Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traded words on Monday over the language spoken by Jesus two millennia ago.
"Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew," Netanyahu told Francis, at a public meeting in Jerusalem in which the Israeli leader cited a strong connection between Judaism and Christianity.
"Aramaic," the pope interjected.
"He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew," Netanyahu shot back.
We should compare it to today where many people speak their mothertongue and speak an other language for business matters and to be able to have a good conversation with others who speak a different language. As such many today speak English, Spanish or Mandarine to communicate with foreigners or business partners.
Jeshua was a palestinian Jew, from the Essene sect, who spoke Aramaic.
Israeli linguistics professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann told Reuters that both Netanyahu, son of a distinguished Jewish historian, and the pope, the spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, had a point.
"Jesus was a native Aramaic speaker,"he said about the largely defunct Semitic language closely related to Hebrew.
"But he would have also known Hebrew because there were extant religious writings in Hebrew."Zuckermann said that during Jesus' time, Hebrew was spoken by the lower classes - "the kind of people he ministered to"
But we should know that by those speaking Aramaic were also people who had studied and who had better positions in life and as such were not of the 'lower class'.
Additional reading > Pope, Netanyahu spar over Jesus' native language