Latin

LATIN. The language of the Romans and, in Palestine, used primarily by the Romans. The official superscription on the cross was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (John.19.20). The NT contains about twenty-five administrative and military Latin words translated into Greek.


LATIN (̔Ρωμαικός). This was the official language of the Rom. empire, and was used in such provinces as Judaea in official acts and Rom. courts. Greek was the language of commerce. In Pal. itself Aram. was the language spoken in the rural districts and more remote towns, while in the cities both Aram. and Gr. were used. That is why the inscr. on the cross of Christ was written in three languages (Matt 27:37; Luke 23:38 RSVmg.; John 19:20). The word “Latin” is found in the NT only twice (Luke 23:38 RSVmg.; John 19:20). There are about twenty-five Lat. words in the Gr. NT, and also a good number of Lat. proper names.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


It is doubtful if the Latin syntax is clearly perceptible in the koine (see Language of the New Testament).

Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, 117 f) finds ergasian didomi (operam dare) in an xyrhynchus papyrus letter of the vulgar type from 2nd century BC (compare Lu 12:58). A lead tablet in Amorgus has krino to dikaion (compare Lu 12:57). The papyri (2nd century AD) give sunairo logon (compare Mt 18:23 f). Moulton (Expositor, February, 1903, 115) shows that to hikanon poiein (satisfacere), is as old as Polybius. Even sumbouilion lambanien (concilium capere), may go with the rest like su opes (Mt 27:4), for videris (Thayer). Moulton (Prol., 21) and Thumb (Griechische Sprache, 121) consider the whole matter of syntactical Latinisms in the New Testament inconclusive. But see also C. Wessely, "Die lateinischen Elemente in der Gracitat d. agypt. Papyrusurkunden," Wien. Stud., 24; Laforcade. Influence du Latin sur le Grec. 83-158.

There are Latin words in the New Testament: In particular Latin proper names like Aquila, Cornelius, Claudia, Clemens, Crescens, Crispus, Fortunatus, Julia, Junia, etc., even among the Christians in the New Testament besides Agrippa, Augustus, Caesar, Claudius, Felix, Festus, Gallio, Julius, etc.

Besides we find in the New Testament current Latin commercial, financial, and official terms like assarion (as), denarion (denarius), kenturion (centurio), kenos (census), kodrantes (quadrans), kolonia (colonia), koustodia (custodia), legeon (legio), lention (linteum), libertinos (libertinus), litra (litra), makellon (macellum), membrana (membrana), milion (mille), modios (modius), xestes (sextarius), praitorion (praetorium), sikarios (sicarius), simikinthion (semicinctium), soudarion (sudarium), spekoulator (speculator), taberna (taberna), titlos (titulus), phelones (paenula), phoron (forum), phragellion (flagellum), phragelloo (flagello), chartes (charta?), choros (chorus).

Then we meet such adjectives as Herodianoi, Philippesioi, Christianoi, which are made after the Latin model. Mark’s Gospel shows more of these Latin words outside of proper names (compare Ro 16), as is natural if his Gospel were indeed written in Rome.

See also LATIN VERSION, THE OLD.

LITERATURE.

Besides the literature already mentioned see Schurer, Jewish People in the Time of Christ, Div II, volume I, 43 ff; Krauss, Griechische und lateinische Lehnworter im Talmud (1898, 1899); Hoole, Classical Element in the New Testament (1888); Jannaris, Historical Greek Grammar (1897); W. Schmid, Atticismus, etc. (1887-97); Kapp, Latinismis merito ac falso susceptis (1726); Georgi, De Latinismis N T (1733); Draeger, Historische Syntax der lat. Sprache (1878-81); Pfister, Vulgarlatein und Vulgargriechisch (Rh. Mus., 1912, 195-208).

A. T. Robertson