TRYING TO SAVE THE LANGUAGE OF JESUS
Russian Times Online, 1/28/13, “Scientists strive to save dying spoken language of Jesus” [Excerpts]: British scientists are attempting to preserve the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and tied to Hebrew and Arabic.
Professor of linguistics at the University of Cambridge, Geoffrey Khan, has begun a quest to record the ancient language that’s been around for three thousand years before it finally disappears.
Prof Khan decided to record the language after speaking to a Jew from Erbil in northern Iraq. “It completely blew my mind,” Khan told Smithsonian.com.
“To discover a living language through the lips of a living person, it was just incredibly exhilarating,” he added.
By recording some of the remaining native Aramaic speakers, the linguist hopes to preserve the 3,000-year-old language on the verge of extinction. Speakers can be found in different parts of the world, from America to Iraq.
Over the past twenty years Prof. Khan has published several important books on the previously undocumented dialects of Barwar, Qaraqosh, Erbil, Sulemaniyya and Halabja, all areas in Iraq, as well as Urmi and Sanandaj, in Iran. He is also working on a web-based database of text and audio recordings that allows word-by-word comparisons across dozens of Aramaic dialects, Smithsonian.com reported.
Aramaic which belongs to the Semitic family of languages is known for its use in large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra. It is also the main language of Rabbinic Judaism’s key text, the Talmud. Parts of the ancient Dead Sea scrolls were written in Aramaic
The language was used in Israel from 539 BC to 70 AD. According to linguists it was most likely spoken by Jesus.
THE PA: BREEDING GROUND FOR TERROR
Front Page Mag, 1/28/13, “The Palestinian Authority: A Continuing Breeding Ground For Terror” [Excerpts]: Except for rockets from Gaza—which, meanwhile, have stopped since Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in November—you haven’t been hearing much about Palestinian terrorism. But it’s not for lack of trying.
Israel’s Shin Bet (domestic security agency) has released its figures for 2012. It says it thwarted 100 “serious” terror attacks over the year, a third of them planned kidnappings, four of them attempted suicide bombings. The Shin Bet also arrested 2,300 terror suspects in 2012, leading to 2,170 indictments.
For the first time in four decades, no Israelis were killed in terror attacks in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in 2012. But the number of attacks there rose sharply, from 320 in 2011 to 578 in 2012.
These are big numbers—100 attempted serious attacks, over 2,000 suspects arrested, 578 attacks in one year in the West Bank. Considering that perhaps two million (the figure is disputed) Palestinians live in the West Bank, it would justify calling it a terror entity. As for Gaza, it numbers about 1.5 million Palestinians and fired 2,327 rockets into Israel during the year, finally necessitating Pillar of Defense.
As for the US, Congress has been withholding $450 million in aid. The Obama administration wants it to free up the money, but Congress keeps refusing.
Results for the PA: its 150,000 employees got only half their November salaries and nothing for December; it owes over $1.3 billion to local banks; it expects its poverty rate to double.
Israel’s and Congress’s insistence on exacting a price for Abbas’s November move is a welcome development; it lets the PA know that it is no longer outside the normal human cost-benefit calculus, with Israel indefinitely propping it up and the US continuing to funnel it political and financial support no matter how it conducts itself.
Add to the picture the fact that, after almost two decades of existence, the PA—and not only Hamas-ruled Gaza—remains a breeding ground for terror, with only the Israeli security forces preventing it from taking a horrific toll, and there is all the more reason to reconsider automatic backing for “the Palestinians.”
While the Obama administration, for its part, remains committed to the idea that upgrading the Palestinians to statehood is somehow a US interest, and Israel is constrained by the effort to get along with the Obama administration, it’s to be hoped that Congress will keep taking a hard look at the Palestinian reality after all the earnest effort to cultivate them as a positive force.
WHY MORMONS DO BETTER YOUTH MINISTRY
The Christian Post, 1/26/13, “Why Mormons Do Better Youth Ministry Than We Do” [Excerpts]: Let’s face it. Most of us look at the clean cut Mormon missionaries that peddle the streets of our city and knock on the doors of our houses as somewhat out of date. Although they are kind and well spoken young men, when they knock on our doors we either don’t answer or tell them we are already Christians who reject Mormonism and bid them good day. We think to ourselves how “behind the times” these young people are forced to be when they are required to do door-to-door evangelism for their religion. We reflect on how grateful we are that we have the truth once and for all delivered to the saints. We may even think about how much more superior our youth ministry strategies are compared to theirs.
Or are they?
Maybe that’s why we don’t meet a lot of ex-Mormons, while there are hundreds of thousands of former church attendees in the true church of Jesus Christ (of everyday saints) who flee the church after graduating from high school.
When many of our teens graduate from high school, they grab their books and a beer and go off to the college dorm (A.K.A. “The Party Zone”). When Mormon teens graduate from high school they grab a backpack and a bike pump and go off on a mission.
They know what they believe and why they believe it. They’ve hammered out their theology on our doorsteps. Their souls and minds have been steeled and sealed into Mormon orthodoxy through their fanatical commitment to the accomplishment of their version of the Great Commission.
Meanwhile we compress most of our mission work into one week in Mexico once every year or two. And even that is comprised mostly of building houses, not necessarily advancing the kingdom of God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.