Erga-Logoi (Jul 2021)

Cristianesimo delle origini e politica linguistica

  • Alberto Barzanò

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 1
pp. 133 – 166


Read online

The Roman world was a multilingual community. Aiming on one side to ensure effective communication (as Latin was not so widely known and spoken) but not to encourage nationalistic revivals on the other, Romans choose Greek as an additional official language. Indeed, Greek, by then already deprived of any national character, was already used as a ‘lingua franca’ in the eastern Mediterranean. Despite Jewish tendency to refer to Hebrew as a mark of national and religious identity, early Christianity adopted (and maintained until the second half of the II century) Greek as its own language. This choice was not only due to practical considerations related to communication needs, but also to more ‘political’ reasons, and therefore it must be framed in the more general friendly approach to the Roman empire which was always taught during his life by Jesus and was practiced by him even in front of Pilate.