Tuesday, October 22, 2002

What's fascinating to me about this find (below) is—if genuine—it would complement the work of a late French anthropologist whose studies might have had more of an impact had he lived to finish his translations.

The one slim volume summarizing the theory of Jean Carmignac, can, fortunately, still be found at Amazon here. What's striking about it is that no one thought of this idea sooner.

Carmignac's work on the Dead Sea Scrolls exposed him to many 'semitisms' as he called them, Hebraic expressions in Aramaic that seemed strikingly similar to many of the expressions used by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels.

As an experiment, he decided to try and translate the Gospel of Mark, still believed to have been written originally in Greek, into the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls period. He assumed, since the two languages (ancient Greek and Hebrew) are so different, that it would be difficult. In fact, however, Carmignac reported that it took less than an afternoon to translate half of Mark into perfect
Hebrew consonant with the period of the Scrolls. To him, this was strong evidence that the Gospel was in fact a pain-staking translation into Greek of a now lost Hebrew original.

If this is true, and I hope some enterprising anthropologists out there are working on this, then it means that the Gospels were redacted much earlier than currently thought. Carmignac himself thought Mark and Matthew were written down before 50 AD (if memory serves). But even John he set down well within the first century of Christ, no later. This makes the events and sayings of Christ appear all the more closer to the real thing....

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