Language of Mary?

Is it really known what language Mary (and therefore, Jesus and the others of Nazareth) spoke? To my mind, I get a feeling it’s a language that is no longer spoken. There are Jesus movies that have Him sometimes speaking a language that sounds Arabic. I’m just so vague on this. Is Mary’s and Jesus’s ancient tongue known?

Yes, it’s known. Aramaic.

Most people think that it’s likely they spoke a dialect of Aramaic, specifically, Western Aramaic.

As for the exact dialect (Galilean Aramaic) that they spoke, it’s extinct. The closest surviving relatives of Jesus’ Aramaic are now spoken only in a few villages in western Syria; most dialects of Aramaic spoken or used today (such as Syriac or Chaldean or Assyrian) belong to the other branch of the family, Eastern Aramaic.

Since Galilean Aramaic is extinct, you basically have to reconstruct what it sounded like. Here’s one idea. (BTW, the ‘Aramaic’ you hear in The Passion of the Christ is essentially a ‘reconstructed’ mish-mash of Aramaic from different periods.)

P.S. It ‘sounds’ (but only very vaguely) like Arabic, because Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic are all Semitic languages.

Actually, the Maronite Church uses West Syriac.

There is a gentleman who has a website where you can purchase his translations of the Bible from Ancient Aramaic to modern English. His name is Vic Alexander. His website has samples of the Aramaic that Jesus spoke.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Maronite liturgical language Syriac? Syriac is an Eastern Aramaic language.

It is Syriac, or Eastern Aramaic.

About Vic Alexander: his translations are really based on the Peshitta, a translation of the Bible into Syriac. While Syriac is, like Galilean, an Aramaic language/dialect, they belong to different branches of the family: Syriac is, as mentioned, an Eastern Aramaic language (and so are the modern dialects spoken today by most Aramaic-speaking Christians like Chaldean or Assyrian), but the Aramaic variants spoken in Palestine were western ones.

That’s the thing to keep in mind really: you should take most claims of stuff being in ‘the original Aramaic that Jesus spoke’ with a grain of salt, since about 80-90% of the time, they’re actually (based on) the wrong dialect.

I just reread your comment and I noted you said “West Syriac” when I thought you said “West Aramaic.” D’oh! :eek:

Yes, the Maronites do use the West Syrian liturgical rite and Western Syriac as their liturgical language (Chaldeans and Assyrians, meanwhile, use Eastern Syriac as their liturgical language) AFAIK.

Thank you very much for clarifying that, Patrick.Is there a resource where one could obtain something in an original Aramaic translation in the proper dialect? God bless you.

Oh, please forgive me. I just checked out your link and I can get I am looking for from Steve Caruso’s website. Thank you so much.

May God bless you abundantly.:slight_smile:

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