Aramaic for 'Church' in Matt 16:18


#1

Hi,

The Greek word ‘ekklesia’ is usually translated ‘church’ in the Bible but refers to any organization established for a given purpose … at least this is my understanding. Some translations, however, use a word other than ‘church’ for the English rendering. Does anyone know if the Aramaic that Jesus would have used when He actually said this sheds any light on the translation?


#2

[quote=garysibio]Some translations, however, use a word other than ‘church’ for the English rendering.
[/quote]

Really? A quick check of 12 different translations shows “church” in every one. Which one(s) use a different word? What word do they use? FWIW, there is no other Greek word for Church that is used in the NT - everywhere the word ‘Church’ occurs, it’s the same Greek word. So a translation which used a different word in Matt 16:18 is editoralizing, not translating.

Does anyone know if the Aramaic that Jesus would have used when He actually said this sheds any light on the translation?

I imagine that, in Aramaic (as with most languages) there are many ways to say the same thing. Since we don’t know the exact Aramaic words that Our Lord used, it’s hard to infer any subtle meaning.


#3

[The Church] is rather an assembly, which is expressed in Aramaic as kehala, and in Hebrew gahal, corresponding to the Greek ekklesia. The Greek word derives from a verb meaning “to call” (the Greek translation of “a call” is klesis).

Jesus, Founder of His Church: General Audience — June 15, 1988
(Taken from the second-to-last paragraph.)

This is what Pope John Paul the Great had to say about it, for what it’s worth.

God Bless,
RyanL


#4

Really? A quick check of 12 different translations shows “church” in every one. Which one(s) use a different word? What word do they use? <<

I don’t have one with me to double-check but I believe the New Jerusalem Bible uses ‘community.’

FWIW, there is no other Greek word for Church that is used in the NT - everywhere the word ‘Church’ occurs, it’s the same Greek word. So a translation which used a different word in Matt 16:18 is editoralizing, not translating. <<

Which is one reason why I thought the use of words other than ‘church’ in this passage was so odd. Again, if I remember correctly, even the NJB translates ‘ekklesia’ as ‘church’ everywhere else.

I imagine that, in Aramaic (as with most languages) there are many ways to say the same thing. Since we don’t know the exact Aramaic words that Our Lord used, it’s hard to infer any meaning. <<

Actually, it’s a premise of anthropological linguistcs that any concept that can be expressed in one language can be expressed in any other language although a concept that can be summed up in one word in the first language might take a paragraph in the second. The Hebrew used in the time of Jesus was not especially rich in vocabulary. For example, they had no word for ‘cousin.’ Aramaic is very close to Hebrew so it would share that same lack of vocabulary. We know that Jesus used the Aramaic ‘kepha’ in this same passage because it was the only word thay had for ‘rock’ whereas Greek had ‘petros,’ petra’ and ‘lithos.’

I was hoping that someone who knew Aramaic - or even Hebrew - might be able to shed some light on the word Jesus used (or possible options if it turns out there was more than one).

Gary


#5

This is what Pope John Paul the Great had to say about it, for what it’s worth.

Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for.

Gary


#6

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