There are llamas and alpacas everywhere in Peru. Contrary to what people may think, they are very docile creatures and their infamous bouts of spitting are apparently quite rare. More to the point, both animals produce high-quality wool, which I can attest to: The bedspread I bought in Peru on this trip is still as soft as ever.
When the world gets closer, we help you see farther
Welcome to Tuesday, where Putin declares victory in Luhansk, a 22-year-old man is arrested in connection with the July 4 Parade shooting that killed six north of Chicago, and New Zealand is batting for equal pay. Meanwhile, from Dijon mustard to potatoes by way of pasta, we look at food shortages around the world.
[*Namaste - Gujarati, India]
What Jesus really said: Fixing the mistranslations that have shaped Christianity
Jesus spoke Aramaic, but the Bible has been translated from Greek. Many mistaken translations of the Gospels have skewed the development of Christianity — and the course of history. It's time to let the Bible be retranslated to let its true message be known, writes Franz Alt for Die Welt.
Jesus spoke Aramaic. It was his mother tongue and 2,000 years ago it was the main language throughout the Middle East. The New Testament, however, is translated from Greek into all the languages of the world. Aramaic expert and theologian Günther Schwarz (who died in 2009) was dissatisfied with the classical translation and studied Aramaic every day for 50 years in order to better understand Jesus in his native language. In doing so, he came to the realization that about half of all Jesus' words in the gospels were mistranslated or even deliberately falsified.
His shocking conclusion: “What Christians believe, Jesus did not teach! And what Jesus taught — the Christians do not know.” The theologian has written 20 books and around 100 scientific articles about Jesus and Aramaic. He sent his findings to all German-speaking bishops. Response: zero.
So, as a journalist, I want to use my Jesus books to educate people about Günther Schwarz's findings.
When I read a book by Günther Schwarz for the first time in 2010, I too was skeptical. But in the end, the subject gripped me so much that in two years, I read everything that the world-renowned Aramaic expert wrote about the original Jesus. And I found a new, fascinating and very contemporary image of Jesus. Nothing is as hard as letting go of a lifetime of practiced beliefs.
Are the Gospels really full of fake news? Does the best-seller of all best-sellers, the Bible, have to be rewritten? True enough, if the words are wrong, the entire message is wrong. Is this perhaps the real cause of the current dramatic wave of departures from the two major churches? There have been declining numbers of adherents to Catholicism and Protestantism over the last few decades, and the Federal Statistical Office has calculated that this will continue for both denominations.
Even Cardinal Reinhard Marx, when offering his resignation to the Pope, says his Catholic Church has reached a “dead end”. The real reason for fleeing the Church is spiritual and religious. Church and society have become more and more alienated. I wonder why? In fact, the churches that actually exist have dried up spiritually.
Exemplary of flight from the church is a statement given by the cabaret artist Carolin Kebekus, who has since left her church. She was asked, "Do you also know something funny in the Bible?" Her answer: "Yes, a virgin who gave birth to several children."
This riddle is easy to solve with the help of Aramaic. In Jesus' native language there is no word for "biological virgin" at all. In Aramaic, it simply means "young woman". Sounds simple, but it immediately becomes a problem when you consider that one of the leading and most popular Catholic theologians, Eugen Drewermann, had his teaching license revoked because he would not believe in the virginity of Jesus' mother. Similarly, Hans Küng was disbarred because he could not believe in the "infallibility" of the Pope.
The translation problem becomes more difficult in other passages in the Bible. In Matthew 10:34, one finds the terrible sentence, which is said to have come from Jesus: "For I came not to bring peace, but a sword." Is that what the pacifist of the Sermon on the Mount is supposed to have said? Jesus – a warmonger, really?
Translated from Aramaic, this line by Jesus means, "I have not come to spread harmony, but to settle disputes." This is much more fitting for the belligerent pacifist from Nazareth, but it is the opposite of what is written in Bibles around the world and with which church leaders have justified "Holy Wars" or "Just Wars" and blessed bombs – even the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Jesus, however, blessed the peacemakers and never the warmongers and sword ideologues.
Or the Lord's Prayer request "...and lead us not into temptation." Is the God of Jesus, the Father who loves us, a cynic and sadist who wants to lead us into temptation? In his native language, Jesus prayed like this: “And lead us in temptation." This is something quite different. In 2016, in a book on the Lord's Prayer, Pope Francis also suggested to all bishops that they change the traditional Lord's Prayer in favor of the Aramaic text. He could not believe in a God who wants to lead us into temptation, Pope Francis said.
The Italian, French, Portuguese and Brazilian bishops have changed their Lord's Prayer according to the Pope's proposal, but not the German bishops of both denominations. In the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, former bishop Margot Käßmann said, "We don't want to change tradition! If tradition is more important than Jesus in such a central question as the image of God in the Lord's Prayer, then the faithful rightly run away from the churches. Then the churches are really beyond saving."
As a young theology student, I often heard the phrase: "Ecclesia semper reformanda" — the church must always be renewed. But woe betide anyone who tries to do that.
Hundreds of people who read the “new” translation from Aramaic in my Jesus books write to me that “lifelong” burdens that priests or religious teachers had placed on them fell away. A 75-year-old Catholic clergyman informed me that he was on his way to becoming an atheist. But through the Aramaic Jesus, he could believe again.
Two more serious examples of fatal mistranslations. In Matthew 5:22, we read someone who says to his brother, "Godless fool, let him fall into the fires of hell." Just recently, a priest complained to me that he was "afraid of hell" because of such passages in the Bible and had not been able to sleep at night for a long time. Instead of proclaiming the good news of Jesus, the fear of hell is threatened.
So too is Mark 16:16. Here the official Bible says, "Whoever does not believe will be condemned." Jesus never condemned anyone. This is a church example of blackmail to baptism and the Christian faith. The tolerant, and freedom and love preaching Jesus said no such thing.
A particularly catastrophic example of corrupt translation concerns Judas. For centuries, theologians and church leaders have branded him a "traitor". What's more, they equated Judas with "the Jews" and " the murderers of God". Günther Schwarz has proven that anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism can be traced historically to this misconception.
The real story between Jesus and Judas, as it has come down to us in Aramaic: Judas was the only one of the twelve apostles who knew Jerusalem. So, Jesus sent him to the chief priests. In the German translation, the word for "betray" is based on the Greek word "paradidomai". But it can also be translated as "handed over". It is noticeable that in all passages where this word is associated with Judas in the four gospels (that is, 32 times) the German translation is "betray". But in many other places in the Bible (a total of 17 times), it is translated as "handed over".
Thus, Judas was deliberately branded a traitor. The "traitor" was the projection figure of all anti-Semites for 2,000 years — up to the Nazis, the Holocaust and Auschwitz. It is high time to retell this story. For the popular Israeli writer Amos Oz, who died in 2018, the story of Judas as the betrayer of Jesus is “the Chernobyl of anti-Semitism.”
For 2,000 years, Judas has been slung with mud by Christians, just as Jesus the Jew was slung with mud by Jewish theologians 2,000 years ago. The "traitor" was in fact Jesus' best friend, whom he asked for a final friendly service. The real traitor was not Judas, but Peter, who denied Jesus "before the cock crowed three times" (Mark 14:72). Only today, with a correct and honest translation, does Judas get the recognition he deserves. Judas did not betray Jesus, although this is still so terribly wrong in all four Gospels. He handed him over in consultation with Jesus.
Walter Jens writes in his last novel: “Without Judas there is no cross. Without a cross there is no fulfillment of the plan of salvation. Without Judas there is no church. No narration without this narrator.” The Judas kiss was a friendship kiss. Without Judas there would be no Good Friday and probably no Easter either. And probably no Christianity.
The difference between Greek and Aramaic 2,000 years ago was similar to the difference between Arabic and German today.
If a Japanese Germanist wants to understand Goethe, he probably does not read his texts in Chinese, but in German. Therefore, my request to the Pope and the bishops is: let the Gospel finally be retranslated into the mother tongue of Jesus and officially rehabilitate Judas at the next council. And do the same for Mary Magdalene, who was not a whore, as it says in the Gospels, but Jesus' closest confidant and companion, as it says in other sources. Today's world needs a Jesus renaissance. Günther Schwarz has already done good and important preliminary work for this.
The church is not in good health. But Jesus is alive.
• Putin declares victory in Luhansk: Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared victory in Ukraine’s eastern province of Luhansk, following the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the area. Russian forces are now expected to try to capture Donetsk province, also part of the Donbas region.
• Suspect arrested over July 4th parade shooting: A 22-year-old suspect was taken into custody by the police nine hours after the shooting that occurred at a July Fourth parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The gunman killed six people and injured 26.
• France repatriates children and mothers from Syria camps: The French government has repatriated 35 children and 16 mothers held in camps in Syria for the family members of suspected Islamic State jihadists. The mothers will face possible criminal trials, while the children will be taken care of by child welfare services.
• Sydney residents told to evacuate flooded areas: Persistent rain has been causing floods all over New South Wales in Australia for the past three days, with the Sydney region particularly hit. The State Emergency Service performed 252 flood rescues on Monday night. Residents of the southwest of the city were told to evacuate before midnight.
• Italy declares state of emergency over drought: Italy has declared a state of emergency for areas surrounding the river Po in the north of the country. The river is suffering its worst drought in 70 years, which is causing water shortages and impacting farmers’ production.
• Unrest in Uzbekistan kills 18: Eighteen people died and 243 suffered injuries from unrest caused by the Uzbekistan’s government's plans to curtail the autonomous province of Karakalpakstan’s sovereignty. More than 500 protesters were also detained by the Uzbek authorities.
• Equal pay for New Zealand cricket male and female players: New Zealand cricket players have reached a five-year agreement to grant the same match fees to players from the men’s and women’s teams. The deal will also ensure that travel and accommodation are equally provided to all players.
The Chicago Tribune expresses its horror at the July Fourth Parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, that killed six and wounded at least 26. A 22-year-old suspect was taken into custody by police late Monday.
As South Korean workers are returning to the office, so is gapjil — a Korean term that describes employers, managers or supervisors who abuse their power over their subordinates in the workplace. According to a survey commissioned by Workplace Gapjil 119, an organization assisting victims of office abuse, nearly 30% of Korean office employees have suffered from workplace harassment in the past year — a 23.5% increase compared with last March. The report also shows that women and part-time and gig workers are more likely to be victims of such abuse.
The world’s largest particle collider will now begin running at a record energy level of 13.6 trillion electron-volts for the next four years. The data collected from the CERN’s new round of experiments at the French-Swiss border will be analyzed to further understand the universal mysteries of dark matter, dark energy, and more.
Food shortages around the world, product by product
The war in Ukraine and the climate crisis have been devastating for food production. Here's a look at some of the traditional foods from around the world that might be hard to find on supermarket shelves.
🇫🇷 Each region of France is packed with local specialities that make up the country’s rich culinary heritage. But recently, many regional dishes have become harder to find in stores. Take the example of classic Dijon mustard. Severe droughts in Canada in 2021 and 2022 have affected the production of mustard grains. In the north west, Brittany is holding its breath due to the possibly catastrophic impact of the war in Ukraine on its famous “galette de blé noir” (buckwheat crepe), as Russia and Ukraine account for a third of global buckwheat exports.
🍝 Students, brace yourselves: Italian pasta manufacturers are increasing their prices due a combination of issues with the stalling importation of grain from Ukraine and Russia and the repercussions of rising energy costs on transportation fees. In March, The News Glory reported that on average, a kilo of pasta cost 30 percent more than at the same period in 2021. Manufacturers warn that depending on how long the war goes on, stocks of pasta might run low.
🥔 The blockage of Russian and Ukrainian fertilizers is delaying potato production in certain areas of the world, as highlighted by the fish and chips shortage in the UK. This has also been true in Colombia, where the prices for potatoes have soared by three-quarters in 2022. In Serbia, a combination of reasons has resulted in an ongoing potato shortage. As a drought severely damaged 2021’s production, the country relied massively on imports (mostly from France). This in turn discouraged local farmers from harvesting spuds, which consequently ended in skyrocketing prices.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
Italian farmer Giuseppe Ubertone lost 30% of his rice crops at Azienda Agricola Ronchettone in Milan due to the recent droughts in Italy, where the government has declared a state of emergency. — Photo: Andrea Fasani/ANSA/ZUMA
✍️ Newsletter by Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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