Hebrew-Aramaean Complexion of The New Testament Diction

The popular Greek dialect was not spoken and written by the Jews, without some intermixtures of a foreign kind. Particularly did they intermix many idioms and the general complexions of their vernacular language. Hence arose a Judaizing Greek dialect; which was in some good measure unintelligible to the native Greeks, and became an object of their contempt. All the idioms of the vernacular language of the Jews, which have been transferred to the Septuagint and the New Testament, have been ranked under the appellation of Hebraisms; to which however, many phrases have been assigned; that more properly should be named Aramaeisms, or which belonged to the popular Greek.

All the nations, who after Alexander’s death came under Greek rulers, and gradually adopted the language of their conquerors in the common intercourse of life, particularly the Syrians and Hebrews, spoke Greek less purely than the native Grecians, and enstamped upon it more or less of the characteristic of their respective vernacular toungues. Since now all the Jews who spoke the Greek language, are commonly called Hellenists, so the dialect used by them has obtained the appellation of Helenistic. On this account, the New Testament diction has been first called Hellenistic by Joseph Scaliger.

The Hebraisms of the New Testament have often been collected together, and with a copiousness that deserves commendation. It is well known that Syro-Chaldaic, and not the old Hebrew, was spoken by the Jews of Palestine in the time of our Saviour. On this account, many of the current expressions in that language must have been introduced into the Greek which was spoken by the Jews.

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