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Old and New Testament scholars were as a rule content to dwell too much in water-tight compartments, and that more systematic first-hand application of Semitic linguistic knowledge to the New Testament might be expected to shed light upon a variety of problems. It followed that it was not only desirable that professed New Testament scholars should realize the importance to their researches of a first-hand equipment in Hebrew and Aramaic, but that Old Testament scholars equipped with a knowledge of these languages should turn to New Testament research, and endeavour by practical demonstration of the value of such knowledge to substantiate the truth of this thesis.
Thus it was that the writer turned seriously to tackle the question of the original language of the Fourth Gospel; and quickly convincing himself that the theory of an original Aramaic document was no chimera, but a fact which was capable of the fullest verification, set himself to collect and classify the evidence in a form which he trusts may justify the reasonableness of his opinion not merely to other Aramaic scholars, but to all New Testament scholars who will take the pains to follow out his arguments.
Inquiry into the Semitic characteristics of a New Testament book has nowadays to take account of the fact that the great modern discoveries of papyri and ostraka in Egypt have revoluSchlatter, Die Sprache und Heimat des vierten Evangelisten (1902), with which the writer was unacquainted until he had practically completed the present study. Schlatter has demonstrated the Palestinian origin of the diction of the Fourth Gospel in the fullest possible manner by citing Rabbinic parallels to its phraseology verse by verse, the majority of verses throughout the whole Gospel being thus illustrated (thus e. g. in ch. i parallels are cited for phrases in 34 out of the total 51 verses), and his work is a marvel of industry and intimate knowledge of the Midrashic sources which he employs. He has drawn, not from Aramaic, but from Rabbinic Hebrew—the Mechilta (commentary on Exodus) and Siphrê (commentary on Numbers and Deuteronomy) which date in substance from the 2nd century A. D., with supplements from the Midrash Rabba (on the Pentateuch and the Five Megilloth). He chooses these Rabbinic Hebrew parallels rather than the Aramaic material which we possess e. g. in the Palestinian Talmud, because the former are nearer in date to the Fourth Gospel and better illustrate the religious thought of Palestinian Judaism in the first century; but, as he remarks (p. 12), any phrase employed in Rabbinic Hebrew (the language of the Schools) could without difficulty be similarly expressed in Aramaic (the popular medium of speech in Palestine). Schlatter's conclusion is that the writer of the Gospel was a Palestinian who thought and spoke in Aramaic, and only acquired his Greek in the course of his missionary work (p. 9).
tionized our conception of Biblical Greek, proving it to be, not a thing apart, but a more or less characteristic representative of the widespread Kourń dialect. The writer is not unacquainted with the researches of Professors Deissmann and Thumb, Milligan and Moulton, and recognizes the fact that they have proved that many constructions and usages both in the LXX and New Testament which were formerly supposed to reflect Semitic influence, are really nothing more than ordinary phenomena of the Kolvý language. While readily making this acknowledgement to the excel. lent work of these scholars, he does not stand alone in holding that their reaction against the theory of Semitic influence upon Biblical Greek has been pushed too far. The fact is surely not without significance that practically the whole of the new material upon which we base our knowledge of the Kolvý comes from Egypt, where there existed large colonies of Jews whose knowledge of Greek was undoubtedly influenced by the translationGreek of the LXX, and who may not unreasonably be suspected of having influenced in some degree the character of Egyptian Koivý.* A good example of such influence has been unwittingly
* Cf. the judicious remarks of Dr. Swete, Apocalypse (1907), p. cxxiv, n. 1: * The present writer, while welcoming all the light that can be thrown on the vocabulary and syntax of the New Testament by a study of the Graeco-Egyptian papyri, and in particular the researches of Prof. Deissmann, Prof. Thumb, and Dr. J. H. Moulton, deprecates the induction which, as it seems to him, is being somewhat hastily based upon them, that the Greek of the New Testament has been but slightly influenced by the familiarity of the writers with Hebrew and Aramaic.... It is precarious to compare a literary document with a collection of personal and business letters, accounts, and other ephemeral writings; slips in word-formation or in syntax which are to be expected in the latter, are phenomenal in the former, and if they find a place there, can only be attributed to lifelong habits of thought. Moreover, it remains to be considered how far the quasiSemitic colloquialisms of the papyri are themselves due to the influence of the large Greek-speaking Jewish population of the Delta.' Similarly, Mr. G. C. Richards, in reviewing the 2nd edition of Dr. Moulton's Grammar of New Testament Greek in the Journal of Theological Studies, x (1909), p. 289, remarks : “The discovery of the Aramaic papyri from Assuan emphasizes this point (the evidence for large Jewish settlements in Egypt from an early date] most strongly, and even Deissmann (Licht vom Osten, p. 83, n. 5) is prepared to admit that the adoption of els tò ovoua as a legal phrase may be due to Semitic influence “in grauer Vorzeit". But this “ Vorzeit" can scarcely be earlier than the end of the fourth century B.C. No doubt it is possible, as he says, that if originally a Semiticism, it may not have been felt to be so any longer. Such influence on the language of a population from an influx of settlers is quite common. Dr. Moulton makes
presented to us by Prof. Deissmann (LAE. pp. 129 ff.) in one of two passages which he quotes from the papyri for the express purpose of proving that the parataxis so characteristic of the Fourth Gospel, with its and ... and', is not due to Semitic influence, but belongs to the popular Koivý style. This is a letter from two pig-merchants (C. A. D. 171) in which they complain to the Strategus that they have been attacked by brigands and robbed and beaten : ανερχομένων ημών από κώμης Θεαδελφείας Θεμίστου μερίδος υπό τον όρθρον επήλθαν ήμεϊν κακούργοί τινες... και έδησαν ημάς συν και το μαγδωλοφύλακι και πληγαϊς ημάς πλίσταις ήκισαν και τραυματιαίον εποίησαν τον [Πασίωνα και είσανήρα[ν ημ]ων χοιρίδι[ον] α και εβάσ[ταξαν τον του Πασίων]ος κιτώνα ... The term here used to describe the guard of the tower', maydwlopúlaš, embodies the ordinary Hebrew word for 'tower', migdôl (originally magdól), and is thus clear evidence for Jewish influence upon Egyptian Kouvý terminology. Yet Prof. Milligan (New Testament Documents, p. 154), referring to this section of Deissmann's work, states that he has been able to produce examples of similar [to the Fourth Gospel) paratactic sentences from sources where no Semitic influence can be predicated (the italics are the present writer's); and similarly Prof. Moulton (Cambridge Biblical Essays, p. 486) remarks, ‘Those who still find Semitism in these plain co-ordinated sentences [of the Fourth Gospel), with their large use of cai, may be recommended to study the most instructive parallels which Deissmann has set out,' &c.
We cite this passage merely as suggesting that the theory of Jewish influence upon the Koivý of Egypt, so far from being false or negligible, may in fact be supported by concrete evidence drawn from the papyri themselves. It does not follow, of course, that the
a point of the case of Wales. South Wales Welsh is regarded by North Wales people as an inferior patois because of the Anglicisms, which are to be seen not only in borrowed words but also in turns of expression. In fact we may say that, if the native language of a whole district may be strongly affected by the entry of aliens who learn it and learn it badly, a fortiori is a language, which is not the native one, but the medium of communication between natives and strangers, likely to be modified by all who use it.' So also Dr. A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek Testament in the light of historical researchs (1919), p. 91: 'The LXX, though “translation Greek”, was translated into the vernacular of Alexandria, and one can but wonder if the LXX did not have some slight and resultant influence upon the Alexandrian Kouvh itself. The Jews were very numerous in Alexandria.'
paratactic style of the pig-merchants is due to Semitic influence ; for, as Prof. Moulton justly observes (NTG.i, p. 12), in speaking of co-ordination of sentences with simple kai, 'in itself the phenomenon proves nothing more than would a string of “ands” in an English rustic's story-elementary culture.' The vice of arguing from the epistolary style of an Egyptian pig-merchant or the speech of an English rustic to the style of the Fourth Gospel lies in the fact that the former are not in pari materiâ with the latter. The theory of elementary culture which satisfactorily explains the style of the former is ill applied to a work which in thought, scheme, and execution takes rank as the greatest literary production of the New Testament, and the greatest religious monument of all time.
So with other stylistic peculiarities of the Gospel, such as the frequent use of Casus pendens. This, Prof. Moulton tells us, 'is one of the easiest of anacolutha, as much at home in English as in Greek' (NTG.i, p. 69). We recognize the truth of this statement as regards colloquial English, especially among the semi-educated. We might be talking to a groom, and it would be natural for him to say, 'The gentleman who used to ride that horse—he lost his arm in the war. Probably at times we use the same kind of anacoluthon ourselves in ordinary conversation ; but we do not use it in writing a book or article which we hope may be worthy to rank as literature. Nor, if we take the whole New Testament as a fair specimen of literature written in the Koivý, do we find as a rule more than very occasional instances of the usage. In the Fourth Gospel, however, it is remarkably frequent; and it is reasonable to seek some better reason than the supposition that the writer of the finest piece of literature in the New Testament was more than ordinarily infected with colloquialism. Now there is a literature in which both the usages which we have been noticing—parataxis and Casus pendens—are not the marks of lack of education but common phenomena of the best writing style, namely, the literature of Semitic-speaking peoples. If, then, these two characteristics of the style of the Fourth Gospel, only selected by way of example, fit in with numerous other characteristics which point to translation from a Semitic language, their evidence as part of our proof that the Gospel is such a translation is not in the slightest degree invalidated by the fact that parallels can be adduced from the non-literary and ephemeral type of document which we find represented in the papyri.
As a matter of fact, we have little cause to quarrel with Prof. Moulton at any rate in the course which is followed in our discussion of the language of the Fourth Gospel, for he lays down a canon which covers a great part of the characteristics which are brought forward. "If we are seeking', he says, 'for evidences of Semitic birth in a writer whose Greek betrays deficient knowledge of the resources of the language, we must not look only for uses which strain or actually contravene the Greek idiom. We shall find a subtler test in the over-use of locutions which can be defended as good Koivý Greek, but have their motive clearly in their coincidences with locutions of the writer's native tongue. This test of course applies only to Greek which is virtually or actually translated to the Hebraism of the LXX and the Aramaism of New Testament books which are either translated from Aramaic sources or written by men who thought in Aramaic and moved with little freedom in Greek.'* It is precisely this over-use of locutions coincident with locutions of Aramaic which will repeatedly be found to characterize the Greek of the Fourth Gospel.
From the remarks which are occasionally to be encountered in books and articles dealing with the Gospels it would appear that some amount of vagueness exists in the minds of
many nonSemitic scholars as to the existence of a clear distinction between Aramaisms and Hebraisms. By some scholars, in fact, the question of distinction is ignored, and the two terms are used indifferently as though they were synonymous. A glaring instance of this is to be seen in Prof. Schmiedel's remarks on the original language of St. Mark's Gospel in Encyc. Bibl. 1870. “The language of Mk.', he says, “Hebraizes still more strongly than does that of Mt. Nevertheless, the combinations of Allen (Expositor, 1900, i, pp. 436-43) do not prove that the evangelist wrote Aramaic, but only that he wrote a kind of Jewish Greek
* Cambridge Biblical Essays, p. 474.
+ Cf. Dalman, WJ. pp. 18 f.