Polyglot Jesus

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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby Talib » Thu 23 Jul 2009 5:55 am

Stosis wrote:This is an interesting question. It is really hard to tell what Jesus lived like at all (if he wasn't just made up as a kind of parable or some such). It seems likely that he would have known many languages. In many current tribal societies, the members have to know 2-3+ languages because of trade. I don't really know much about this time period but maybe that little in sight will set someone down the right track :D
Well, he didn't live in a tribal society. But I'm not sure how prevalent multilingualism was in that region. Aramaic is a given (there are direct quotes from him in that language) and Hebrew can be inferred as well, but I don't know what else we can make a case for except Greek.
Also why focus on the big languages of the time. Weren't there other local vernaculars, perhaps never written down, that it is likely he could have spoken? or was it a fairly monolingual area as far as the common peasantry?
If they weren't widely spoken and never written down, it's useless to speculate on whether he knew them or not (since we wouldn't know they exist) but as far as I know that area was almost solely Semitic-speaking.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby Jayan » Sat 08 Aug 2009 2:30 pm

I must say I agree with Tyler, but I don't see why you all are discussing this question...I mean, you're just a bunch of skeptical athiest who probably don't believe Jesus even existed (let alone believe in the Virgin Birth, the Miracles, the Resurrection or anything else that would possibly contradict the dogmatic tenets of your materialistic parody of the thing called science). What interest do you have in what languages Jesus spoke? I think this would be one of those sensitive topics which ought to be left alone on a forum with people from mixed religious backgrounds.

I (as respectfully as I can) take my leave.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby linguoboy » Sat 08 Aug 2009 3:41 pm

Jayan wrote:I must say I agree with Tyler, but I don't see why you all are discussing this question...I mean, you're just a bunch of skeptical athiest who probably don't believe Jesus even existed (let alone believe in the Virgin Birth, the Miracles, the Resurrection or anything else that would possibly contradict the dogmatic tenets of your materialistic parody of the thing called science). What interest do you have in what languages Jesus spoke? I think this would be one of those sensitive topics which ought to be left alone on a forum with people from mixed religious backgrounds.

Sceptical atheists are exactly the ones who should be discussing questions like this, as believers are too biased by their preconceived notions of Deity and His characteristics.

As for being a "sensitive topic"...if it genuinely upsets you to hear someone claim that Jesus of Nazareth didn't speak Latin, then you may not be ready for the Internet just yet.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby Jayan » Sat 08 Aug 2009 7:09 pm

linguoboy wrote:Skeptical atheists are exactly the ones who should be discussing questions like this, as believers are too biased by their preconceived notions of Deity and His characteristics.


But if you were true skeptics, then you would recognise your own biases (e.g. assumption of evolution, assumption of naturalistic worldview's veracity, etc.). The truth is, humans are unable to completely lay down their biases. It is natural for us to view the world through the lens of our beliefs, but we should know when a hill is no longer worth dying for (I'm thinking of the squabbles even within Christendom here, like the disputes over baptism, communion, and worship style). But the thing is, modern "scientists" don't know when their beliefs turn into unreasonable biases. That's how we get textbooks for grade school kids talking about Evolution (NOTE: I mean MACRO-evolution here, I don't think anyone could deny MICRO-evolution) as a scientific law, when it's really still a hypothesis. I agree that you have a point in saying that believers are often too biased. Sadly, this is true. But it does not have to be the case. If Christians take the time to reflect and sort through their beliefs, we can be even less obnoxiously biased than you atheists. I think of myself as on that road, though I still have a ways to go. But even though the majority of those who call themselves Christians may not even want to reflect like that, there are still many who do (heck, they even have a whole conference to train young people in that reflection called Summit). I ask you to discard that old prejudice of thinking that all believers are obnoxious, biased jerks; I apologize for the part I have played in its formation (I am still a work in progress).

What I meant by my statement, was more that you, who do not even believe in Christ’s existence are discussing what languages he spoke/learned. Does that not strike you as ironic? It even sounded at moments a bit like you were mocking Jesus.

linguoboy wrote:As for being a "sensitive topic"...if it genuinely upsets you to hear someone claim that Jesus of Nazareth didn't speak Latin, then you may not be ready for the Internet just yet.


Give me a break! If you’re thinking I’m Catholic and that my faith “was shaken” at the thought that Christ didn’t know Latin, I’m not Catholic by any stretch of the imagination (even if I were, you should know better…Latin is no longer the language of the Catholic Church as of the Second Vatican…even I know that). It is not because I was upset, it was because of a rare passing moment of postmodernism (something you know very well, I gather), thinking that because this forum was not created to be a religious discussion forum, then we shouldn’t be discussing such private and subjective matters here. Surely you can relate to that.

Something tells me you calculated that comment to make me go ballistic and lose the argument. I admire your rhetorical skill, but respectfully inform you that I see right through you.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby Talib » Sat 08 Aug 2009 7:39 pm

Jayan wrote:Something tells me you calculated that comment to make me go ballistic and lose the argument. I admire your rhetorical skill, but respectfully inform you that I see right through you.
If you realize this, why did you overreact and type that novella of a response. Something tells me he struck a nerve.
What I meant by my statement, was more that you, who do not even believe in Christ’s existence are discussing what languages he spoke/learned. Does that not strike you as ironic?
You're assuming two things: a) that he's an atheist and b) that he believes Jesus of Nazareth didn't exist. That's not a reasonable inference to make. What you're doing is attributing positions to someone which you don't know they actually have. This is a logical fallacy known as a strawman.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby Jayan » Sun 09 Aug 2009 1:47 am

Talib wrote:If you realize this, why did you overreact and type that novella of a response. Something tells me he struck a nerve.


1.) Quite frankly, I got fed up with all the postmodern secularism on this forum. I probably should have controlled myself a little more.

2.) You ain't seen nutin'. On most of the forums I'm a member on, that post would be consider small for me. Most of them are at least twice as long. :) I've been holding myself back on here and on Unilang.

You're assuming two things: a) that he's an atheist and b) that he believes Jesus of Nazareth didn't exist. That's not a reasonable inference to make. What you're doing is attributing positions to someone which you don't know they actually have. This is a logical fallacy known as a strawman.


Thank you, Talib, I have taken logic before. And actually, that doesn't perfectly fit the description of a strawman. I learned that a strawman was taking one, uncharacteristic aspect of a person/his argument and attacking that as though it were the whole. You're right, I did assume those things about linguoboy without really knowing them, but I inferred them from other things he has written. I'm sorry if those inferences were incorrect; I honestly thought that he was of the atheist religion from my interactions with him. If enything I believe I would be guilty of a "genetic fallacy." building an argument against someone based on a group he belongs to or appears to belong to. However, I didn't really mean to direct that post to linguoboy alone, it just kinda came out that way 1.) because of the incredibly annoying lack of distinction between sing. and pl. 2nd person pronouns in English and 2.) because I saw linguoboy as the unofficial spokesperson for the view I was arguing against.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby dtp883 » Sun 09 Aug 2009 2:00 am

Jayan wrote:That's how we get textbooks for grade school kids talking about Evolution (NOTE: I mean MACRO-evolution here, I don't think anyone could deny MICRO-evolution) as a scientific law, when it's really still a hypothesis.

Haha, a while back I went through an über-Christian phase. Every single creationist website said the same thing as you just did. "Stellar Evolution, Galactic Evolution, Micro Evolution, Macro Evolution..." And no offence but it bugs the heck out of me when I see the same thing written over and over without originality or understanding. Kind of like how some people listen to alternative or semi-main stream bands and claim that they are being original even though most of the time they're not.

What I meant by my statement, was more that you, who do not even believe in Christ’s existence are discussing what languages he spoke/learned. Does that not strike you as ironic? It even sounded at moments a bit like you were mocking Jesus.
I'm not sure that it matters what they believe, discussing what languages Jesus spoke could be broadened to what languages the people of his region spoke at that time. Since he was a commoner he probably would have had the same linguistic experience.

It is not because I was upset, it was because of a rare passing moment of postmodernism (something you know very well, I gather), thinking that because this forum was not created to be a religious discussion forum, then we shouldn’t be discussing such private and subjective matters here. Surely you can relate to that.
You can discuss anything you like in the General Chat section, it says so on the board index. :D

Something tells me you calculated that comment to make me go ballistic and lose the argument. I admire your rhetorical skill, but respectfully inform you that I see right through you.
This isn't debate team :lol: I wasn't aware you were arguing competitively. Just because you win or lose an argument doesn't mean your belief is right or wrong.

I'm not an atheist, I was and might be a Christian but then again I'm not sure about New Testament.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby formiko » Sun 09 Aug 2009 4:23 am

When I was in Nigeria, there were dirt poor children who spoke upwards of 6 languages (Yoruba, Wolof, Hausa, French, English and Arabic) and if they worked in the markets hawking their wears they knew spoke any language a tourist spoke.
People in multicultural lands are very monolingual. Except Americans ;)
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby linguoboy » Sun 09 Aug 2009 5:49 am

formiko wrote:When I was in Nigeria, there were dirt poor children who spoke upwards of 6 languages (Yoruba, Wolof, Hausa, French, English and Arabic) and if they worked in the markets hawking their wears they knew spoke any language a tourist spoke.

I think you may be mistaking "knowing a few key phrases" for "speaking a language". What you're describing sounds to me exactly like the kid in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK7IVoSp4a8. If you think you could actually have a conversation with him in Arabic or Italian, you'll find yourself very much disappointed. He knows enough to hawk you a fan and that's it.
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Re: Polyglot Jesus

Postby linguoboy » Sun 09 Aug 2009 6:41 am

Jayan wrote:But if you were true skeptics, then you would recognise your own biases

Boy, you're like a logical fallacy machine in this post, aren't you? Here you are begging the question: Assuming as a given that your opponents don't recognise and interrogate their own biases when that's what it's incumbent on you to prove.

But the thing is, modern "scientists" don't know when their beliefs turn into unreasonable biases. That's how we get textbooks for grade school kids talking about Evolution

No, the way we get that is 150 years of concerted attempts to disprove the theory of evolution none of which has passed muster according to the rigourous demands of the scientific method. It's ID theorists who are assuming the conclusion (i.e. there must be an intelligent cause underlying the development of life) and then adducing proofs in order to demonstrate it.

If Christians take the time to reflect and sort through their beliefs, we can be even less obnoxiously biased than you atheists.

Anyone who takes the time to systematically interrogate their beliefs will be less biased than someone who doesn't. It doesn't matter what their underlying belief system is. If you believe otherwise, then you need to make the case instead of arguing from authority.

What I meant by my statement, was more that you, who do not even believe in Christ’s existence are discussing what languages he spoke/learned. Does that not strike you as ironic? It even sounded at moments a bit like you were mocking Jesus.

1. You don't have to believe in the Christ to believe in the existence of Jesus.
2. You don't have to believe in the existence of Jesus to conjecture what languages he would've spoken if he had existed.

If someone posted on this forum saying, "I'm writing a short story about fictional character who was a petty tradesman's son in the ancient Near East. Can someone tell me whether he would've Persian or not?" would it be reasonable to answer, "Well, since he never existed, he couldn't have spoken Persian, Q.E.D."?

Give me a break! If you’re thinking I’m Catholic and that my faith “was shaken” at the thought that Christ didn’t know Latin, I’m not Catholic by any stretch of the imagination (even if I were, you should know better…Latin is no longer the language of the Catholic Church as of the Second Vatican…even I know that).

I only chose Latin because it's the language suggested for Jesus in this thread that there's the least amount of justification for. I don't assume anything about your belief system that you don't explicitly tell me.

It is not because I was upset, it was because of a rare passing moment of postmodernism (something you know very well, I gather), thinking that because this forum was not created to be a religious discussion forum, then we shouldn’t be discussing such private and subjective matters here. Surely you can relate to that.

We discuss subjective matters here all the time. Do you also object to the "What countries have you visited?" thread? It's far more stuffed with subjectivity than this discussion here.

I find it strange that you use the word "private" here. Jesus was very much a public figure; why should discussion of his characteristics be off-limits? Moreover, the idea that one's faith is between you and your deity and no one else is very much a Protestant Christian one. I mean, talk about viewing a subject solely through the lens of your own personal biases!
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