Aramaic - Spoken language of first century Israel
Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic. In Mark 5:41, we see Jesus saying "Talitha Cumi." This is Aramaic.
Aramaic was the language of first century Israel. Not Greek or Latin or Hebrew.
Old Hebrew was preserved by High Priests for religious purposes in the temple of Jerusalem since it is the holy language of Jews. But it wasn't used as a spoken language during first century AD.
Aramaic in New Testament
1) Acts 1:19 - "And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood."
"Akel dama" is Greek transliteration of Aramaic words "Khqel Dama."
We clearly see "Field of Blood" was called "Khqel Dama" by all the inhabitants of Jerusalem in their own language which is Aramaic.
If I translate aramaic words "Khqel Dama" into Hebrew, then "Khqel Dama" will become "Sh'deh Hadam."
Through this, we can read that all inhabitants of Jerusalem spoke in their own language in first century AD which was Aramaic. If Hebrew was used as spoken language in first century Israel, then "Sh'deh Hadam" would have been mentioned along with "Khqel Dama" (a.k.a akel dama in Greek and English NT) in Acts 1:19.
Here is the link to Acts Chapter 1 (Hebrew translation from Greek)
You will see "s'deh Hadam" at the end of Acts 1:19. To match the words, see S'deh (Green color) and Field (Green Color). Hadam (in purple color) and Blood (in purple color).
2) John 19:17 (ESV) - "and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha."
Golgotha is Aramaic, because Aramaic places the definite article at the end of the word, thus the 'tha' at the end of 'Golgotha' is the Aramaic definite article on a feminine noun. Unlike Aramaic, the definite article of Hebrew is in the beginning of the word ("Ha").
If I write Golgotha in Hebrew, then "Golgotha" will become "Ha Gulgoleth."
In John 19:17 of KJV, we see John calling "Golgotha" Hebrew. When he says "Hebrew", he is referring to Aramaic spoken by Hebrews. Aramaic spoken in Judea was known as Judean Aramaic (or Southern Aramaic). Aramaic spoken Galilee and Syrian regions were known as Northern Aramaic or called Suristi by Greeks.
Like Hebrew, we use the definite article ("the") in the beginning of a word in English. For example, we say "the car" in English. We never say "car the."
That is why NIV, ESV, and other bible versions write "Golgotha, Gabbatha, etc." as Aramaic instead of Hebrew.
Notice that Peter was exposed by his Galilean Aramaic speech among people (Matthew 26:73 and Mark 14:70). Judeans used Dead Scrolls Alphabet to write Aramaic while Syrians commonly used Estrangela Alphabet to write Aramaic in first century AD. Although Northern Aramaic and South Aramaic were mutually intelligible just like British English and American English, still Galilean accent of Aramaic would have sounded to the Judean Aramaic somewhat like Cockney sounds to a British aristocrat. That's why Galileans are mocked for their pronunciation of aramaic in talmud.
Here is the link to John 19:17 - http://www.bayithamashiyach.com/John_19.pdf
You will see Ha Gul'goleth and Skull in pink color.
3) Aramaic word Bar
Aramaic word "Bar" means son. But in Hebrew, Ben means son ("Ben"jamin in Old Testament).
Just look at the names in our English New Testament Bible.
"Bar"tholomew, "Bar"abbas, "Bar"nabbas, "Bar"sabbas, Simon "Bar" Jonah, "Bar" Jesus, "Bar"timaeus, etc.
4) Other infos on Aramaic words in NT
Let me also pick a female name. Martha.
Martha is one of the sisters of Lazarus in New Testament. Martha lives at Bethany in Judea. The name "Martha" is Aramaic for "Lady" or "Mistress."
Talitha (Mark 5:41) - In Hebrew, "Yaldah" would have been used instead of Aramaic word "Talitha."
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” - In Hebrew, "azabthani" would have been used instead of Aramaic word "sabachthani."
Also notice the name "Cephas" in our English New Testament Bible.
John 1:42 (ESV) - "He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter)."
Galatians 2:9 (NIV) - "James, Cephas, and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised."
Cephas is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:12, 1 Corinthians 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:5, etc.
Cephas comes from Aramaic word Kefa (also written as Kaypha) which means stone.
Many scholars try to give the false impression that Greek was the language of first century Israel.
Let me give you the historical evidences from Josephus.
Testimony of Jewish Historian Josephus
Jewish Historian Josephus wrote:
"I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations, and so adorn their discourses with the smoothness of their periods; because they look upon this sort of accomplishment as common, not only to all sorts of free-men, but to as many of the servants as please to learn them. But they give him the testimony of being a wise man who is fully acquainted with our laws, and is able to interpret their meaning; on which account, as there have been many who have done their endeavors with great patience to obtain this learning, there have yet hardly been so many as two or three that have succeeded therein, who were immediately well rewarded for their pains." - Antiquities of Jews XX, XI
Antiquities of Jews was written at the end of first century AD around 93 AD. Even during that time, we see the extreme rarity of a Jew speaking Greek.
Jewish Wars (Book 1, Preface, Paragraph 1) - "I have proposed to myself, for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, to translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians. Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth a Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterwards, [am the author of this work]."
In Antiquities of Jews Book 3, Josephus points out that Hebrews called Pentecost "Asartha." Asartha is Aramaic, because Aramaic places the definite article at the end of the word, thus the 'tha' at the end of 'Asartha' is the Aramaic definite article on a feminine noun. This is the same thing with the Aramaic word Talitha (Mark 5:41).
If Hebrew was used as a spoken language in first century AD, then Josephus would have mentioned that Hebrews also called Pentecost "Ha Atzeret." But he didn't.
Aramaic became known as Syriac, because First century Greek Historian and Geographer Strabo points out that Greeks called Arameans "Syrians" in his book "Geography." Unlike Jews in Judea, Arameans called Aramaic which became known as "Syriac" or "Suristi" in Greek.
In Josephus' Jewish Wars, one of the leaders who fought against Romans was Simon Bar Giora. Bar Giora means "Son of a proselyte" in Aramaic. Peshitta Tanakh is first century Old Testament written in Aramaic.
Here are couple of Aramaic words found in Greek NT manuscripts - Satana (Luke 10:18), Mammona (Luke 16:9), Khqel Dama (transliterated as Akel dama in Greek in Acts 1:19), Maran Atha (1 Corinthians 16:22), Golgotha (John 19:17), Talitha (Mark 5:41), and Lebontha (Matthew 2:11), Cammuna (Matthew 23:23), etc." So we even see Aramaic words in Greek NT manuscripts.
Below is how we write above Aramaic words in Hebrew.
Satana (Luke 10:18) - In Hebrew, the word "Satana" will become "Ha Satan."
Mammona (Luke 16:9) - In Hebrew, the word will become "Ha Mammon."
Khqel Dama (transliterated as Akel dama in Greek) - In Hebrew, "Sh'deh Hadam."
Maran Atha (1 Corinthians 16:22) - In Hebrew, "Adonainu Atha."
Golgotha (John 19:17) - In Hebrew, "Ha Gulgoleth."
Talitha (Mark 5:41) - In Hebrew, "Yaldah" would have been used instead of Aramaic word "Talitha."
Lebontha (Matthew 2:11) - In Hebrew, "Ha Lebonah."
Cammuna (Matthew 23:23) - In Hebrew, "Ha Kamon."
Abba (Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:15) - In Hebrew, "Ha Ab."
As for Dead Sea Scrolls, there are criticisms against Dead Sea scrolls. One of them is Dead Sea Scrolls are not reliable in terms of antiquity especially for first century AD Israel. Most of Dead Sea Scrolls are written in Hebrew. But only some in Aramaic and also some in Greek.
Through Josephus, we know the extreme rarity of a Jew speaking Greek even at the end of first century AD. Through Khqel Dama (a.k.a akeldama in Acts 1:19), we know that Aramaic was the spoken language of first century Israel.
The authorship of Dead Sea Scrolls is given to Essenes of Qumran. The Essenes were famous for their continuing use of old, worn materials, as shown by Josephus in Jewish Wars Book 2.
For Example, Essenes replace neither clothes nor footwear until the old set is ripped all over or worn through with age (Jewish Wars Book 2, 126).
This would mean that Essenes held that an ancient parchment, manufactured many years
before, was venerable and suited for the recording of their inspired writings. The date of manufacture could be 100 years or more before the date of composition of the contents. It is quite fallacious to say that the date of composition was the same as the date of manufacture.
"Christ, after all spoke in the language of His contemporaries. He offered the first sacrifice of the Eucharist in Aramaic, a language understood by all the people who heard Him. The Apostles and Disciples did the same and never in a language other than that of the gathered faithful." - Latin Patriarch Maximus, Vatican.
I would say that Dead Sea Scrolls was written in second century after 130 AD.
Till 130 AD, Aramaic was the spoken language of Jews. From 131 AD through the rise of Bar Kokhba and Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135 AD), the beginning process of reverting back to Hebrew occured. Although Aramaic was spoken by Jews from 131 AD to 135 AD, still they were encouraged to bring back Hebrew as their spoken language instead of Aramaic. This is because Hebrew is considered as the holy language of Jews.
After Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 AD, Jews continued to revert back to Hebrew. By the end of second century AD, Hebrew was a common spoken language among Jews.
Famous Israeli Archaeologist Yigael Yadin who received Ph.D for his researches on Dead Sea Scrolls noticed this shift from Aramaic to Hebrew through his researches. In "Bar Kokhba: The rediscovery of the legendary hero of the last Jewish Revolt Against Imperial Rome" Yigael Yadin notes, "It is interesting that the earlier documents are in Aramaic while the later ones are in Hebrew. Possibly the change was made by a special decree of Bar-Kokhba who wanted to restore Hebrew as the official language of the state" (page 181).
One of the surviving letters from the time of Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135 AD) is Simon Bar Kokhba's letter to Yehonathan Bar Be'aya in Aramaic.
Some information about a Bar Kokhba coin and Bar Kokhba's letter to Yehonathan Bar Be'aya is available in this link.
"Bar Kokhba" means Son of a star in Aramaic. In this coin (above link), you will read this Aramaic inscription - SHMOWN NSYA YSRAL.
"NSYA" is Aramaic. If I write NSYA (also written as Nasya) in Hebrew, then it will become "Ha Nasi."