I have been participating in the Preachers Institute “read the New Testament in the 40 days leading up to Christmas” project.  It is quite enjoyable and edifying.  I tend to concentrate my scripture readings on the Old Testament, so this exercise has provided me with a refresher course on parts of the NT that I do not read very often.  In finishing up Acts the other day, I came across the episode where Paul gets shipwrecked on Malta.  Maltese, famously, is the only Semitic language written in the Latin script, but modern Maltese took form after the Arabs conquered the island during a later wave of Muslim conquest.  So what language was spoken on Malta when Paul landed there?  Phoenician of some sort?  Latin?  Does anyone know?  I imagine Paul would have been able to adapt to whatever Semitic tongue that may have been spoken there, and could certainly communicate in Greek and Latin (he was a Roman citizen).  What was proto-Maltese?

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