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A New Little Essay

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Andrew Gabriel Roth
 
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A New Little Essay

May-07-2001 at 01:53 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)


Shlama all--


Here's a rough draft of an idea that kept bouncing around in my head today and would not stop until I had brought it into the world. I have all the citations for everything I have written about, but I did not include them in this draft. However, if anyone is interested, both Paul and I have all this information.

Enjoy and have a great day!


Fleshing Out the Historical Argument for Aramaic NT Primacy
By Andrew Gabriel Roth

In the great debate about determining the original language of the New Testament, great emphasis has been given—and rightfully so—to the linguistic proofs evident in the Peshitta. However, what is sometimes lacking is a clearer understanding of known historical processes that dovetail with the linguistic argument. In fact, despite all the intricacies that sometimes boggle the mind of a sincere seeker on this topic, the fact is much headway can be made in resolving the issues by answering two simple questions:

1) Do you accept that the New Testament books were written by the people and in the manner that the Bible describes?

2) Do you view the testimony of the very earliest Church Fathers, as recorded primarily by Eusebius, as generally reliable?

In regards to the first question, I believe the linguistic side of the argument to be sufficiently strong as to be able to withstand even the most fervent attacks that radical secularist scholars can possibly throw at this issue. However, since linguistics is not our focus, I will say that anyone who accepts the traditional authorship of the 22 books in the Peshitta Canon is almost in a position of having to accept the Aramaic primacist position as well.

I say this primarily because of what we know of these authors in terms of when they lived and died. By the year 67, for example, we know that Matthew, Mark, Peter, Paul, James the Just, and Jude were all dead. Luke, while living significantly past this time, nevertheless links his writings to Paul’s time, which leaves only John to have composed anything after the year 70. However, even John wrote no later than the year 96, which puts every single piece of NT literature within seven decades of the crucifixion.

So, if virtually all the writers of NT were first century Jews, and most wrote from Israel to other Aramaic speaking Jewish believers in the Messiah that populated the Middle East, it seems certain that Aramaic mss from the Apostles would have circulated to those same audiences. Now, if some members of the synagogue spoke Greek, there was already a well established tradition in place that they could attend Hebrew/Aramaic services and get them translated into their vernacular on the spot. This was certainly the case of Cornelius, whose faithfulness is recorded in Acts 10. Similarly, Hebrew Scriptures themselves were frequently sent to distant synagogues both in and out of Israel and translated into Aramaic “targums” by the local authorities. Either way, a native Aramaic speaker like Paul or Peter could reasonably expect that an Aramaic letter they wrote—for that was their native language—could be properly translated locally into the vernacular by leaders of that individual assembly. Therefore, the language that the congregation spoke is irrelevant.

With those issues out of the way, now let us deal with the second question. It is a known historical fact that 95% of all ancient mss have perished. The Hebrew mss of the NT were, for example, mostly kept in Jerusalem where the fighting of two Jewish revolts likely took their toll. In both cases, Rome hunted down and destroyed as many Hebrew books as they could find. Josephus records more than 180,000 people dead in the streets of the city when the Temple burned, and as many as 100,000 more may have been killed in Galilee. Similar numbers also apply due south, by the Dead Sea area of Masada, and anywhere else where rebellion reared its head. Similarly, during the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 CE), 500 synagogues, each with 300 students, were put to the sword and destroyed IN ONE CITY ALONE, WITH THE NATIONAL FIGURES EVEN WORSE. Finally, in either case, it seems unlikely that the Romans would care if the Hebrew mss were from the Old or New Testaments, they burned people alive in those scrolls with equal delight.

Therefore, in many cases we see through the glass lens darkly, and gaps are inevitable. Scholars frequently recognize this pitfall with secular works. Homer, if he lived at all, wrote the Iliad at least 500 years before the Trojan War was known to have happened and is considered basically reliable. And Julius Caesar’s account of the Gallic Wars, with only 3 known mss a whopping 1200 years removed from the event, is accepted as genuine without batting an eyelash. Given that degree of latitude, perhaps then we can also accept the writings of Eusebius who, while writing his masterpiece on ecclesiastical history, is only 250 years from the earliest events he records. Eusebius also had access to original source documents (now of course since lost) that he no doubt would have been forced to produce had someone caught him in a grievous error. It is certainly the case also that Eusebius knew his contemporaries who hated Christianity would have seized on any opportunity to discredit such a work, and therefore give him another incentive to get these details right.

Therefore, while none of these facts gives Eusebius an absolute armor of perfection on every minute point, it would seem that, taken all together, to certainly put any burden of proof on Eusebius’ accusers to establish that a major mistake had been made. On that score, from his time to our own, this has never been done. So, if we can look at 250 years as the very small window for error that it clearly is and combine it with Eusebius’ own time tested and excellent reputation, then we can reliably move forward with a compelling case for Aramaic NT primacy from a historical perspective.

Finally, one more thought before proceeding: Any credibility assigned to Eusebius should also be extended to all the other sources that I have used here, because Eusebius is a kind of “worst case scenario”. All the other sources used here are either more ancient than the venerable historian or else they are describing things that are contemporaneous with their own times in the third and fourth centuries. This also applies to both Roman Catholic and Eastern Assyrian/Syrian Church Fathers. With those thoughts in mind, please consider the following:

1) As I said at the beginning, the New Testament itself bears powerful historical testimony from the time of the crucifixion to about the year 96, when John the Apostle died on the island of Patmos. All NT books are therefore clearly composed during the first century. The question is, of course, in which language was this done?

2) Enter again our hero, because Eusebius tells us of a man named Papias (ca. 70-130 CE) who studied with the apostle John for several years. Noting the use of the phrase “young man” (as opposed to “child”) and combining this fact with when we know the apostle came to this place and when he died, the only conceivable time frame that fits for him to tutor Papias is between the years 90 and 96. Papias then wrote that he knew that Matthew had written (ta logia) down the sayings of the Messiah IN THE HEBREW LANGUAGE, and that everyone “translated as best as they could”. Therefore, prior to the close of the first century, no critical Greek edition of Matthew existed. Also, since eastern and western tradition is unanimous that Matthew was the first Gospel written and John the last, it becomes extremely significant that one of the apostle’s own students tells us this fact. The earliest known fragment from any part of the NT is from John’s Gospel-- and it is dated to the year 125! This fact, of course, leaves us with a very tight window for all these Gospels to come into the Greek language and puts the Aramaic originals clearly back into the first century!

3) Also, just around the time of Papias’ death, we know two other critical events happened:

a) Yehuda, the 15th and last Nazarene Nasi (leader) of the See of Jerusalem, stepped down and was replaced with a Gentile “bishop”. Yehuda, like his fourteen predecessors beginning with James the Just (led from 30-62 CE), was a native Aramaic speaker who venerated only Hebrew and Aramaic scriptures. Since there was not a single first century Jewish teacher in Israel that even remotely acknowledged the Septuagint Greek OT as viable, let alone sacred, there can be little doubt of the language of choice for any scriptures and liturgy that these Nazarene leaders would have employed.

b) Evidence for these precise Hebrew/Aramaic Scriptures and liturgies is also found in the historical record. Eusebius records that another early Church leader, Hegisippius, may have been born in Israel and led an assembly of Jewish believers in one of the nearby cities known to be part of the famous “Decapolis”. While most of the people who lived in this area were Greek, the Decapolis’ proximity to Israel forced Hegisippius into a most peculiar duty. Eusebius writes that Hegisippius: “alterum in Syri interpratione sermonis”, or to put it another way, “interpreted Syrian sermons”, obviously into the Greek language spoken by his followers. If there were Aramaic “sermons”, it seems a virtual certainty that they would then, as they do today, reflect teachings of Aramaic Scripture. What Eusebius is then describing is, once again, the ancient Jewish practice of “targumming”, which was done for the benefit of both Aramaic and Greek speakers who wished to understand Hebrew Scripture better. Since Hebrew and Aramaic are also very closely related languages as well, the conclusion that a Semitic original of some part of the New Testament was translated into Greek for a local audience has found a clear historical precedent. Also, we know that Hegisippius did this service some time before his first arrival in Rome, which is clearly dated to the year 130.

4) Then, just 20 years later, a heretic named Tatian attempted to combine the four Gospels into one narrative for use in his Syrian congregation. This work, the Diatesssaron, was began by Tatian’s mentor Justin Martyr in about the year 150, and Tatian himself died in the year 172. While no copy of this work survives, no serious scholar questions its existence as it is well attested to and quoted by other ancient authorities. We also know that an Aramaic edition, whether translated or originally composed in that language, was definitely done by Tatian. Certainly the same Gospels used by Hegisippius then would have been familiar to Tatian, whether he stuck to them in his own version or not.

5) Next we come to another prominent leader mentioned by Eusebius: Origen (ca. 170-230 CE). In this case, what we have is a critical quotation of Origen from Hebrews 2:9-10, with one critical difference: It never appears in a single Greek mss! In fact, the only place that Origen’s version of Hebrews 2:9-10 does appear is in the original Peshitta NT. Furthermore, by virtue of this association, we know two other vital facts. First, Origen had to have written this quotation down prior to his death in the year 230. And second, since Hebrews is the last book of the eastern canon, we know the complete Peshitta NT must have circulated extensively enough prior to this time to be found in Rome, where Origen put or had translated that quote into Greek. In either case, this complete Peshitta NT canon was done more than 100 years before either the Cureton / Old Syriac mss were produced, as well as before the West itself had settled all the issues of its own Greek canon in the fourth century.

6) From this time forward then, tracing the origins of the Peshitta becomes even easier. Various contemporaries of Eusebius, most notably Epiphanus (Panarion 29-30), make mention that the Nazarenes in the fourth century had an original Hebrew copy of Matthew. Another claim regarding the same document is also recorded by Eusebius and may date centuries earlier than that. According to that account, a man named Pantaeus traveled to India during the early part of the second century and visited with the Saint Thomas Church, who had the manuscript. However, the Saint Thomas Church also has documents that talk of their FIRST CENTURY migration into India, when they would have presumably taken their Hebrew/Aramaic Scriptures from Israel with them to their new home.

7) As a result of all this evidence, the claims of the Assyrian Church of the East that the New Testament was written originally in Aramaic by the Apostles and handed down intact and without any revisions must be given great weight when combined with other parts of the historical record. And finally, the fact that every early Aramaic Christian group venerated the Peshitta even as they warred with one another also can not be overestimated in this calculation.

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KeithL
 
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1. RE: A New Little Essay

May-09-2001 at 11:41 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #0
 
Andrew,
What is your definition of "little"? Tome might be more like it. Excellent synopsis of your view. I would like the citations (since I have a copy of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History).
How do you answer critics like Bivin and Blizzard who maitain that when Eusebius says Hebrew he means Hebrew and not Aramaic?
Could you go into more detail as to the significance of Hebrews 2:9-10?
By the way since I have found this site I have spent a fortune on books. I just bought Dr. Kiraz's 4 volumes of "Comparative Edition of the Syriac Gospels" and am looking forward to getting them in.
Keith

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2. A fortune?

May-10-2001 at 09:23 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #1
 
Akhi Keith,

Don't you mean an inheritance? That sells for nearly $1,000!

I feel bad, didn't mean to be so controversial as to make people spend that much money, but I'm sure it will be very useful to you.


Fk^rwbw 0ml4

Peshitta.org

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3. RE: A fortune?

May-10-2001 at 00:19 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #2
 
Hi Paul,
Don't apologize, I love this site. I'm now 99% convinced of Aramaic primacy. You have been a tremendous blessing (as well as Andrew). I am thoroughly enjoying this site and your comments.
Keith

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Andrew Gabriel Roth
 
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4. RE: A New Little Essay

May-11-2001 at 00:49 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #1
 
Hi Akhi Keith!

Why not start by looking up these verses:


Hist. Eccl., iv,22

Hist. Eccl., 111, xxxix, 16), Papias said that Matthew collected (sunetaxato; or, according to two manuscripts, sunegraphato, composed) ta logia (the oracles or maxims of Y’shua) in the Hebrew (Aramaic) language, and that each one translated them as best he could

Hist. Eccl., III, xxiv
Hist. Eccl., iv, 22

There are many others, but these were what I could get for you right away. I list, of course ALL OF THEM in my book.

As for Bivin Blizzard, I don't put much stock in it at all. We have to remember two critical facts that BnB seems to ignore or forget altogether.

1)The interdependence of Hebrew and Aramaic.

2) The relative level of Hebrew/Aramaic expertise of the Church fathers.

With regards to point #1, we have to seaprate SCRIPTS from DIALECTS or LANGUAGES. You may have, for example, heard of the Aramaic Scriptures Research Society in Israel, who has put out a very schoarly work. On the left page is the original Aramaic Peshitta, and on the right a Hebrew translation. But-- and here is the kicker-- BOTH ARE IN HEBREW SCRIPT! Let that sink in a bit and think about this. Parts of Tenakh (in Daniel and Esther)are Aramaic words in Hebrew letters, and the same can be said for the Talmud. In fact, there are many of my people who do not even realize that what they are thinking of as Hebrew (Kaddish, Kol Nidre) are actually Aramaic works "dressed up" In Hebrew letters. So there are scripts and there are languages and they are frequently two different things. The fact that Hebrew and Aramaic share so many things in common also and that Aramaic is frequently sprinkled throughout what is believed to be thoroughly Hebrew literature does not help matters.

Now for point 2. Does anyone out there really think that Eusebius and others were not only fluent in both Hebrew and Aramaic but able to really tell the difference between what is written in Hebrew and what are just Hebrew letters representing Aramaic words WHICH ARE ALMOST IDENTICAL IN SO MANY CASES? I think not. So if Eusebius referes to Hebrew but it's really Aramaic, that's fine, and if he means Hebrew and it is Hebrew, great!

On the other hand, let us say they could and Hebrew is as Hebrew does (Forrest Gump School). In that case, the shared vocabulary, morphology and sentence structure make that situation as indistinguishable in 95% of what consititutes the Aramaic primacist position. That is why Hebrew primacy is just fine by me...but I only know that for certain that the Aramaic line of what must surely have been Hebrew mss also from the first century has survived. But that does not mean I am hostile to Dr. Trimm's stance on the importance of some of these other later Hebrew witnesses. I love them all.

Hope this helps and thanks for the great question. I would like Paul to deal with the Hebrews quote, if he does not mind.

Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth

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5. RE: A New Little Essay

May-11-2001 at 09:25 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #4
 
Akhi Andrew:
We should be reminded that the Syriac Greek word for Syrian Aramaic is similar to the Judaic Aramaic , but there are some later Greek influences present that are less present in the Judaic dialects being Yerusalmi and Baboli(Babylonian). The Judaic Aramaic uses the Hebrew adopted alphabet of Square Aramaic adopted from Babylon in the fifth century before Messaih. Also the Judaic form differed from the lingua franca of the Babylonians and later the Persians in that it adopted a number of Hebrew words into an Aramaic form. The Peshitta uses an Estrangela script developed in the first century of Messiah. It also shgows Greek Church influence in language and traslation , not present in the Anceint Aramaic of the Persian Empire and although some Greek and Latin is present in the Hebrew Mishnah circa 170A.D. and also in the Aramaic of the Talmud the types due differ concsiderablly. If the Aramaic ofd the Peshitta is really the same as that of Messiah Yeshua, then why did it originate in North Eastern Syria out side of Israel among a non Jewish gentile people of colonies of the left over Aschmonid or Perssian Empire. Is it not possable that this non Israeli from of literary Aramaic was adopted by these people from the Greek influence to translate the Helenistic literture that is the Septuagaint compared withthe hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament for a people who could not comprehend either Hebrew or Greek. You take the word for Torah which is Hebrew is translated into Greek as Nomos, or Nomosa in Aramaic of the Peshitta, no Judaic source would use the word Nomos, when the Hebrew word Torah would do. also note the age of the oldest Peshittta are all centuries latter than the Greek New Testament Texts which go back to 130A.D. in John's Gospel fragment and the complete Gospels to 200A.D. The oldest Greek New Testament the Sinaticus which is complete is dated as 330A.D. The oldest Peshitta new Testament is dated circa 5th -6 stentury A.D. around 100-200 years later. In fact there is no mention of the Peshitta Old or New Testaments before the fourth century. There are older Syrian Aramaioc texts, but they to are showing a strong Church Greek influence. Not to mention that the Syrian Orthodox Church and most of COE agree that while the Peshitta is held as sacred it is the work of a fourth century Greek translation to fill a serious need in the body of Messiah. Yes some do disagree like the wishfull thinking of Victor Alexander, Dr.George lamsa who not only state the New Testament original is the Peshitta but even reject the Old Testament hebrew in favor of the Aramaic Peshitta. The late religious leader held a simmilar view in COE that is the late Mar Shimun. I mean no disrespect , but I can not agree with the position opf a few individuals over the majority eviedences prrove other wise, especially the challange that the original Torah was writen in Aramaic not hebrew and surrives in the Peshitta alone. Shlama W'Berkhata, Sam

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7. RE: A New Little Essay

May-11-2001 at 03:42 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #5
 
>Akhi Andrew:
>We should be reminded that the
>Syriac Greek word for Syrian
>Aramaic is similar to the
>Judaic Aramaic , but there
>are some later Greek influences
>present that are less present
>in the Judaic dialects being
>Yerusalmi and Baboli(Babylonian). The Judaic
>Aramaic uses the Hebrew adopted
>alphabet of Square Aramaic adopted
>from Babylon in the fifth
>century before Messaih. Also the
>Judaic form differed from the
>lingua franca of the Babylonians
>and later the Persians in
>that it adopted a number
>of Hebrew words into an
>Aramaic form.

Hi Akhi Shmuel! I am aware of the dialectical differences. My point is that if Eusebius in the fourth century saw either a Hebrew document or an Aramaic in Hebrew letters, he would probably not know the difference.


The Peshitta uses
>an Estrangela script developed in
>the first century of Messiah.
>It also shgows Greek Church
>influence in language and traslation
>, not present in the
>Anceint Aramaic of the Persian
>Empire and although some Greek
>and Latin is present in
>the Hebrew Mishnah circa 170A.D.

Yes the earliest estrangela script is dated to 6 CE in Edessa (Turkey). But again I am talking about dialect and NOT scripts. There is in fact every indication that autograph NT mss may have been originally done in HEBREW or HEBREW LIKE script. I am addressing instead the issue of dialect, and here I disagree with you. The dialect of the Peshitta is very consistent with the Galiliean Aramaic spoken in the first century, if not identical.

>and also in the Aramaic
>of the Talmud the types
>due differ concsiderablly. If
>the Aramaic ofd the Peshitta
>is really the same as
>that of Messiah Yeshua, then
>why did it originate in
>North Eastern Syria out side
>of Israel among a non
>Jewish gentile people of colonies
>of the left over Aschmonid
>or Perssian Empire.

Remember here Akhi Shmuel that Galilee is where the northern kingdom used to be, and that the Assyrians poopulated it with their own people after destroying Israel in 722 BCE. The hybrid of Assyrians and Jews in that area later became known as Samaritans, and it is therefore no suprise that these influences also show up in the dialect of the Jews there as well.

Is it
>not possable that this non
>Israeli from of literary Aramaic
>was adopted by these people
>from the Greek influence to
>translate the Helenistic literture that
>is the Septuagaint compared withthe
>hebrew Old Testament and the
>Greek New Testament for a
>people who could not comprehend
>either Hebrew or Greek. You
>take the word for Torah
>which is Hebrew is translated
>into Greek as Nomos

"nomos" is not necessarily a Greek word. It may in fact be an Aramaic loan word "namosa". Still looking into that though beefore I will be certain.
, or
>Nomosa in Aramaic of the
>Peshitta, no Judaic source would
>use the word Nomos, when
>the Hebrew word Torah would
>do.

Don't be too sure. I believe Peshitta Tenakh, which was done by Jews in Babylon, does use it. They certainly use ORAYTA, the Aramaic word for "covenant" which is not used in the Hebrew Tenakh to the best of my knowledge.

also note the age
>of the oldest Peshittta are
>all centuries latter than the
>Greek New Testament Texts which
>go back to 130A.D. in
>John's Gospel fragment and the
>complete Gospels to 200A.D. The
>oldest Greek New Testament the
>Sinaticus which is complete is
>dated as 330A.D. The oldest
>Peshitta new Testament is dated
>circa 5th -6 stentury A.D.
>around 100-200 years later.

You'll just have to read my book about this. Oldest fragment of John is 125 CE. Oldest codices (full NT books) either in Aramaic or Greek is fourth-fifth centuries. Fragments don't indicate primacy-- linguistic analysis does, and there is plenty of that evidence to be had here.
In
>fact there is no mention
>of the Peshitta Old or
>New Testaments before the fourth
>century. There are older Syrian
>Aramaioc texts, but they to
>are showing a strong Church
>Greek influence.

Where is your source? I totally disagree. The liturgy of these earliest churches proves this wrong utterly. See Paul about this. It is the Greek mss that show an Aramaic influence, not the other way around. Otherwise, we will have to go point for point and line by line.

Not to mention
>that the Syrian Orthodox Church
>and most of COE agree
>that while the Peshitta is
>held as sacred it is
>the work of a fourth
>century Greek translation to fill
>a serious need in the
>body of Messiah.

WRONG! George Kiraz, who is in the SOC may agree with this. But no ancient Aramaic Church has this position. Your information is flawed, no offense intended. In fact, all ancient Aramaic Churches (including St. Thomas Christians in India who we have records of a second century Hebrew Matthew "as it was originally written") proclaim the text has come down from first century apostles without revision.

Yes some
>do disagree like the wishfull
>thinking of Victor Alexander, Dr.George
>lamsa who not only state
>the New Testament original is
>the Peshitta but even reject
>the Old Testament hebrew in
>favor of the Aramaic Peshitta.
>The late religious leader held
>a simmilar view in COE
>that is the late Mar
>Shimun. I mean no disrespect
>, but I can not
>agree with the position opf
>a few individuals over the
>majority eviedences prrove other
>wise, especially the challange that
>the original Torah was writen
>in Aramaic not hebrew and
>surrives in the Peshitta alone.

That's why we are here Shmuel. To discuss this evidence. The majority has been wrong before, you know. My research of the last 10 years is not, I assure you, wishful thinking. 95% of all NT scholars are not competent in the original language of the Messiah, and they do not even know the difference between Peshitta and Peshitto. How then can you trust them to render an opinion on the matter? If all they know is Greek, then all they will see is Greek patterns in Greek mss.

>Shlama W'Berkhata, Sam

And peace to you as well. Remember, how can it be shown that the original language of an world leader resulted in an oral layer in that language being transmitted into compositional form in the language of their enemies, only to come back into the original language half a millennia later? Do you know how long the Aramaic mss were unknown in the West and therefore is it any surprise that traditions sprung up discounting them? It would seem to me that having an oral layer skip written form in its native language to go into another has never been demonstrated anywhere else in the world. Therefore, I believe the burden of proof is on them to prove it did happen, not me to say it did not.

Shlama w'burkate (and Shabbat Shalom)

Andrew Gabriel Roth


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8. RE: A New Little Essay

May-30-2001 at 09:51 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #5
 
I AM NEW TO THIS SITE, HAVE STUDIED FOR A FEW YEARS AND BY SELF REFLECTION HAVE LITTLE KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS AS YA ALL DO. I AM READING THIS SITE WITH VIGOR, STUDYING GREEK, ARAMAIC AND AM ABSOLUTELY FASCINATED WITH THIS HX.
SOME THINGS (PHILOSIPHICALLY AND FACTS) COME TO MIND AS I READ.
1)FEW THINGS IN LIFE ARE ABSOLUTE.
2)IF MY KNOWLEDGE IS CORRECT THE APOSTLES OF ESHOO WERE GIVEN TONGUES, SO THEREFORE COULD SPREAD THE WORD TO ALL IN MANY LANGUAGES. IT WAS ALSO COMMON FOR PEOPLE OF THIS ERA TO BE CONVERSIVE IN HEBREW/ARAMAIC AND LATIN OR GREEK, ESPECIALLY THE MERCHANTS FOR TRADE PURPOSES.
3)"MORE WILL BE REVEALED" AS STASTICALLY THE GENESIS BIBLE CODE HAS SHOWN. THE DEAD SEA SCROOLS HAVE SHED SOME KNEW LIGHT. ARCHEOLOGY IS REVEALING NEW EVIDENCE OF THE BIBLICAL PAST."SO MUCH HAS BEEN LOST". OUR JOB BEING, PUTTING TOGETHER WHAT'S LEFT OVER AND TO BE FOUND PAST IN THE MOST TRUTHFUL,ENLIGHTNING WAY HUMANLLY POSSIBLE.
THE NT ARGUMENTS PRESENTED SEEM TO BE ABSOLUTE, ONE OR THE OTHER, GREEK OR ARAMAIC.......
THE ? ARISES AND AS I BELIEVE THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE WHICH I SEEK FERVERENTLY:
WHY NOT SOME COMBINATION OF EITHER?...WITH SOME LATIN AND HEBREW "ORIGINALS" THROWN IN ALSO,WHICH MAY BE THE BOTTOM LINE. IT'S LIKE ,CATHOLIC VS BAPTIST STUFF, THE BOTTOM LINE IS THE WORD, NOT THE RELIGION. "SO MUCH HAS BEEN LOST"
THE DIFFERENCES ARE SOMETIMES:
MINOR-(A LARGE OBJECT, WHETHER IT BE CAMEL OR ROPE, FITING THROUGH A SMALL HOLE MAKES THE SAME PHILOSIPHICAL ARGUMENT) AND SOMETIMES:
MAJOR- AS (RIGHTOUS VS WICKED WHERE THE ARAMAIC ARGUMENT HOLDS STRONG AND ENLIGHTENS THE SCRIPTURE DRAMATICALLY.)
THE BOTTOM LINE TO ME IS ANYTHING THAT COMES TO LIGHT TO ENLIGHTEN THE SCRIPTURES TRUTH TO HUMANKIND IS WORTH SEEKING, AND I AM OPEN TO.THAT'S WHY I'M HERE!
YA-ALLS NOTES AND RESEARCH HAS THRILLED ME BEYOND EXPRESSION AND I THANK YOU. I'LL ALWAYS REFER TO THE MESSIAH AS ESHOO AND AM PASSING THE WORD OF....HIS REAL NAME. GOD BLESS.... MS MD


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9. RE: A New Little Essay

May-30-2001 at 10:17 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #5
 
>Not to mention
>that the Syrian Orthodox Church
>and most of COE agree
>that while the Peshitta is
>held as sacred it is
>the work of a fourth
>century Greek translation to fill
>a serious need in the
>body of Messiah. Yes some
>do disagree like the wishfull
>thinking of Victor Alexander, Dr.George
>lamsa who not only state
>the New Testament original is
>the Peshitta but even reject
>the Old Testament hebrew in
>favor of the Aramaic Peshitta.
>The late religious leader held
>a simmilar view in COE
>that is the late Mar
>Shimun. I mean no disrespect
>, but I can not
>agree with the position opf
>a few individuals over the
>majority eviedences prrove other
>wise, especially the challange that
>the original Torah was writen
>in Aramaic not hebrew and
>surrives in the Peshitta alone.
>Shlama W'Berkhata, Sam

Shlama Shmuel,

Who in the Church of the East claims that the Peshitta is a 4th century translation from Greek? Did you do a survey of "most" COE members?

Akhi Dean

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10. RE: A New Little Essay

May-30-2001 at 11:17 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #9
 
Shlama Akhi Myaqra w'Khabiba Dean!

Here is the "majority view" of the CoE members - thanks to your effort in scanning the official booklet!




















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6. Sure!

May-11-2001 at 11:06 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #4
 
» Last edited by Paul Younan on May-11-2001 at 11:09 AM (CT)

Shlama Akhay Andrew & Keith,

The significance of this verse in the book of Hebrews is HUGE, so I will take my time explaining it - because I feel this is very important on a number of issues, not only Aramaic primacy.

For starters, let me say that the Peshitta of the Church of the East (not including the Western "Peshitto" of the Syriac Orthodox Church), is the only version of the NT which has the following reading in Hebrews 2:9 -

"That He (Maran Eshoa), without God, tasted death for the sake of every person."

The only version that has this reading is the Eastern Peshitta. No Greek manuscript, no Latin, no other Aramaic version. With thousands upon thousands of manuscripts at our disposal, only ONE has this reading.

I will continue this "little essay" with a brief background on Origen of Alexandria, whose writings will be crucial to this argument:

Origen of Alexandria


(From the Catholic Encyclopedia - www.newadvent.org/cathen)

Born in 185, Origen was barely seventeen when a bloody persecution of the Church of Alexandrian broke out. His father Leonides, who admired his precocious genius was charmed with his virtuous life, had given him an excellent literary education. When Leonides was cast into prison, Origen would fain have shared his lot, but being unable to carry out his resolution, as his mother had hidden his clothes, he wrote an ardent, enthusiastic letter to his father exhorting him to persevere courageously. When Leonides had won the martyr's crown and his fortune had been confiscated by the imperial authorities, the heroic child laboured to support himself, his mother, and his six younger brothers. This he successfully accomplished by becoming a teacher, selling his manuscripts, and by the generous aid of a certain rich lady, who admired his talents. He assumed, of his own accord, the direction of the catechetical school, on the withdrawal of Clement, and in the following year was confirmed in his office by the patriarch Demetrius (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", VI, ii; St. Jerome, "De viris illust.", liv). Origen's school, which was frequented by pagans, soon became a nursery of neophytes, confessors, and martyrs. Among the latter were Plutarch, Serenus, Heraclides, Heron, another Serenus, and a female catechumen, Herais (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", VI, iv). He accompanied them to the scene of their victories encouraging them by his exhortations. There is nothing more touching than this picture Eusebius has drawn of Origen's youth, so studious, disinterested, austere and pure, ardent and zealous even to indiscretion (VI, iii and vi). Thrust thus at so early an age into the teacher's chair, he recognized the necessity of completing his education. Frequenting the philosophic schools, especially that of Ammonius Saccas, he devoted himself to a study of the philosophers, particularly Plato and the Stoics. In this he was but following the example of his predecessors Pantenus and Clement, and of Heracles, who was to succeed him. Afterwards, when the latter shared his labours in the catechetical school, he learned Hebrew, and communicated frequently with certain Jews who helped him to solve his difficulties.

Hebrews 2:9, according to Origen


(From Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown avalaible at - https://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/JamiesonFaussetBrown/jfb.cgi?book=heb&chapter=2#Heb2_9)

The commentary has this explosive statement:

The reading of ORIGEN, "That He without God" (laying aside His Divinity; or, for every being save God: or perhaps alluding to His having been temporarily "forsaken," as the Sin-bearer, by the Father on the cross), is not supported by the manuscripts.


The Verdict

Here are the facts of this example:


  • The Peshitta (and not the Western Peshitto) is the only version of the NT which has this reading.
  • Origen (185-232), a Greek from Alexandria quoted Hebrews 2:9 as found only in the Eastern Peshitta.
  • The Greeks changed their scriptures. Obviously, at the time of Origen the Alexandrian Greek version MUST have had this reading, agreeing with the Peshitta. NO surviving Alexandrian Greek (or, any other Greek) manuscript has this reading.
  • The book of Hebrews is the last book in the Eastern Canon, which has a different order than the Western Canon. This is strong evidence that the Peshitta existed, as is and complete, before 185 AD.
  • The Christological controversies which tore the Church apart at Ephesus and Chalcedon are impacted greatly by this discovery. Nestorius is vindicated. The Monophysites changed their scripture - bottom line. The reading did not agree with their theology, and they "modified" it.

The words of our late Patriarch, His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun, summarize it the best:

"....The Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision."


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11. RE: Sure!

Sep-05-2001 at 12:05 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #6
 
Dear Paul,

You write that this reading is only in eastern Pesitta:

"That He (Maran Eshoa), without God, tasted death for the sake of every person."

This suggests that the famous "Eli, Eli lmana sabachtani" means really that the greek based NTs says i.e. forsaken.
But George Lamsa states that sabachtani stands in first person singular, states that lmana can stand only in expression not in questions, and think it mean "My God, My God, for this I was kept."

He said forsaken is "nashatani" not "shabachtani".

What is the thruth with this?

Plíz, reply me....

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12. RE: Sure!

Sep-06-2001 at 07:24 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #11
 
Shlama Akhi,

If I understand correctly, you are wondering what the impact of the eastern Peshitta reading in Hebrews has on the last words of Christ on the cross - perhaps that it verifies the Greek reading of 'forsaken.'

I don't see any relation between the two. In my view of Christology, the humanity and divinity of Christ are separate, although united in one person.

To me, this reading in Hebrews justifies that Christology - God did not die that day on the Cross, His human nature (distinct from his divine nature) which he took from us did. That's what makes Him the only perfect sacrifice.

Having said that, I'd like to return to the last words on the cross. I disagree, as does nearly 100% of the Church of the East, with Lamsa's rendering of that verse.

I've nothing against the man, and (God rest his soul) he's not here to defend himself. I have nothing against the man, personally. But I do think his translation was marred by his own personal theology - a theology which greatly differed from the Church in which he was baptized, and the Church he mentions so often in his writings.

My rendering of the last words on the Cross are 'My God, my God, why have you spared me?', in the sense of 'lets get this over with.'

The word Shwaqthani (pronounced many different ways depending on dialect) can mean 'left me', but in this case it is best understood in it's alternate meaning - 'spared me.'

Hope this helps.

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13. RE: Sure!

Sep-07-2001 at 08:38 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #12
 
Dear Paul,

thank you the answer!

It is bad, I ordered a lot of Lamsa and Rocco books and I thought never that there can be so great difference between aramaic translations. If If I found this site sooner ....

I visited your site, Peshitta, it is great! What translations do you recommend, I have only the Lamsa's version of Peshitta..

What means "akhi" ?

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14. RE: Sure!

Sep-07-2001 at 03:30 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #13
 
Shlama Akhi Gabor,

"Akhi" means "my brother" in Aramaic, from the root "Akh" (brother.)

Books by Lamsa and Rocco are great to have in your collection - I have all of them in my personal library. I agree with Lamsa 90% of the time, I agree with Rocco 10% of the time.

The most important thing is to learn Aramaic, and compare the original Aramaic against all translations (the one on this site included.) All translations are imperfect. All human beings are, too. Don't trust me or anyone else.

That's one reason for the Interlinear text on this site. So you can see the Aramaic for yourself and judge what the proper meaning should be. Other tools we have developed here include a Lexicon and, most importantly, a Concordance. These are extremely useful when studying these things. You can see how a word is used everywhere it occurs.

So to answer your question, I don't recommend any translations. I recommend using the original. The Interlinear on this site will guide you, and since it has the original Aramaic underneath the English translation, it should be helpful. But again, always verify and study the Aramaic words independently of any translation.

I will translate things differently from Lamsa or Rocco or Ethridge. Other Aramaic speakers will translate differently from me. We are all prone to making mistakes or to not understanding something completely.

Translations are funny like that. That's why we have hundreds of English versions (and, hundreds of Greek versions.)


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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

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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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