Understanding What Jesus Was Trying to Say


Photo above: This past Sunday we celebrated our Church Slava, Patron Saint Day 0f St. George the Victory-bearer. It was a beautiful day. You can see more photos here.

Recently, Fr. Josephn Honeycutt mentioned a new book on his blog (here), “Taught by God: Making Sense of the Difficult Saying of Jesus”. It looks interesting. Below is a short excerpt from the Amazon preview page:

“A story is related in the Jewish work of the Talmud that goes as such: A Galilean, for some reason or other, left his home town and traveled south to Jerusalem. As he walked through this boisterous city and took in its marketplace, something now lost in the pages of history, caught his eye. He walked up with no hesitation and frankly asked: “Sir, could I please buy an amar?” The merchant, looking quite puzzled with a sly smile beginning to dawn upon his lips, responded:

“You stupid Galilean, do you want something to ride on [donkey = hamar]? Or something to drink [wine = hamar]? Or something to sacrifice [lamb = immar]?”

The Galilean not understanding the merchants taunting words, promptly mentioned words in response of which it would be wholly improper to replicate here, and tread heavily away, back to Galilee, cursing Jerusalem with every step. What our poor friend did not know (or perhaps he did) was that the distinction of certain sounds almost vanished in the Galilean dialect of Aramaic, and as such clothing “amar’ sounded very much like a donkey, hamar. It was this dialect that identified Peter as he denied his Master three times: “And a litter later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you,” and in another place: “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” [….]”

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