Hey Guys. There is some stuff here on a possible rendering on what Jesus’ words said in the Aramaic might actually mean. Which is the project my book is centered around. understanding the message of jesus in the aramaic. let me know what your thoughts are:
Douglas-Klotz, Neil: PERMISSION TO SHINE
‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ MATTHEW 5:16, KING JAMES VERSION
When, or if, Jesus spoke these words, he would have said them in Aramaic, a language which – like Hebrew and Arabic – has a ‘root-and-pattern’ system of meaning that allows one to hear themes and connections between words, much as one would hear the themes and variations offered in Indian or jazz music. In this regard, a ‘word-for-word’ translation would not communicate even a fraction of the live ‘music’ present in the text. Nor would it convey the emphasis all Semetic languages have on a deep connection between self and self, self and nature, and self and the divine.
The following translation, drawn from an ancient Aramaic version of the Gospels called the Peshitta, uses words which may bring us closer to viewpoints that Jesus may have shared:
Let the light of your being,
the consciousness of knowing
your real Self,
radiate and illuminate
the human beings
you find before you,
as well as the
community of voices
you find within.
When they see and feel
your atmosphere of ripeness,
your ability to act
at the right time and place,
they will be reconnected in praise
to the song and harmony
of the Parent of All,
the nurturing Force
that re-creates the cosmos
unfolding a universe
of sound, vibration, and light.
The word for light in Aramaic (nuhra) means the illumination of what is unknown. Light and dark are not warring opposites as they are in Greek philosophy. For an ancient Aramaic or Hebrew speaker, the Creator brought forth both light (what is known) and darkness (what is unknown). The creation stories in the Hebrew bible describe an interplay between these two, essential parts of the ongoing, sacred, creative process of the universe. A Western way of thinking also presumes an inside-outside split not present in Hebrew or Aramaic, so we can also see light and dark as two aspects of our own consciousness. What we know in our being is the fullest sense of our self, the unifying element of the psyche that allows us to say ‘I am’. What we don’t yet know are the divine resources within us that we have yet to discover. All of the words usually translated ‘shine’ and ‘see’ are also directly related to nuhra.
The word translated ‘men’ by the King James version is the Aramaic nasha, which means ‘human beings’ (male and female) or a particular aspect of being human – the instability of our enfleshed life and its susceptibility to change. The fragility of life was probably one of the first conscious awarenesses of human beings, as they began to recognize themselves as separate from their natural surroundings. It was the source of ‘I-ness’ as opposed to ‘we-ness’. The word for ‘good’ in Aramaic is tub, which means ripe – indicating action at the right time and place. The words for ‘father’ (abba) and ‘heaven’ (shemaya) indicate, from an Aramaic viewpoint, a process as much as a being. This process of cosmic, divine creation started ‘in the Beginning’ and continues through the present moment. The word for ‘glorify’ (from the root word shabah) reveals a sense of praise together with song. Praising knits our voices back into the universal harmony. The word shabah is related to the ancient Hebrew word that became the source of the word ‘Sabbath’, a day for remembering our connection to the whole of creation.
Hearing this blessing of permission with Aramaic ears, we find Yeshua showing what happens when the light of our being – a tangible sense of our personal ‘I am’ connects to the sacred ‘I Am’ and allows itself to shine. First, we bless those around us by reminding them subconsciously that there is a greater reality to which we are all connected. Second, we bless our own inner self, the inner community of voices called the naphsha in Aramaic (similar to nephesh in Hebrew and nafs in Arabic). Often this part of our being feels the weakness and fragility of human life. When we allow the nuhra of our connection to the divine to pour through us, we also allow these voices ‘in the shadow’ to be illuminated and feel a more expanded, connected sense of divine Self. The individual ‘I am’ comes into contact with the divine ‘I Am’.
A Body Prayer: Invocation of the Light
With one hand lightly over the chest, slowly intone the Aramaic word for light, NUH-RA. Place one hand gently over your heart and allow the sound to begin there. As you intone the word, feel your connection to the sacred in this moment. Then, after a few breaths, embrace the fullest awareness that you feel of the inner community of voices in your psyche. Imagine a safe place within where more aspects of yourself are welcome to gather. Let nuhra shine there with respect, welcome and confidence.
During the day, try breathing with the sound and feeling of nuhra in your interactions with others. At the end of the day, intone the word a few more times with thankfulness, feeling your voice as part of the cosmic harmony of sound. ‘Allow the sacred light of your being to illuminate all of your communities, inside and out.’
From Blessings of the Cosmos, © 2006 by Neil Douglas-Klotz, published in the USA by Sounds True.