Jesus, then, spoke Galilaean Aramaic,
|November 7, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter seventeen||
Jesus, then, spoke Galilaean Aramaic, which is known to us as a separate dialect from writings of the fourth to the seventh century. For the Judaean dialect we have more and earlier evidence. We have literary monuments in it from the first to the third century. “It is very probable,” Dalman thinks, “that the popular dialect of Northern Palestine, after the final fall of the Judaean centre of the Aramaic-Jewish culture which followed on the Bar-Cochba rising, spread over almost the whole of Palestine.”
The retranslations into Aramaic are therefore justified. After J. A. Bolten’s attempt had remained for nearly a hundred years the only one of its kind, the experiment has been renewed in our own time by J. T. Marshall, E. Nestle, J. Wellhausen, Arnold Meyer, and Gustaf Dalman; in the case of Marshall and Nestle with the subsidiary purpose of endeavouring to prove the existence of an Aramaic documentary source. These retranslations first attracted their due meed of attention from theologians in connexion with the Son-of-Man question. Rarely, if ever, have theologians experienced such a surprise as was sprung upon them by Hans Lietzmann’s essay in 1896. Jesus had never, so ran the thesis of the Bonn candidate in theology, applied to Himself the title Son of Man, because in the Aramaic the title did not exist, and on linguistic grounds could not have existed. In the language which He used, was merely a periphrasis for “a man.” That Jesus meant Himself when He spoke of the Son of Man, none of His hearers could have suspected.
Lietzmann had not been without predecessors. Gilbert Genebrard, who died Archbishop of Aix as long ago as 1597, had emphasised the point that the term Son of Man should not be interpreted with reference solely to Christ, but to the race of mankind. Hugo Grotius maintained the same position even more emphatically. With a quite modern one-sidedness, Paulus the rationalist maintained in his commentaries and in his Life of Jesus that according to Ezek. ii. 1 “Barnash” meant man in general. Jesus, he thought, whenever He used the expression the Son of Man, pointed to Himself and thus gave it the sense of “this man.” In taking this line he gives up the general reference to mankind as a whole for which Mark ii. 28 is generally cited as the classical passage. The suggestion that the term Son of Man in its apocalyptic signification was first attributed to Jesus at a later time and that the passages where it occurs in this sense are therefore suspicious, was first put forward by Fr. Aug. Fritzsche. He hoped in this way to get rid of Matt. x. 23. De Lagarde, like Paulus, emphatically asserted that Son of Man only meant man. But instead of the clumsy explanation of the rationalist he save another and a more pleasing one, namely, that Jesus by choosing this title designed to ennoble mankind. Wellhausen, in his “History of Israel and of the Jews” (1894), remarked on it as strange that Jesus should have called Himself “the Man.” B. D. Eerdmans, taking the apocalyptic significance of the term as his starting-point, attempted to carry out consistently the theory of the later interpolation of this title into the savings of Jesus.
 Hans Lietzmann, now Professor in Jena, was born in 1875 at Düsseldorf. Until his call to Jena he worked as a Privat-Docent at Bonn. He has done some very meritorious work in the publication of Early Christian writings.
 See Meyer, p. 14l ff.
 “De Oorsprong van de uitdrukking ‘Zoon des Menschen’ als evangelische Messiastitel,” Theol. Tijdschr., 1894. (The Origin of the Expression “Son of Man” as a Title of the Messiah in the Gospels.)
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
|Also in print from Barnes and Noble
As an E-book at: