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By John Sawyer

Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts is the 1st complete research of the function of languages and texts within the religions of the Greco-Roman international, together with Judaism and Christianity.It explores bilingualism, language studying, literacy, publication construction and translation, in addition to many of the extra explicitly spiritual elements, together with ideals approximately language, missionary zeal, ritual, conservatism and the facility of a priestly institution. Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts sheds new mild at the function of the facility of phrases, spoken and written, in faith.

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At the other end of the spectrum, Avestan, the language in which the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism were transmitted, was a variety of Old Iranian known only from those texts and, for most of its history, unintelligible to all but a few experts. Between these two extremes, Hebrew was the spoken language of a small community which withstood the pressures from other stronger language groups and was eventually canonized as the sacred language of the Jews. There is an interesting contrast between Judaism and Christianity here.

R. 74: Dalman 1922:17). Aramaic prayers were used in public worship, although, according to a completely logical tradition, angels spoke Hebrew and would not have understood Aramaic (BT Shab. 12b). Daniel is a scriptural example (2:20–3). The first words of his Aramaic prayer, which incidentally have a Hebrew parallel in Psalm 113:2, inspired the opening petitions of two of the best-known ancient Jewish prayers, namely the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9–15) and the Qaddish. 600 CE, references to early forms of it, always in Aramaic, are to be found in the Talmud (BT Ber.

There are some Jewish Aramaic formulas in the Greek Gospels, 36 SACRED LANGUAGES which are given theological and ritual significance by the fact that they are believed to have been the actual words used by Jesus. The term maranatha in 1 Corinthians is a well-known example of the use of Aramaic in prayer, to which we might add the use by Paul (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6) and Jesus (Mark 14:36) of Abba ‘father’ in the context of prayer. The term talitha qumi (Mark 5:41) is another Aramaic formula used by Jesus.

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