USU 1320: History and Civilization
©Damen, 2013
A Guide To Writing in History and Classics
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By the first century of the Common Era, the Greeks were a well-established presence in the Holy Lands. This was because Alexander the Great had conquered the area in the 320's BCE and left behind Greek warlords who ruled after his death. Until the coming of the Romans two centuries later, a succession of Greek generals dominated Palestine, which allowed Greek culture and language to do the same, especially in matters of business, government and foreign relations, just as English has become the language of international trade and science today.

In any case, it's unlikely Jesus spoke Greek, since he would have had little opportunity or reason to learn the language. Even though speakers of Greek lived throughout the East in his day, they belonged for the most part to the elite: kings, officials, lawyers, rich men, traders and anyone who needed to conduct business outside their local community. But as a native of Palestine and—if the record is correct, the son of a carpenter—there would have been little call for Jesus to speak Greek.

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