- lat'-in: Was the official language of the Roman Empire as Greek was that of commerce. In Palestine Aramaic was the vernacular in the rural districts and remoter towns, while in the leading towns both Greek and Aramaic were spoken. These facts furnish the explanation of the use of all three tongues in the inscription on the cross of Christ (Mt 27:37
; Mk 15:26
; Lk 23:38
; Jn 19:19
). Thus the charge was written in the legal language, and was technically regular as well as recognizable by all classes of the people. The term "Latin" occurs in the New Testament only in Jn 19:20
, Rhomaisti, and in Lk 23:38
, Rhomaikois (grammasin), according to Codices Sinaiticus, A, D, and N. It is probable that Tertullus made his plea against Paul before Felix (Acts 24
) in Latin, though Greek was allowed in such provincial courts by grace of the judge. It is probable also that Paul knew and spoke Latin; compare W.M. Ramsay, Pauline and Other Studies, 1906, 65, and A. Souter, "Did Paul Speak Latin?" The Expositor, April, 1911. The vernacular Latin had its own history and development with great influence on the ecclesiastical terminology of the West. See W
. Bury, "The Holy Latin Tongue," Dublin Review, April, 1906, and Ronsch, Itala und Vulgata, 1874, 480 f. There is no doubt of the mutual influence of Greek and Latin on each other in the later centuries. See W
. Schulze, Graeca Latina, 1891; Viereck, Sermo Graecus, 1888.
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 Lk 12:58). A lead tablet in Amorgus has krino to dikaion (compare Lk 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 Rom 16), as is natural if his Gospel were indeed written in Rome.
See also LATIN VERSION, THE OLD.
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