Forums Forums Spiritual Support Spiritual, Religious, Scriptural Prayers and Meditations "Our Father" in Jesus’s language of Aramaic

last updated by Jeannie 11 years ago
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    Pam B

    The New Testament bible was originally written in Greek and Hebrew, because that was the audience’s language that authors were writing for. However, Jesus spoke the language of Aramaic, his native tongue.

    According to most scholars, the first books of the NT were written beginning 50 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, but were translated into Greek and Hebrew. Of course, languages never translate perfectly, and something is always lost.

    There have been several attempts by scholars to translate the NT back to the original Aramaic, as it would have been spoken by Jesus in his day. Even though the first Aramaic translations did not appear until 200 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, they have the superiority of loosing less in the translation, and we hear more accurately how Jesus spoke.

    The following is a version of “The Lord’s Prayer” that is available on Ron Roth’s “The Healing Path of Prayer: A modern mystic’s guide to spiritual power”.

    Our Father,(Daddy or Pappa literally translated) who is everywhere in the universe,
    Your name is sacred.
    Your kingdom is come among us, your will is throughout the universe.
    You give us our needful bread, from day to day,
    and you forgive us our offences,
    even as we forgive our offenders.
    You do not let us enter into materialism or error,
    but you separate us from error.
    For yours is the kingdom, and the power,
    and the song
    from ages to ages.

    At first blush, it may seem very similar to the familiar “Our Father” that most of us have been taught. But if you look beyond the surface and consider the tone, and usage of words, you’ll notice that it speaks in an affirmative tone – not asking or begging God for what we need, but simply affirming that what we have, is exactly what we need. We already have every thing that we need – maybe not what we want – but everything that we need.


    Oh Pam, that is beautiful :) I especially like the song part, being a music lover…

    Thank you so much!
    Tammy ~ all choked up

    Pam B

    Isn’t it beautiful, and even more “natural”? No begging, no pleading, just “thanking” for what is already with us.

    The Father is everywhere – in the universe, not separated from us in an un-earthly place called “heaven.”

    We don’t wait for the kingdom, the kingdom is “come among us”, now, here. The Father’s will IS done, why would we ask the Father for His own will to be done? We have to pray for that? No…

    We don’t have to ask for daily bread – it’s around us, everywhere, for the taking. Mathew 6:7-9 says that “your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”

    And why in the world would we have to ask the Father not to lead us into temptation? Why would God be the one to lead us into temptation away from Him? How silly when you think about it, but we’ve repeated it over and over for generations! If we’re led into temptation, or sin, or wrongful acts, it’s certainly not God leading us into it, so why should we ask “lead us not…”.

    And I agree with you Tammy, about the use of the word “song.” Glory tranlates to “song” – a praising, not a glory-victory march down Main street. A song to be sung, a joyful sound of gratitude.

    This prayer is an affirmation, not a plea.


    Yes, it fits my idea of God very eloquently.
    And good point, God doesn’t lead us into temptation…we let ourselves be taken in with our lusts < or not >. The power to do as we choose came from him, but that doesn’t give us leeway to blame him for those choices or ask him to choose for us.

    And being the good Father, he has warned us about giving into temptations, and moderation…

    I feel another book purchase coming on :lwink: I could almost open my own library.

    *wonders if I could get Fairie to work here LOL*



    Thanks, Pam! How many times have I said that today??



    I had read one of Edgar Cayce’s books, that also spoke of how the real words had been mistranslated(if there is such a word).
    One of the things Edgar hit on was being in the present and speaking in the present when praying it. This is beautiful..thank you , Pam.


    That is so beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing it with us.


    What a wonderful translation — and message!:musicnote



    Even though this is an older thread, Pam thank you for sharing this, it always seems that the things that are on the top of my unspoken mind always somehow come up in the physical world.

    I actually heard this version once in a religious studies class and it was fascinating to hear the difference.

    Speaking of linguisitc interpretation, one of the most interesting language changes I heard of was in that class. I was fascinated at how Jesus’ name changed after the Gospels were recorded in Greek. When he was alive he would have answered to Yeshua – which is Hebrew for Joshua. Centuries after he passed and the Gospels were recorded in Greek, his name was some how translated into Greek, and thus thereafter he would be forever known as Jesus.

    So that is my random fact for today.



    Yes, Pam you have hit the nail right on the head:handofgod
    Of coarse there is a God and Jesus, but many teachings have been turned upside down through the ages and perhaps to serve men only and not the true nature of things. The universe with all it’s glory have many secrets for us to learn.

    Many people are honourable toward their faith, but with their faith they can also be blinded. We all are here for a purpose and many of us know that, to learn, to grow, love each other, a higher purpose is planned for all of us.

    :crowd: We are all family growing toward that purpose, some roads are rocky but we eventually get there.


    Pam B

    Part of my own spiritual search has been trying to learn as much as possible about “the real Jesus” or the original Jesus, before the error of translation.

    If I could, I would stand in his shoes to understand what his world was like, and what his culture and language was while he was growing up. I want to understand what his Jewish teachers taught, and what the politics were at the time. I’m also interested in learning whether or not Jesus was schooled in the teachings of Kabala, which would have been a mysterty teaching handed down verbally, and not written down at that time in history.

    I followed up on the source that Ron Roth sites above, Neil Douglas-Klotz, who is an independant scholar of religious studies, spirituality, and psychology. Synchronicity being what it is ;) my mother in law came to visit around that time and brought with her two books by this man. One was an audio book, that included the actual pronounciation in Aramaic of the prayer above, and other aramaic prayers that Jesus would have been taught as a child.

    Douglas-Klotz teaches that the Aramaic language is so rich, and the words so full of multiple meaning, that there is no way that someone’s words could be translated into another language. The context becomes more important than the words themselves. The whole is greater than the sum. Especially interesting to students of meditation is his discusson of what the word “breath” means in Aramaic. It actually means many things, but it also means the very essence of God or Holy Spirit.

    I suggest the audio book “The Hidden Gospels”The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus for anyone who seeks more insight into Jesus and what his perceptions of the world might have been, or would like to understand the nuances of how the translations may be illuminated by understanding the Aramaic langauge more fully. It’s layman level stuff, more spiritual, and not academic :)


    Very interesting! Thanks for all the valuable information in this great thread! :thumbsup:

    Pam B

    Found this news item on the web:

    Congregation learning Aramaic

    Associated Press Writer

    SAN ANTONIO – Worshippers at a church here may not be ready to shun the subtitles for the film “The Passion of the Christ,” but the language used in Mel Gibson’s new movie is no longer totally foreign to them.

    The congregation at University Presbyterian Church has spent the Lenten season learning to sing the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, the ancient Middle Eastern language spoken by Jesus.

    Some members say the experience has been enlightening. But it has at times been uncomfortable because the words don’t carry the same meanings as they did in Bibles that were translated from Aramaic to Greek and later to English.

    For instance, when translated directly from Aramaic, the familiar opening line “Our Father who art in Heaven” is actually “Our Father in the universe.”

    “Most of us thought of God as being up in heaven and thought in terms of personifying the deity,” said parishioner Larry Adamson. “But when I hear it in Aramaic, it’s not ‘Father in heaven.’ It’s the sense of God being all around us.”

    Christian Carpenter, who sings in the church’s choir, said he resisted the many subtle linguistic differences at first.

    “The meaning of the words is an eye-opener – it challenged my beliefs,” he said. “At first, I was like, ‘Oh, come on …’ but after five weeks of learning the words, it makes me want to learn more.”

    Frank Stribling, a retired San Antonio pastor who for decades used a Bible translated directly from Aramaic, said the notion of heaven is also different in Aramaic.

    “To Christians it means a place … that’s where the God with the long white beard shows up,” he said. “In Aramaic, it means harmony. It means a state of mind.”

    He also pointed to the English line “And lead us not into temptation,” which from Aramaic would be translated as “And do not let us enter into worldliness,” meaning physical lust. The difference in interpretation, he says, is an important one.

    “It’s a wonderful thing to know that the creator does not tempt man,” said Stribling, who two years ago stepped down from the pulpit of his independent Christian church after 60 years. “To me, that’s very enlightening.”

    Aramaic, which dates back about 3,000 years, is a Semitic sister tongue of both Hebrew and Arabic and was once the major language spoken from Egypt to Pakistan. Jesus’ earliest disciples used it to spread Christianity throughout the region.

    The language has come to prominence of late because Gibson used it extensively, with English subtitles, in his controversial film about Christ’s crucificion.

    Elizabeth McGregor Simmons, pastor at University Presbyterian, said her inspiration to bring Aramaic to her congregation came not from Gibson’s endeavor, but rather from a recording of Christ-era music by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble.

    Since late February, every Sunday at the church has been like a theatrical cast getting ready for its Easter performance: talk about the prayer, repeat the prayer, try to sing the prayer.

    Simmons says the process of temporarily setting aside the familiar King James version of the Lord’s Prayer has made for some discomfort.

    “Some Sundays I was as nervous as I’ve ever been in 25 years of preaching,” she said.

    The ensemble, a seven-member group that focuses on historic music, got interested in Aramaic back in the 1970s and spent months learning enough for its recent CD “Ancient Echoes.”

    “Even though we were working on this for a couple years, the release of the Mel Gibson movie seems to have notched up interest in Aramaic by like 1,000 percent,” said group co-founder Covita Moroney, who has been helping University Presbyterian with the language project.

    Moroney and her husband, Christopher, also her musical collaborator, have played at the church’s services using Christ-era instruments like the ud, a precursor of the lute, and the doumbek, a drum played mostly with the fingertips.
    From the Loredo Morning Times

    Pam B

    Aramaic has gained new prominence with `Passion’ movie

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    MA’ALOULA, Syria – (KRT) – Completing a tour of his 1,700-year-old church, with its ancient altar, precious icons and wooden beams that have stood for nearly two millennia, the Rev. Toufic Eid stopped, closed his eyes and recited the Lord’s Prayer.

    His handful of visitors speak English, Arabic, Italian and Norwegian. But the language Eid used for the prayer was Aramaic – the language of Christ.

    “Abunah ti bishmo,” he said. “Our Father who art in heaven.”

    Aramaic, long the preserve of scholars and theologians, is making something of a popular return, thanks to the hugely successful (and hugely controversial) Mel Gibson epic “The Passion of the Christ.” Gibson’s characters speak Aramaic and Latin on-screen.

    But in Ma’aloula, a town of 5,000 tucked into the mountains about 35 miles northeast of Damascus, and in two other villages nearby, the locals have been speaking Aramaic for 25 centuries. They have preserved it in their rocky enclave as invasions, conquests and a long parade of cultures have come and gone.

    “Ma’aloula is an Aramaic name. It means the path between two mountains,” said Sami George Senger as he tended a small concession stand serving tourists and pilgrims. He offered up a “how are you?” in the local tongue.

    A few feet beyond Senger’s stand, the mountain opens up in a cleft that winds into the hills. Now a place for trysts and graffiti-writers, local legend has it that the mountain parted to save Saint Tekla, a first-century convert to Christianity, from her Roman pursuers. She is buried in a convent nearby.

    Aramaic, believed to date from the 11th century B.C., was once the common tongue across the Middle East and would have been the language Jesus spoke.

    It was displaced, first in some places by Greek, and then in the seventh century by Arabic, which, like Aramaic and Hebrew, is a Semitic language.

    But pockets survived in places such as Ma’aloula, where a dialect known as Western Aramaic is spoken, and in small Christian communities in Iraq, Turkey and Iran, where the dialect is known to scholars as Eastern Aramaic. The Chaldeans of Iraq, who have a large community in the Detroit area, use Aramaic as the language of the Bible, their prayers and their native villages, while using English or Arabic for everyday communication.

    The Syrian town of Ma’aloula, which is mostly Christian, looks as if it had been stuffed into a fold in the mountains. Houses cascade down the mountainside, tucked into every conceivable cranny. Sheer cliffs rise beyond, hiding ancient caves. Dust swirls in the streets when cars and trucks pass by.

    The people of the town are proud of their multicultural heritage. Several said they had heard of Gibson’s movie, which was to debut in Syria in mid-March. They were a little put out that they weren’t involved in the movie-making.

    “Nobody came here,” Eid said.

    The man who translated the dialogue into Aramaic and Latin for “The Passion” is the Rev. William J. Fulco, a professor of ancient Mediterranean studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

    Fulco was in Jerusalem, he said, when Gibson called to ask for his help.

    “Hey, Padre. It’s Mel!” the voice on the other end of the phone said. “I said, `Mel who?” Fulco recalled.

    Gibson, a conservative Catholic, wanted the movie done in the languages Jesus and the Romans would have spoken.

    Fulco had to try to reconstruct Aramaic as it would have been spoken then. “Nobody knows what that’s like,” he said.

    The language spoken in Ma’aloula today is not the same as Jesus used, Fulco said. He pointed out how much Italian has evolved from Latin or modern-day English from that in Chaucer’s time, just 600 years ago.

    The movie, which had grossed almost $300 million as of last weekend, “has given attention to this language, which was disappearing,” Fulco said. “It’s given it a whole new prominence.”

    That prominence could be short-lived. Despite efforts to preserve Aramaic as a living language, it’s at risk of disappearing as anything but a subject of study.

    Townspeople in Ma’aloula often speak Arabic in public, saving Aramaic for at home.

    Eid, the superior at the Monastery of Saints Serge and Bacchus, said Syria’s youngish president, Bashar Assad, has taken an interest in the issue. And the regional government recently decided to create an Institute of Aramaic in Ma’aloula and has purchased a parcel of land.

    “It will survive because we still have people in Ma’aloula who speak the language – not because of academic effort,” said Eid, who’s from neighboring Lebanon. “If it becomes an academic language, it will die.”

    But others, including Fulco, say modern-day Aramaic is likely to die out in a few more decades, as globalization and international culture reach even the mountains of Syria.

    A 2002 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization warned that up to half of the world’s 6,000-plus languages are in danger of disappearing.

    Aramaic “will be a language that people study, but don’t speak,” Fulco said.

    Which would be a shame. Syrians hold up Aramaic as an example of how different cultures and religions – Arab and Kurd; Sunni Muslim, Christian, Alawi and Druze – have coexisted in their tolerant and largely secular society.

    It also played a pivotal role in Western and Eastern history.

    “The history of Aramaic represents the purest triumph of the human spirit as embodied in language … over the crude display of material power,” scholar Franz Rosenthal, who died last year, wrote in 1978 in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies. “Great empires were conquered by the Aramaic language, and when they disappeared and were submerged in the flow of history, that language persisted and continued to live a life of its own.”

    Aramaic at a glance:

    The Aramaic language is believed to be about 3,000 years old and was for many centuries the common tongue of the Middle East, while other languages, such as Hebrew, were retained for liturgy and scholarship. It is related, in some cases distantly, to other Semitic languages, including Arabic, Hebrew Punic and Assyrian.

    Today, dialects of Aramaic are spoken in small, mostly Christian communities in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. The modern language is much changed since Jesus’ time, bearing roughly the same resemblance that modern Greek or Arabic have to classical Greek or Arabic, said the Rev. William J. Fulco, professor of ancient Mediterranean studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

    Aramaic in Ma’aloula is spoken, not written, although efforts have been made to revive a written form. “The grammar is simple, but the mode of expression is quite different from an Indo-European way of thinking,” Fulco said.

    From Bradenton, FL


    Pam – my belated thanks for posting the transalation from the Aramaic. Shortly after joining the board, I found this thread and began using this version of the prayer to begin my prayers each morning and night. When I returned to a prayerful life, I had been using the one I had been taught as a child, but I wasn’t particularly comforbable with it. This version, for me, fits much more closely to my spiritual view of God, God’s place in the universe and my own place in both the physical and spiritual.

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