An English Bible translation which attributes it as Hebrew:

John 19:17, KJV: And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

As Aramaic:

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.

Both interprations could not be correct, and the greek seems to imply the author was attributing the word as Hebrew. Which is correct and why?


1 Answer 1


In the Greek Septuagint the word Σῠριστί (Syristi, viz. "Syriac") is used to indicate Aramaic (e.g. 4 Kingdoms/2 Kings 18:26, Isaiah 36:11, Daniel 2:4). I don't believe the word appears anywhere in the New Testament.

A different Greek word is used to mean "Hebrew": Ἑβραϊστί (Ebraisti).

The word in John 19:17 is the latter, Ἑβραϊστί ("Hebrew"), and not Σῠριστί ("Aramaic").

Either the word Σῠριστί fell completely out of usage by the time of the New Testament, which seems unlikely; or perhaps the words quoted are so related the ESV translators felt it made no difference.

  • It would seem then that John was in-correct. As Golgotha is a Aramaic translation, not Hebrew.
    – taylor
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 21:49
  • @taylor, what is the Hebrew version of "Golgotha"?
    – user15733
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 21:51
  • While Im not going to say I have the authority to definitively say it is in-correct, the articles I have read say that the greek was an aramaic transliteration, not hebrew. The Hebrew is Gulgoleth. Aramaic is Gulgaltha.
    – taylor
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 21:59

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