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B - 11 : Why are the Gospels written in Greek?

Under Alexander the Great, the Greek language spread quickly through his empire and became not only the language of the ruling class and officials but also the language of merchants and learnt people (330 BC).

Greek was the preferred language for writing. Almost all texts in the famous library of Alexandria were written in Greek. It was the lingua franca of the elite whilst Aramaic remained the lingua franca of ordinary people. Let’s not forget that only 10% of people lived in towns - 90% lived in the country side. But culture was shaped by town folks.

Apostle Pauls travels from 33 to 67 AD

Many Jews considered the small group of Christians being heretics and thus stayed away. Hence the followers of this new religion were mostly Gentiles who spoke Greek. Not surprisingly, Apostel Paul traveled several times to Anatolia and Greece to visit and encourage the nascent Christian communities. His exchange of letters testifies for his intense interest and his exchange of views he had with the Gentiles. They were all written in Greek.

Siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by four Roman Legions The Jewish rebellion in 66 AD changed the political and cultural landscape in the Middle East fundamentally. After the initial defeat of a Roman Legion, it escalated to full scale war and lasted to 73 AD when the mountain fortress Massada fell. During the war, the Romans systematically destroyed Jewish settlments, enslaved the surviving Jewish people and sold them off. By 70 AD, Jerusalem was levelled to the ground. It was a war of extermination. The centuries of Jewish diaspora began. Jewish culture & religion almost seized to exist.

Ancient Antioch - computer simulation During these ferocious years, when Jewish influence began to weaken, the center of gravity of the small group of Christians slowly moved north to Antioch, the Empire’s biggest city in the East. There, between 70 and 110 AD, the Greek speaking followers of the Apostels Peter, John, Mark and Mathew began writing down the stories of Jesus. These texts eventually became the four gospels - the core of the new testament. All written in Greek - the language of the early Christians. As we know today, there were actually more than four gospels but this is a topic for another piece

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