Aramaic Originals?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by timothy 1769, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
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    from www.peshitta.org:

    "With reference to....the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that 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."

    Mar Eshai Shimun

    by Grace, Catholicos Patriarch of the East

    April 5, 1957

    ---

    What do you think? Doesn't it seem reasonable that the gospels would have been written in the language Jesus actually spoke?
     
  2. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    They were certainly spoken at some level in Aramaic but written INITIALLY??

    The bottom line is that we do not have OLD Aramaic texts - the oldest "Peshita" dates to about 400 AD and the oldest complete text (Ambrosianus ?) dates to about 700 AD.

    What we've got is written in Syriac, not Palestinian Aramaic and is about 350-400 years after Christ. So nothing in Aramaic is really definitive - certainly not compared to the 4 Greek gospels.
     
  3. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
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    Can we prove the originals were in Greek? Or is it merely an extra-biblical supposition well supported by the available evidence?
     
  4. Spirit and Truth

    Spirit and Truth
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    Timothy questioned:

    Can we prove the originals were in Greek? Or is it merely an extra-biblical supposition well supported by the available evidence?

    S&T:

    There are first century fragments in Greek. The Peshitta is written in estrangelo script. The apostles would have written in block asshuri.
     
  5. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    Obviously no proof is available!

    Linguistic experts have "detected" numerous "semitisms" in the Gospels. This could reflect either:

    1. An Aramaic original.
    2. Greek original written by someone whose native tongue was Aramaic.

    The second seems much more likely! Consider that the Greek Gospels are thought to have been composed between roughly 70 and 90 AD. Paul's letters antedated this! If more primitive forms existed they would perhaps have been assimilated by churches - as were Paul's letters.

    Consider that the Gospels were designed to be witness documents for Christ. Greek would have been a much more effective tool for doing that than would Aramaic!
     
  6. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
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    It's interesting to think about. But here's a little twist - could we consider an appeal to the "perfect Greek originals" to be a disguised form of onlyism? What if the originals weren't in Greek at all? Then many would be guilty of raising a mere translation to the level of the inspired originals. And how could one compel another Christian in this matter? After all, there's no biblical proof that the originals were in Greek. Perhaps ultimately it's just a matter of opinion and faith.

    Sound familiar? ;)
     
  7. rbrent

    rbrent
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    I've always wondered why, if Aramaic was so commonly spoken in the Palestine of Jesus' day, did Pontius Pilate write the inscription on Jesus' cross

    "...in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin." John 19:20

    Why not Aramaic?
     
  8. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
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    I've read that the term 'Hebrew' just meant the language of the Hebrews - i.e. what the Hebrews spoke, Aramaic.
     
  9. robycop3

    robycop3
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    I've read that the term 'Hebrew' just meant the language of the Hebrews - i.e. what the Hebrews spoke, Aramaic. </font>[/QUOTE]BUT-

    When Jesus cried, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" which is Aramaic, few people who heard Him, including many Jews, understood the meaning of His words. Seems that Aramaic was the language that international merchants & traders used among each other, so the fishermen apostles most likely knew it, as did Jesus, a carpenter by trade. (as well as in His capacity of Creator of the languages!)
     
  10. Spirit and Truth

    Spirit and Truth
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    Roby:

    When Jesus cried, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" which is Aramaic, few people who heard Him, including many Jews, understood the meaning of His words. Seems that Aramaic was the language that international merchants & traders used among each other, so the fishermen apostles most likely knew it, as did Jesus, a carpenter by trade. (as well as in His capacity of Creator of the languages!)

    S&T:

    From the study that I have done, it appears that Greek was the language of commerce, and that Aramaic was the common language of the Jews. Hebrew was spoken in the Temple by the priests. When Paul addressed the centurion in Acts, he did so in Greek. When he addressed his people in the street, many scholars have said that it was Aramaic.
    It has been stated that Paul as a Roman citizen would have to know Greek and Latin, as a pharisee would have been trained in Hebrew, and spoke Aramaic as the common language of his people.
     
  11. Spirit and Truth

    Spirit and Truth
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    http://sor.cua.edu/Bible/OldSyriac.html

    The Old Syriac is known in Syriac as Evangelion Dampharshe meaning 'Gospel of the Separated [Evangelists]', in order to distinguish it from the Diatessaron, 'Gospel of the Mixed'. This translation was made at some point between the late second century and the early fourth century by a number of translators. Rather a literal translation, this was a rather free translation from the Greek


    http://sor.cua.edu/Bible/Peshitto.html

    In the early fifth century, the long process of revising the Old Syriac came to a halt, culminating in the Peshitto version. Hence, the Peshitto is not a new translation, but rather a revision of the Old Syriac Gospels. However, the Peshitto also contains the rest of the books of the New Testament except for the Minor Catholic Epistles (2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Jude) and Revelation. To this day, readings from these books are not read in Syriac Churches. In the Peshitto manuscripts, the Catholic Epistles are placed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles.

    The word Peshitto in Syriac means 'simple' or 'clear'. It was given this epithet in order to distinguish it from later versions, especially the Harklean which was a literal translation of the Greek resulting in obscure Syriac.

    The Peshitto was able to triumph over all its rivals and became the authorized text of all the Syriac Churches to this day: Syrian Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Maronite, Chaldaean, etc. Consequently, hundreds of Peshitto manuscripts survive with little variation between them. This, however, did not prevent Syriac churchmen from producing two further revisions: The Philoxenian and Harklean.
     
  12. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
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    Eli is also a shortened form of Eliyahu, or Elijah.
     

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