Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1435-1436 Seth Sanders – The Language that Jesus Spoke

Christ Pantocrator

The oldest surviving panel icon of Christ Pantocrator, encaustic on panel, c. 6th century.

Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a brief dispute about it, but what language DID Jesus speak? What was the linquistic climate of first century Palestine? To find some answers, we queried Seth Sanders, professor of religion at Trinity College in Hartford CT. Seth is the editor of the Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions. We spoke to him a few years ago about the development of Hebrew writing.

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