinction in the first place, if Yeshua already spoke Greek? If Yeshua Himself was a Hellenist, then why fuss? The fact is, Yahudeans distinguished themselves from those who spoke Greek, whether they are called Hellenists, Greeks, Arameans, akrobustia, or Gentiles. The takeaway is that Yeshua was not part of this Greek-speaking class, because he was a native-born, Aramaic-speaking Jew. No matter how much people want to change history, we cannot reinvent cultural phenomenon after 2,000 years. By the way, Yukhanan specifically mentioned this because He wanted to show that God was inviting EVERYONE to follow the Messiah, and was getting ready to CROSS CULTURES. That's why it was time for Messiah to go- because he was getting too big to be contained in Israel. The Scriptures say that the arm of the LORD can ONLY be revealed to Israel. That is why He had to go. Now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified, he said, along with, "I will draw all peoples to myself" which is to say, "I want the Hellenists, too."

Additionally, I would like to point out that Pliny and Roman historian Gibbons illustrated that interpreter use was widespread in the days of the empire. What boggles my mind is how the author says "While there may have been a translator employed to facilitate the exchange, the text gives no indication that such was the case." So, how does he automatically assume, 'oh, then Jesus of course spoke Greek.' That is just as much subjection as any other theory and is a double standard. He cannot accuse Aramaic primacists of making assumptions and make one of his own! The better assumption is to read what Roman historians wrote- that interpreters were employed by the thousands. Besides, unless they carry some illumination to the story (i.e. Joseph with his brothers in Egypt), they are omitted due to their irrelevance to the matter at hand. While there is no textual proof is certain, but it is definitely more plausible to believe the dignitary who admitted his own authority had an interpreter who was subject to them. Roman historical evidence more than supports this notion, as opposed to some carpenter's son/farmer from Nazareth learning Greek.

He also is telling of some of the major problems with Greek translations and their English "copyright" Bibles. He chastised the translations of 'nomos' in the CJB but proceeded to admit the word's many possible translations!? Well if nomos has so many meanings then why doesn't modern English bibles employ any of them except "law", no matter what the context dictates!? That is what I call a double standard.

He NEVER mentions the Semitic style, idioms, poetry or ambiguous mistranslations in the NT, which is perhaps the biggest justification for Aramaic Primacy study. Plus if he recommends Lamsa at the end, he doesn't understand why Lamsa is a problem.

There were many other assumptions and biases I detected, but these were the ones that I wanted to share. I hate double standards with a passion.
Bradley Wrote:He NEVER mentions the Semitic style, idioms, poetry or ambiguous mistranslations in the NT, which is perhaps the biggest justification for Aramaic Primacy study.
This is exactly why I think a professional dialogue and counter would prove profitable, because the more scholars we can expose to these things and have them thoroughly investigated, the better. One of the biggest issues with Aramaic primacy is that no one is looking at it, and when they do, they merely skim it over long enough to give a simple refute without actually having looked at some of the real arguments. Then in their place, we unfortunately have a bunch of pseudo-scholars flock towards the Aramaic, and this does much more damage to Aramaic primacy than good. In fact, I would say that some other scholars brush off Aramaic primacy because of them, and if anyone can humble themselves long enough to realize this then maybe we can begin to change this and bring the proper attention that the argument of Aramaic primacy deserves. In my own study, once I master Hebrew and can go on to fully grasp the Aramaic and begin a much more thorough study of the available source texts as opposed to relying on study helps and other works, then I can take on this task. But seriously, by that time the Second Coming may have well happened. Or in other words, I shouldn't have to be the one to do this because nobody else seems to understand how to get a long and work towards a real goal.
Dear Luc,

I agree. I noticed on the Hegg's critique the assault on AP claims that Peshitta texts are the "oldest" manuscripts. Reference Paul Younan's response, Paul has identified that type of argument as a "usual" GP retort. The reason being, the AP and HRM movement is guilty of exaggerating the claim that it is the oldest. I read the AENT and as a novice, that is certainly the impression I got from reading it too- it does seem to spin it that way. However, it turns out that there is no proof of such a claim, but as long as the claim is made, the GP will continue to remind APs of how inaccurate and UN-scholarly they are. Its called ad-hominem arguments, and while they are not logical, they can be distracting from the real issues.

But if APs began to admit this shortcoming, then the GP platform would have less to stand, because there is no proof that the Greek mss are original either- and that's the real issue! So that's where textual criticisms (poetry, ambiguity, idioms, etc) would clearly show AP supremacy- on an even playing field. APs just have to stop making claims they can't prove. Just because something is PROBABLY true, doesn't mean its CERTAINLY true, and GPs will use that against APs until the cows come home. With textual criticisms, on the other hand, that will lead to a more accurate degree of certainty and scholarship.

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