jump to navigation

More Mass Histeria July 9, 2007

Posted by gregquill in Uncategorized.

The Jews have a problem with one prayer said on one day in the Latin Mass; the French have a problem with the Mass in any language except French (spoken only by native French priests from Paris, Champagne or the Loire Valley); and ultra-right traditionalists and nostalgic ex-altar boys (like me) miss the Latin Mass. What to do?Wikipedia has provided some interesting information on the languages used in Palestine during the time of Christ.

During Jesus’ lifetime, Jews spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. Additionally, Koine Greek was the international language of Roman administration and trade, and was used by people in the cities. Latin was used in the Roman army, but despite the movie “Passion of the Christ”, it was not taught to Jewish people.

There were a number of colloquial Aramaic dialects. Seven dialects of Western Aramaic were spoken in the vicinity of the land of Israel in Jesus’ time. They were probably distinctive, and mutually intelligible.

The various languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin) mutually influenced each other, especially Hebrew and Aramaic. Hebrew words entered Jewish Aramaic, and Aramaic words entered Hebrew.

The movie “Passion of the Christ” is notable for its use of much dialogue in Aramaic. Modern Aramaic speakers found the language hard to understand.

So, it is apparent that the first Mass, celebrated in the upper room by Jesus with the Apostles, was not in Latin. Nazareth may have had one or two merchants with a little knowledge of Greek, but we can safely eliminate the language of philosophers and merchants from this discussion. Most of the Mass – which, remember, was a meal, the Last Supper – probably wasn’t in Hebrew, which Jesus and the Apostles learned (if at all) in a religious context during infrequent visits to the Temple in Jerusalem. (Nazareth was not a wealthy town, and did not have its own Temple staffed with Pharisees, scholars and linguists. Jerusalem is 65 miles by foot from Nazareth, but Jews had to go further to avoid Samaria, which added about 30 miles each way.)   Jesus and the Apostles probably spoke Jewish Aramaic among themselves, and so I think that the first Mass was celebrated in that colloquial Jewish Aramaic.

So, that’s it. Time to sign up for Berlitz.

Now, if someone will only brief the Pope.

In German, I think.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: