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Pope, Netanyahu disagree over Jesus’s native tongue

Published time: May 27, 2014 01:50
Edited time: May 28, 2014 19:11
Pope Francis (R) meets Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem May 26, 2014 (Reuters / Alex Kolomoisky)

Pope Francis (R) meets Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem May 26, 2014 (Reuters / Alex Kolomoisky)

Pope Francis was caught in an argument with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday over the language Jesus Christ spoke.

On the last day of his trip to the Middle East the pontiff met with Netanyahu at a public event in Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.

During his comments about a strong connection between Judaism and Christianity and tolerance towards Christians in Israel, Netanyahu told the Francis: "Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew."

"Aramaic," the pontiff interjected.

"He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew," Netanyahu shot back.

The difference of opinion reignites a historic debate about the language Jesus spoke two millennia ago.

"Jesus was a native Aramaic speaker," Israeli linguistics professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann told Reuters. "But he would have also known Hebrew because there were extant religious writings in Hebrew."

Aramaic is closely related to Hebrew and was widely spoken across the ancient Middle East. Today it is mostly defunct and is used only by small isolated communities.

On Monday Pope Francis concluded his three day visit to the Middle East. In efforts to encourage the stalled peace process he invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican next month.

Comments (75)


Dot 29.05.2014 20:09

Netanyahoo was just playing pointless games. He no more believes in Jesus than he does in Santa Clause.


Jesus is going to win 29.05.2014 09:24

Jesus, who was a Hebrew, spoke both Hebrew and Aramaic as recorded in the scriptures. At least Bergoglio didn't say that He spoke Latin. I don't see why there is an argument or debate over this. We continue to "Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." instead of keeping God's commandments and getting ourselves right with Him before His very soon return.


Kaelem 29.05.2014 03:30

PEACE DREAD 28.05.2014 16:17

Read my policy for world peace and like, comment and share with your friends to do your bit for peace!


As long as sin persists there will never be true peace. Man will always look for his own desires and some of those desires will come in conflict with other people's needs or belongings, resulting in fights of interests. In other words, don't expect true peace until Christ returns and eradicates sin completely. In the mean time we should learn to love our enemy and our neighbor and fight(Wars) injustice wherever it may appear. Wars are needed to fight evil.

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