The Multilingual Jesus and the Sociolinguistic World of the New Testament

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In The Multilingual Jesus and the Sociolinguistic World of the New Testament, Hughson Ong provides a study of the multifarious social and linguistic dynamics that compose the speech community of ancient Palestine, which include its historical linguistic shifts under different military regimes, its geographical linguistic landscape, the social functions of the languages in its linguistic repertoire, and the specific types of social contexts where those languages were used. Using a sociolinguistic model, his study attempts to paint a portrait of the sociolinguistic situation of ancient Palestine. This book is arguably the most comprehensive treatment of the subject matter to date in terms of its survey of the secondary literature and of its analysis of the sociolinguistic environment of first-century Palestine.

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Hughson T. Ong is Lecturer in New Testament and Assistant Managing Editor of McMaster Divinity College Press at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON, Canada. He has published numerous journal articles and book essays on various New Testament topics, including linguistics and sociolinguistics.
"The merit of this project lies nog only in its well-articulated methodology, but also Ong's lucid and cogent writing style. Those who are interested in the social dynamic of language in the ancient world in general and the historical Jesus in particular will find this book insightful and engaging."
Ekaputra Tupamahu, Vanderbilt University, Biblical Interpretation 25
Introduction: The Multilingualism of Ancient Palestine and of Jesus
1. The Languages of Ancient Palestine and of Jesus—Previous Discussion
Introduction
Linguistic Varieties and Their Status and Social Functions
The Greek Language of the New Testament
The Use of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin
Conclusion

2. Sociolinguistics and the New Testament
Introduction
Sociolinguistic Approaches to the New Testament—Previous Studies
A Sociolinguistic Approach to the Multilingualism of Ancient Palestine—New Proposal
Conclusion

3. The Sociolinguistic Landscape of Ancient Palestine
Introduction
Ancient Palestine as a Multilingual Speech Community
Language Contact, Language Maintenance and Shifts, Language Decline, and Language Death in Ancient Palestine
Dialect Geography, Language Boundary, and Isogloss with Reference to the Geography and Inhabitants of Ancient Palestine
Conclusion

4. The Sociolinguistic World of Jesus
Introduction
Dialect Geography, Language Boundary, and Isogloss with Reference to the Geography and Inhabitants of Ancient Palestine
The Social Network of Jesus
Jesus’ Multilingual Proficiency
Conclusion

5. Jesus’ Multilingualism in the Gospel of Matthew
Introduction
Variable Social Domains
Ethnography of Communication
Procedure for the Analysis of the Gospel of Matthew
Sociolinguistic Rules for the Language Selection in Ancient Palestine
Analysis of the Type of Language Use in the Gospel of Matthew
Conclusion

Conclusion: Final Remarks and Implications of This Study

Appendix 1: Map of Ancient Palestine
Appendix 2: The Social Network of Jesus with Reference to the Gospel of Matthew
Appendix 3: Procedural Flowchart of the Probable-Language Selection in a Speech Event or Situation
Appendix 4: Summary List of Speech Events of the Use of the Languages of Ancient Palestine with Reference to the Gospel of Matthew
Bibliography
Index of Ancient Sources
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Subjects
All interested in the languages and historical and social contexts of the New Testament, of ancient Palestine, and of Jesus, and anyone interested in linguistics and sociolinguistics.