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Pope Francis and Benjamin Netanyahu on Jesus’ language

Pope Francis and Benjamin Netanyahu on Jesus’ language

Huffington Post begins: “Well, this is awkward.”

As Netanyahu began speaking on the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, he mentioned Jesus Christ, saying via a translator, “Jesus lived here. He spoke Hebrew.”

Pope Francis interrupted, pointing out that Jesus spoke Aramaic.

“He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew,” Netanyahu responded after some chuckling arose from those seated around them.

Israeli linguistics professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann told Reuters that both men had a point.


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Paul Woodrum

My rheumatologist, a scholarly Orthodox Jew with a delightfully dry sense of humor, is my go-to-guy for questions about the Hebrew Scriptures or Judaism. Thinking of Luke’s account of Jesus reading from Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth (4:16ff), I asked my doc in what language the scripture would have been read in a synagogue in 1st century Palestine; Aramaic, the common language of the people, Greek, the language of the Septuagint, or Hebrew. His answer was, “Hebrew.”

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