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The Corruption of Qnoma

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The Corruption of Qnoma

Mar-05-2002 at 06:59 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Shlama Akhay,

In several posts you have read my charge that the archaic definition of Qnoma was altered/corrupted by Aramaic speakers in the Western (Greek) Empire after the Christological controversies of the 5th century, while in the Eastern (Persian) Empire the Aramaic speakers preserved the original meaning.

Being an "Easterner" I am naturally suspect of having a bias and playing favoritism in this argument.

Therefore I would like to present some quotes from one of the world's most renowned experts on Aramaic - Professor Sebastian Brock of the Oriental Institute, Oxford University.

Speaking on the terms Kyana, Qnoma and Parsopa, Prof. Brock has these things to say:

"First of all (and this goes without saying), we need to try to understand what writers actually meant by the technical terms they use, rather than rely on what their opponents claimed they meant.....in this context, both the Syriac (Aramaic) terminology, and the understanding of that terminology, in the Church of the East can be described as both archaic and conservative."

"I conclude by looking at two sets of specific example....both are cases where the language used by the Church of the East could best be described as archaic.....we are dealing with imagery which was once widespread and which is still preserved in the Church of the East after it had been for the most part dropped by everyone else in the course of the fifth century controversies."

"It is essentially this (the archaic) understanding of kyana that is retained in the Church of the East.....by contrast, later fifth- and sixth-century Syrian Orthodox writers understand kyana as virtually a synonym with hypostasis.....significantly, in Syriac Orthodox translations of the later fifth and of the sixth century, the older rendering...is replaced by various other translations, thus removing the (now archaic) association of kyana with ousia."

"At the outset I would suggest that....it is important to retain the Syriac term (Qnoma), and not retrovert it into hypostasis (let alone translate it as "person", as has occasionally been done)."

"In many cases...the tradition of the Church of the East will be found to have preserved images and metaphors of the incarnation which were once widely current, but which writers in other Syriac traditions had subsequently dropped, either on grounds of their perceived inadequacy, or because they were thought to lend support to the position of their theological opponents."

"The 4th century texts seem to understand kyana very much with ousia....This meaning was kept unchanged in the East. In the 6th and 7th centuries however the Syrian Orthodox moved with the times and their understanding came close to the Western/Greek development of hypostasis/prosopon. This gave rise to most of the problems."

"The Church of the East in the Sasanian Persian Empire up to the Sixth Century and it's absence from the Councils in the Roman Empire", by Prof. Sebastian Brock, Oxford University, June 25th, 1994, Vienna Austria - presented at the First Syriac Dialogue, hosted by Pro Oriente. ISBN: 3-901188-05-3

Any room left here for translating "Qnoma" as "Person?" Any further doubts as to who changed what and who preserved what?

Fk^rwbw 0ml4

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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