Language of The Last Supper


#1

**What language did Jesus Christ use during the First Mass, the Last Supper? Were the first words of consecration spoken in Latin, Hebrew, or Aramaic? **

My gut feeling tells me that the First Mass was spoken in the vernacular (not unlike the New Mass tradition) and that the language used was likely a form of ancient Hebrew.

Anyone know? If you could cite sources, that would be “grrrrrreat!”

If the vernacular was used for the First Mass, this point would be a GREAT apologetics tool to refute the Latin-only, anti-vernacular arguments of the Sedevacantists, SSPX, and other schismatic groups.


#2

today Orthodox Jewish families celebrate Passover reciting the prayers and blessings in Hebrew, and booklets with English on one page and Hebrew on the other are sold for this purpose containing the order, readings and prayers. So my guess is that when reciting the blessings, if not in all the table conversation, Jesus spoke Hebrew. He certainly did not use Latin, so there is no inherent scriptural basis for insisting on Latin as the only possible language for celebration of the Eucharist.


#3

[quote=TheGrowingGrape]**What language did Jesus Christ use during the First Mass, the Last Supper? Were the first words of consecration spoken in Latin, Hebrew, or Aramaic? **
[/quote]

My opinion is that the prayers were most likely in Hebrew (the religious language), the Scriptures Hebrew or Greek (LXX) and the other parts (Consecration?) in the spoken language of Aramaic.


#4

I knew it!!!

OK … do you have any references? I’ll need references if I’m to use this in an Apologetics discussion.

Where would I find out?


#5

Hi,
An excellent reference for this is “How Christ said the First Mass”, by Fr James Meagher available through TAN. In addition, this source is well respected among Traditionalist.
God Bless and hope this helps.


#6

Yes, Christ may have used other languages, but the point is, if He used Hebrew, that was the language UNIVERSALLY used. It was not as if in Rome the Jews used Latin or in some other country it was whatever the vernacular was. The language was set as a certain language, and that is how it stayed. It was not adapted to the local dialect… but as far as the actually words He used (not the language, but the words), the Church has said that He used the words that are contained in the Traditional Latin Mass (from the Canon): “For this is My Body” for the bread and “For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins.” NOT for all and certainly NOT without “mysterium fidei”, as it is in the Novus Ordo. Pope Innocent III expressed this very clearly in “Cum Marthae circa” Nov. 29, 1202, saying: “You have asked (indeed) who has added to the form of thw words which Christ Himself expressed when He changed the bread and wine into the body and bloo, that in the Canon of the Mass which the general Church uses, which one of the Evangelists is read to have expressed. …In the Canon of the Mass that expressed ‘mysterium fidei’ is found interposed among His words. …Surely we find many such things omitted from the words as well as the deeds of the Lord by the Evangelists, which the Apostles are read to have supplied by word or to have expressed by deed.”

The same Holy Pontiff in “Eius exemplo” Dec. 18, 1208 said thus: “Therefore, we firmly believe and we confess that however honest, religious, holy, and prudent anyone may be, he cannot nor ought he to consecrate the Eucharist nor to perform the sacrifice of the altar unless he be a priest, regularly ordained by a visible and perceptible bishop. And to this office three things are necessary, as we believe: namely, a certain person, that is a priest as we said above, properly established by a bishop for that office; and those solemn words which have been expressed by the holy Fathers in the canon; and the faithful intention of the one who offers himself…”

The Council of Florence states in “Exsultate Deo” on Nov. 22, 1439: “The words of the Saviour, by which He instituted the scrament, are the form of this sacrament”

In “Cantate Domino” from the same Holy Synod on Feb. 4, 1441: “But since in the above written decress of the Armenians the form of the words, which in the consecration of the body and blood of the Lord the holy Roman Church confirmed by the teaching and authority of the Apostles had always been accustomed to use, was not set forth, we have thought that it ought to be inserted here. In the consecration of the body the Church uses this form of the words: ‘For this is my body’; but in the consecration of the blood, she uses the following form of the words: ‘For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins.’”

First the Holy Council says in the decree to the Armenians that the form of the Sacrament are the words used by Christ Himself. Then, She defines what those words are. They are: “For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins.” NOT “for all” as in the Novus Ordo and NOT without the Mystery of Faith.


#7

[quote=TheGrowingGrape]**What language did Jesus Christ use during the First Mass, the Last Supper? Were the first words of consecration spoken in Latin, Hebrew, or Aramaic? **

My gut feeling tells me that the First Mass was spoken in the vernacular (not unlike the New Mass tradition) and that the language used was likely a form of ancient Hebrew.

Anyone know? If you could cite sources, that would be “grrrrrreat!”

If the vernacular was used for the First Mass, this point would be a GREAT apologetics tool to refute the Latin-only, anti-vernacular arguments of the Sedevacantists, SSPX, and other schismatic groups.
[/quote]

EENS you are forgetting that many of the Jews used Greek outside of Jerusalem, that is why the early Christians used the LXX version of the Scriptures.


#8

Jesus spoke in the common language of the Jewish people. For he was a Jew and was speaking to Jewish disciples. More than likely it was simple everyday Hebrew. The same native language that is spoken in modern day Israel today.


#9

[quote=gladtobe]Jesus spoke in the common language of the Jewish people. For he was a Jew and was speaking to Jewish disciples. More than likely it was simple everyday Hebrew. The same native language that is spoken in modern day Israel today.
[/quote]

the simple everyday language of Jesus’ day was Aramaic, today preserved in parts of Iraq and among Chaldean Christians. Hebrew was, and remains for Orthodox Jews, the language of worship and of scripture. Modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel today is not identical with scriptural Hebrew any more than Church Latin of the middle ages was the same as the vernacular spoken in the streets of Rome in the 5th century.


#10

[quote=EENS]Yes, Christ may have used other languages, but the point is, if He used Hebrew, that was the language UNIVERSALLY used. It was not as if in Rome the Jews used Latin or in some other country it was whatever the vernacular was.
[/quote]

Our Lord used the Septuagint in much of His teaching, which was written in Greek, as well as the Hebrew texts (to include non “accepted” or non canonical texts.) In conversation He used Aramaic.


#11

[quote=EENS] The language was set as a certain language, and that is how it stayed. It was not adapted to the local dialect…
[/quote]

That is exactly what the Septuagint is, and yes He used it.


#12

I think they spoke Yiddish.


#13

[quote=EENS] but as far as the actually words He used (not the language, but the words), the Church has said that He used the words that are contained in the Traditional Latin Mass (from the Canon): “For this is My Body” for the bread and “For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins.” NOT for all and certainly NOT without “mysterium fidei”, as it is in the Novus Ordo. Pope Innocent III expressed this very clearly in “Cum Marthae circa” Nov. 29, 1202, saying: “You have asked (indeed) who has added to the form of thw words which Christ Himself expressed when He changed the bread and wine into the body and bloo, that in the Canon of the Mass which the general Church uses, which one of the Evangelists is read to have expressed. …In the Canon of the Mass that expressed ‘mysterium fidei’ is found interposed among His words. …Surely we find many such things omitted from the words as well as the deeds of the Lord by the Evangelists, which the Apostles are read to have supplied by word or to have expressed by deed.”
[/quote]

The Church is keeping it in context, they are not saying He used (or that we are required to use) the exact words, verbatim, she describes “which Christ Himself expressed”.


#14

[quote=EENS] The same Holy Pontiff in “Eius exemplo” Dec. 18, 1208 said thus: “Therefore, we firmly believe and we confess that however honest, religious, holy, and prudent anyone may be, he cannot nor ought he to consecrate the Eucharist nor to perform the sacrifice of the altar unless he be a priest, regularly ordained by a visible and perceptible bishop. And to this office three things are necessary, as we believe: namely, a certain person, that is a priest as we said above, properly established by a bishop for that office; and those solemn words which have been expressed by the holy Fathers in the canon; and the faithful intention of the one who offers himself…”
[/quote]

Again, they are not implying the language, but what is “expressed”.


#15

[quote=EENS] The Council of Florence states in “Exsultate Deo” on Nov. 22, 1439: “The words of the Saviour, by which He instituted the scrament, are the form of this sacrament”
[/quote]

If this is really your argument, that the “exact” words, in the same language as used by our Lord, “must” be used, then Latin is of course incorrect isn’t it? Of course, that’s not what the Church says is it?


#16

If we all were to stick to the nit-picky, strict, pharisee-like adherence to absolute Tradition that EEDS professes to belong, then the FORM should never have been changed to Latin in the first place. If we want to adhere to absolute strict form then the form should be recited in Aramaic, now and forever!.

Furthermore, “For Many” and “For All” are English interpretations of the Latin Rite. They are BOTH valid interpretations of the original Latin.

Also, the "mystery of faith" is implied in the Sacrament itself. 

The **only** words required for consecration are "This is my body," and "This is ... my blood." Period. THE CHURCH TAUGHT THIS BEFORE VATICAN TWO!!!! READ:

Here is a quote from **Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma**, **published in 1955, before the Vatican II Council**. Page 393 says, "*The words of institution demonstrate, at least with a high degree of probability, that at the Last Supper Jesus effected transmutation by the words, "This is my body," "This is my blood," and not by a mere act of will, or by the blessing or thanksgiving, as many theologians, notably of the early period of Scholacticism, for example Innocent III (De sacro altaris mysterio IV 6), assumed. According to the mandate of Christ: "Do this in commemoration of me," the church must similarly complete the consecration, as did Christ, by the words of consecration.*"

(I also have some interesting quotes supporting this from the Early Church Fathers, from the same book).

Also, I’ve been reading up on the history of the Mass over the past few days. Father Lukefahr says that the original Mass was recited in Aramaic, and during the late Apostolic Age the language evolved to Greek.

It remained in Greek until Pope Callistus changed the language to the vernacular Latin sometime around the year 200, but it was not a strict rule. During that time, the Mass was still being said in Greek in most of the Mediterranean Churches.

**I’ll end this by saying that the Latin Rite Mass is the New Mass, and the Novus Ordo Missae is actually the Old Mass of the first Christians! I came to this conclusion by educating myself on the roots of the Mass and on the real teachings of The Church. **


#17

Also, I thank those who responded, and I welcome more dialogue. Also welcome more good resources on the history of The Mass. Thanks!


#18

[quote=Tom]Our Lord used the Septuagint in much of His teaching, which was written in Greek, as well as the Hebrew texts (to include non “accepted” or non canonical texts.) In conversation He used Aramaic.
[/quote]

So sorry, but that’s not correct. The reason we see the words of the Septuagint in Jesus’ mouth is because the Evangelists were writing in Greek. Even then, at times they left the Aramaic words in His mouth (Eli, Eli, la-ma shabaqthani–Ps. 22:1).

Jesus and his Jewish interlocutors all spoke Aramaic. Why would He have switched to Greek to quote the Scriptures?

DaveBj


#19

Furthermore, “For Many” and “For All” are English interpretations of the Latin Rite. They are BOTH valid interpretations of the original Latin.

Why can’t I find “for all” in ANY translation of the Bible in English?

I’ve checked in the RSV-CE, NAB, KJV, and the NRSV. Even the

the NEW VULGATE in LATIN says:

Mark 14:24: Et ait illis: “Hic est sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui* pro multis *effunditur” (Navarre Bibles, Mark)

pro multis means “For many” as the Roman Missal of 1962 indicates.

It may be valid, but hardly desirable. Why can’t ICEL just stick to the Bible? Is their understanding better than all the Bibles that have ever been translated? Even if you can make argument that “For all” is valid - so what. Which is clearly the better translation? Someone mentioned on another thread on certain day of the year one can hear the priest read the gospel and say “For many” and then return to the altar and say the consecration of the Eucharist liturgy with “for all”. Even if “for all” is valid, why propagate this inconsistency?

I’ve noticed a tendency on this website whereby some apologists for the Mass of Paul VI in over reaction to Radical Traditionalists, to try to deny there exists any problems in the New Mass. The banquet aspect is overemphasized (Or at least the Sacrifice is under emphasized) in the new mass as has been stated by a number faithful catholic apologists including Marcus Grodi and Tim Staples. Tim Staples makes exactly this point on his tape set “The Eucharist: The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar” .The translation of the New Mass is valid, but nevertheless mediocre in rendering. There seems to be argument that well we only need “This is my Body” part so who cares about how the rest is said because the minimum (“This is my Body”) makes it valid.

**I’ll end this by saying that the Latin Rite Mass is the New Mass, and the Novus Ordo Missae is actually the Old Mass of the first Christians! I came to this conclusion by educating myself on the roots of the Mass and on the real teachings of The Church. **

Really. You are trying to advocate a heresy called primitivism. I believe the creed and the penitential rite are late additions of the medieval period that appear at the begiining of your so-called “old” mass. According to The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy by Adrian Fortesque the additions to Latin rite (Which are retained in the Mass) are:

  • Gloria (5th Century)

  • Kyrie eleison (Imported from the east in the 5th Century)

  • The Creed (11th Century) at least as part of the Mass.

  • The Confiteor (Penitential rite) - Father Adrian describes as “an early Medieval Prayer”

One of the interesting things is Father Fortesque describes the Chant as among the older parts of the Roman rite from those four things above that are retained in the New Mass and the chant is gone however this came about.

Try Reading the Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilina. You will see the earliest Liturgies (Like the Liturgy of St. James) did not say “The Lord be with you…And also with you”, they said “The Lord be with you…And with thy Spirit” like we say in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil (Late 400s). Its my understanding that Rome wants this specific change (“And with thy Spirit”) and the ICEL and American bishops like Troutman are stonewalling. The Liturgy of St. James dates from year 400 and uses “For Many” in its consecration. I am eternal grateful that I was Baptized in the Byzantine rite as an infant. I might add the Byzantine Liturgy is in English but there is a huge difference in terms of the sense of the sacred from the Novus ordo missae. Our Byzantine Consecration during The Divine Liturgy reads:

TAKE, EAT, THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS BROKEN FOR YOU , FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.

AMEN

DRINK OF THIS, ALL OF YOU, THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU AND MANY, FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS


#20

When you say: “so what if ‘for all’ is valid” do you mean: so what if it is a valid form of the Sacrament? Or do you mean, so what if it is a valid translation? I can most surely assure you that it is in NO WAY a valid translation. In NO document EVER, PERIOD, has “multis” ever been translated as “all”. No, I have not read every translation of every Latin document, but if it was ever done that way, it is completely wrong. No credible source (not even a poor source) would ever list a definition of “multis” as “all”. It is simply not the definition. It would be like saying that “many” and “all” mean the same thing in English. They most certainly do not mean the same thing. Some people may use the word “all” to mean “the vast majority” in an exaggeration, but never can “many” even be used as a literary technique to mean all, not even if it is being figurative or any such thing. The translation “for all” by the ICEL is NOT a mistranslation. A first semester Latin student could translate it better. Few if any of the mistakes in translation are actual mistakes. The people who translate the Latin know very well the language; they CHOSE to mistranslate it in order to distort the true Catholic doctrine. For example, here, they translate it “for all” to signify that all will be saved, a heresy so many times condemned by Holy Mother Church. The Council of Trent specifically condemns the use of “for all” and explains why it was NOT used, since NOT ALL are saved. Even though Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient for the remission of all sins, the effect is not that all are saved.

In any event, as regards the actual Form of the Sacrament, I would say the English translation (and I think every translation except for the French, since they all say “for all”–even the French is ambigious) is at best suspect. I don’t see how an infallible ecumenical Council can say that the FORM OF THE SACRAMENT (which the Church cannot change, which is also indicated) IS “For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins.” If this form is not used, the Sacrament is not confected. That is what the Form of a Sacrament means: the necessary words. If someone says: “I baptize thee in the Name of the Father and the Son”, then he has not baptized, since has not said the entire Form of the Sacrament, which is Triune, hence including the Holy Ghost.

Someone said that “Mysterium fidei” is implied… if I say I baptize thee in the Name of the Trinity, the Three Persons are most assuredly implied much more than the new Consecration, but that does not mean that the Form is valid. It would not be valid.

As far as the Council of Florence saying that what Christ signified or meant was the form, it does not say that either. It clearly says: "The words of the Saviour, by which He instituted the scrament, are the form of this sacrament."
The words Christ used ARE THE FORM, not the essence of them. THE WORDS are the form.

It goes on to list what these words are in Cantate Domino: “But since in the above written decress of the Armenians the form of the words, which in the consecration of the body and blood of the Lord the holy Roman Church confirmed by the teaching and authority of the Apostles had always been accustomed to use, was not set forth, we have thought that it ought to be inserted here. In the consecration of the body the Church uses this form of the words: ‘For this is my body’; but in the consecration of the blood, she uses the following form of the words: ‘For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins.’


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