I found this website that basically says that some if not all of the gospel could have been written in Hebrew.

Is this theory supported today and by whom? Scholars and school of though would be appreciated.

I know that the article quote sources, but they are getting old (1991 for the earliest). Is there more recent development on this question.


2 Answers 2


Jesus would have spoken Aramaic which is descended from Hebrew, but is not the same language.

This is evidenced by the fact that in the few places where Jesus words are left untranslated, he is speaking in Aramaic—Abba, father. And Talitha cum (Daughter arise)

Also, whether or not Matthew is the first gospel is a matter of some debate. The Greisbach hypothesis, for example, suggests that Mark is the first Gospel, from which Matthew and Luke drew in order to flesh out their accounts. If Mark is the first Gospel, then its main witness, Peter, would probably have spoken to Mark in Aramaic.

Many manuscripts of the time would be dictated to an emaneusis—a scribe who would listen and then write. Since Aramaic was such a limited language, it is not altogether unlikely that the emaneusis would have listened to what was said by the author, but written it down in Greek. Greek was the lingua Franca of the old world, even if not the language that people spoke. It would be akin to English today.

An analogy might be as if you were an obscure Swedish band in the 70s, but then you had an idea for a song you wanted to get out to the whole world. Your thinking process would be in Swedish, a few drafts might even be in Swedish, but the translation would be so early that everybody would have thought of it in English.

So too with Koine Greek. The area may have spoken Aramaic, but the world spoke Greek. As such, you'd use Greek.

  • 4
    Indeed, that band would want to make even me cry out, "Abba! Father!" Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 12:05
  • Do you have any scholars sources? Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 12:13
  • 1
    @DavidLaberge Bill Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek is a good resource not only to learn the history of Koine Greek, but also learn the language itself. Koine simply means "common". It's American English to Queen's English, where Plato would have been written in the latter, in Classical Greek. This answer is absolutely right. Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 12:41
  • @DavidMorton Thanks for the heads up on Mounce. Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 10:45

I have been thinking and reading on the issue. There is no official or credible sources that state that the first gospel has written in Hebrew.

Introduction to the New Testament by DA Carson & Douglas J.Moo does not event bring the issue up. Mounce in is Basics of Biblical Greek does not seem to bring the issue either. The ESV Study Bible does not bring up the issue.

Here is what I found, especially from the Book Introduction to the New Testament By Carson and Moo. Is that Mark was written first, in greek, from a source unknown called "Q". Then the Q source and the gospel of Mark are the source of the gospel of Matthew and Luke.

The Hebrew influence is due to the fact that the author spoke Aramaic. A bit like my French way of writing English.

In Example in 1 Jonh 3.15

15 πᾶς ὁ μισῶν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἐστίν, καὶ οἴδατε ὅτι πᾶς ἀνθρωποκτόνος οὐκ ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἐν αὐτῷ μένουσαν.

Holmes, M. W. (2010; 2010). The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (1 Jn 3:15). Logos Bible Software.

Here is a extract of A Workbook For Intermediate Greek by Herbert W. Bateman III at page 377 :

Semantical Issue: Is πᾶς ἀνθρωποκτόνος οὐκ ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον a Semintism or evidence of vernacular Greek? A literal rendering of the phrase is "every murderer does not have eternal like". A similar example occurs in 2.19

On the one hand, it is argued that the Greeks customarily placed the noun in the negative [...]. Thus, πᾶς ἀνθρωποκτόνος οὐκ ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον is a Semitism. Speaking in an extremely broad sense. "Semetism" is a way to describe features of Greek that are "tinged" with either Aramaic or Hebrew. On the other hand, Brown has argued that the example in 1 John 2.19 as well as here in 3.15 is more in line with vernacular Greek. Whether this is a form a Semitism or an example of venacular Greek is difficult to determine and such discussions tend to forget the author's point.


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