Aramaic: Kephah? (name given by Jesus to his friend Shimon)

Forero

Senior Member
USA English
Jesus spoke in figures of speech, which bothered some of his followers, and some of the recorded Greek sayings become curious plays on words if translated "back" into Aramaic.

What is Aramaic for Cephas/Petros (the masculine name) and Petra (the surname)? I have heard that both are something like Kephah, which means something like "a hollow rock". If they are the same word, what is the gender?
 
  • de boer

    Member
    German
    What is Aramaic for Cephas/Petros (the masculine name) and Petra (the surname)? I have heard that both are something like Kephah, which means something like "a hollow rock". If they are the same word, what is the gender?
    You're basically right. ;)
    The Aramaic word for 'rock' or 'stone' is kêfā -- in Syriac it is written ܒܐܦܐ (kʾpʾ) and in Judeo-Aramaic כיפא (kypʾ). This noun is generally feminine, except when it refers to Peter in the Peshitta, then it is obviously masculine.

    Now to Cephas, it is simply a romanization of Greek Κηφᾶς (Kēphas), which itself is just the Greek spelling of Aramaic kêfā. The Greek Name Πέτρος (Petros), though, is the Greek translation of kêfā and also means 'rock', cf. Greek πέτρος (petros) and πέτρα (petra).


    Best regards,

    de Boer
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thank you, De Boer.

    In other words, Latin and Greek use forms ending in -s to distinguish the masculine names from the words for "rock", which are feminine, and from the surname, but Aramaic has the same gender distinction without changing the form of the word. Is that right?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Not quite. πέτρος and πέτρα are both common nouns in ancient Greek with slightly different meanings. πέτρος is a single rock or stone and πέτρα is something bigger, a rock formation, like a cliff, or a big free standing rock. In modern Greek only πέτρα has survived.
     
    Not quite. πέτρος and πέτρα are both common nouns in ancient Greek with slightly different meanings. πέτρος is a single rock or stone and πέτρα is something bigger, a rock formation, like a cliff, or a big free standing rock. In modern Greek only πέτρα has survived.
    Can anybody tell me please which of the two [πέτρος and πέτρα] best translates the Aramaic kêfā?I have heard that kêfā means a big rock or a boulder and that there is another Aramaic word that means a stone or a pebble.
     

    origumi

    Senior Member
    N/A
    Biblical example - Numbers 20:8

    Hebrew:
    קַח אֶת-הַמַּטֶּה, וְהַקְהֵל אֶת-הָעֵדָה אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ, וְדִבַּרְתֶּם אֶל-הַסֶּלַע לְעֵינֵיהֶם, וְנָתַן מֵימָיו

    Aramaic (Unkalos, 2-3rd century AD, honored also by the Peshitta):
    סַב יָת חֻטְרָא, וּכְנוֹשׁ יָת כְּנִשְׁתָּא אַתְּ וְאַהֲרוֹן אֲחוּךְ, וּתְמַלְּלוּן עִם כֵּיפָא לְעֵינֵיהוֹן, וְיִתֵּין מוֹהִי

    Greek (Septuaginta):
    λάβε τὴν ράβδον σου καὶ ἐκκλησίασον τὴν συναγωγὴν σὺ καὶ ᾿Ααρὼν ὁ ἀδελφός σου καὶ λαλήσατε πρὸς τὴν πέτραν ἐναντίον αὐτῶν, καὶ δώσει τὰ ὕδατα αὐτῆς

    English:
    Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water
     

    mtmigs

    New Member
    English
    Ke'pha is a movable stone = lithos / petros.
    Shu'a is a massive rock= petra
     
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