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A SEMITIC VIEW OF JESUS
From Aramaic Light on Gospel of Matthew by Rocco A. Errico and George M. Lamsa
“Semites, however, truly claim Jesus because he was a genuine son of the Near East. He
was born and reared among Semitic peoples. Jesus was an Aramaic speaking Semite. Their
customs and manners played an important part in his life and teaching. They, therefore, know
and understand him far better than others. Scripture prohibits making pictures of any sort;
nevertheless, they visualize him through their mind’s eye. They picture him as a Near Easterner:
dark olive complexion, bright brown eyes, full bushy beard and mustache, strong body and
masculine features. Some even picture him as six feet tall.
When Jesus spoke or taught, it would be with extravagant expansiveness and vivid,
gripping imagery. Being Semitic, he would also impress his listeners with exaggerated speech.
At the same time, he told his stories with utter simplicity and an uncommon portrayal of certain
human relations. His style of storytelling was poetic, humorous and, at times, filled with tension.
He was fully human, revealing passionate and loving feelings. On other occasions, he showed
irritability and great sorrow. All this is typical of Near Eastern temperament.
One of the most amazing facts about Jesus is that, regardless of his ethnic background, he
appeals to people of all nationalities. His spiritual genius and nature and his practical teaching
that transcends all human boundaries, reveal him as he actually was—a man without a country.
Nevertheless, people throughout the world claim him as their own. All racial characteristics
retire into the background in the unique drama of his life. No forms of prejudice or human
limitations can interfere with his universal, all-encompassing message. Although he was born in
a poor home and brought up in a small village, Jesus appeals to the rich and poor, to the
conqueror and conquered. Nothing has been able to overshadow his influence throughout these