ANSWERS: 4
  • Both Aramaic and Latin were used in The Passion of the Christ. They're both dead languages, so English subtitles were added so audiences would know what was being said. In case you're wondering, the Romans spoke Latin and pretty much everyone else spoke Aramaic. Hope this helps :D
  • Just to follow on, yes the 2 languages are Latin and Aramaic, and they are both 'dead'. This doesn't mean that they're not used today, just that they have stopped evolving, so there is no word in Latin for 'computer', but it is still used today, so not everyone will need the subtitles. The RC church still writes in Latin at the Vatican, and it is still spoken (although more rarely today than 30 years ago) in the Vatican corridors. As for the Romans speaking Latin... Latin was more commonly used as a written language, which is why it is so prevalent in many modern languages. When the Normans invaded Britain in 1066, they forced the natural language (English/Anglo-Saxon) out and had everyone speak French, but write Latin. If the speaking was formal - such as in court, in the police station, before a magistrate etc. then Latin was spoken. It wasn't until the French reclaimed France from the Normans, thus seperating the Normans in Britain, that English as we know it today was born. The nobles (Normans) were forced to marry British wives who subsequently taught the new babies both French and English, and Latin to write. Over time this became a single spoken and written language (thanks to Chaucer and Shakespeare) ... English. The Roman Empire model was pretty much the same... official meetings spoken and written in Latin, with the 'everyday' (or vulgar tongue) language being the occupied land's original language. In the time and area of Jesus, the spoken language was Aramaic, even among the Romans, but Latin was spoken at official functions and trials, and was used for official writings.
  • A slight correction of the other entries for this question: Aramaic is not a dead language. There are still Aramaic speakers in various dialects, predominantly in Syria, but scattered around the region as well. Most, I believe, speak dialects in the Syriac branch.
  • The Passion of the Christ. There were four languages spoken and written in Palestine during the first century CE: Aramaic was the language used by Yeshua and throughout Palestine by the other Jews. This appears frequently in the movie's sound track. Nobody speaks that language today. A language consultant was hired to attempt to reconstruct the spoken language as it may have sounded in ancient times. One dialect of Aramaic, called Syriac, is still spoken today by some Jews and Christians in the Middle East. There are an estimated 250,000 Chaldean and Assyrian Christians in the United States whose previous generations frequently spoke in Syriac. However the use of the language is gradually dying out. With the massive exodus of Christians from the Middle East in recent decades, emigrants often learn the language of their adopted country and no longer speak Syriac. "Street Latin" was the language used by the Roman occupying army. It also appears in the movie. Greek was very widely used in ancient Palestine. It was the one language that many people held in common and facilitated people speaking to others outside their group. It would probably have been the language of choice for communications between the Romans and Jews. However, it was not heard in the movie. The film's official web site states that "Greek, which was commonly spoken among the intellectuals of the period, was not quite as relevant to the story." Hebrew was the original spoken and written language of the ancient Israelites. It was an almost dead language by the first century CE. It rarely appears in the movie.

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