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Author Topic: What Bible do Oriental Orthodox Christians read?  (Read 5631 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: December 31, 2005, 05:02:19 AM »

In the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, to which I belong, we use an English translation of the Aramaic Peshitta in our liturgy. But when it comes to English versions of the Peshitta that are available in stores, I can only find the Lamsa Bible, which many say is a questionable translation. Are there any other English version of the Aramaic available? Furthermore, what other Bibles are widely read in Oriental Orthodoxy?

Peace.
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2005, 11:43:32 AM »

I think it would be better if you qualified your statement by saying this was not the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church as a whole, or even the whole diocese, but simply your parish.  I've never heard of the Lamsa translation being used in our churches here, although perhaps some do.  Although the Peshitto remains our official translation, it is more common in the States to use more "standard" translations, and even then there is not always uniformity--one parish may use several translations, depending on what Bibles they have on hand.  My parish, for example, uses the NKJV (Orthodox Study Bible) for the Gospel, but the other NT readings are usually from the NRSV, while the OT readings may either be from that or from the NIV (yikes).  Other parishes use these or similar translations.  Some even use the "Good News Bible" (double yikes) because of the facility of the language (my priest uses it on occasion because the version he has is very large print, and it is easier for him to read...anyone know of a decent translation that is printed in very large print, kinda like the large print Reader's Digest made for the sight impaired?  That would REALLY help). 
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2005, 02:32:50 PM »

St. Mesrob Mashtots invented the Armenian alphabet in the early fifth century.  After that, he and a group of translators translated the liturgy and the Bible into Armenian.  Before that, the liturgy and Bible readings were done in Syriac.  When they translated the Bible into Armenian, they initially translated it from the Syriac Bible.  (I don't know if that was the Peshitto.)  However, St. Mesrob later obtained a Greek Septuagint Bible and reworked his translation to make it agree with the Septuagint.  My understanding is that the Armenian Church today considers the Septuagint to be the authoritative Old Testament. 

the Modern Armenian language has two major dialects: Western and Eastern.  The Armenians in Iran and Armenia speak the Eastern dialect. Those whose ancestors came from what is today eastern Turkey speak the Western dialect.  I speak Western.  The two dialects are very different, with different verb conjugations, etc.  Consequently, they are written differently. 

Unfortunately, the Septuagint version of the Bible is only available in Modern Armenian in the Eastern dialect.  It has not been translated into the Western.  Consequently, if someone wants a Western Armenian Bible, it has to be the translation done a long time ago by the Protestants.  It is the Masoretic version, and scholars say it is a poor translation even of that.  I pray for the day when a proper translation of the Septuagint comes out in Western Armenian and also in English!
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2006, 12:00:42 AM »

I think it would be better if you qualified your statement by saying this was not the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church as a whole, or even the whole diocese, but simply your parish.ÂÂ  I've never heard of the Lamsa translation being used in our churches here, although perhaps some do.

It's not the Lamsa Bible that is used, as far as I know, but some other translation of the Aramaic. But when it comes to actually finding a translation of the Aramaic in stores, the Lamsa Bible is the only one available.
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2006, 08:19:59 AM »


Unfortunately, the Septuagint version of the Bible is only available in Modern Armenian in the Eastern dialect.ÂÂ  It has not been translated into the Western.ÂÂ  Consequently, if someone wants a Western Armenian Bible, it has to be the translation done a long time ago by the Protestants.ÂÂ  It is the Masoretic version, and scholars say it is a poor translation even of that.ÂÂ  I pray for the day when a proper translation of the Septuagint comes out in Western Armenian and also in English!

Salpy there's Zareh Srpazan's translation of the new testament which is better than that old version and better than any english translation i've ever read! Zareh Srpazan past away leaving the OT translation unfinished. I know the group he was working with are still working on finishing it.
But just like u said i pray that one day the Bible gets published (NT+OT) in western armenian and in pocket size Smiley

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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2006, 06:21:57 PM »

djrak,

I think I know which New Testament you are talking about.  It is the pocket sized, Western Armenian translation from the Classical Armenian.  You're right, it's great.  I had no idea they were working on translating the Old Testament also.  That is very good news!  It would be great to have the complete Bible in both dialects!

Here's a weird side note:  We have quite a few Armenian Jehovah's Witnesses in our area.  Now and then they come to our church's bookstore to buy their Bibles.  I asked my priest about this and he said to go ahead and sell to them.  He thinks maybe God is bringing them to our church for a reason.  They are polite when they come to the bookstore, not aggressive or insulting (unlike some of the more mainline Protestants who come by) and so I sell them Bibles.

The weird thing is, they are almost all Eastern Armenian speakers and yet they always want to buy Western Armenian Bibles.  I couldn't figure this out for the longest time.  Then one day it was pointed out to me that the Western Armenian translation, which was done by Protestants relying on the Masoretic, is closer to the Jehovah's Witness Bible than the Eastern Armenian, which was done by our Church and is from the Septuagint.  The Jehovah's Witness "New World" Bible was never translated into Armenian and I guess the Western Armenian translation is the closest they have.  Specifically, there are a couple of places in the Old Testament where in the Eastern Armenian (Septuagint) Bible it reads, "Der" ("Lord") where in the Western (Masoretic) it reads "Yehovah."  Yet another reason I am looking forward to the day a proper Western Armenian Bible based on the Septuagint comes out.
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2006, 12:00:33 AM »

djrak,

I think I know which New Testament you are talking about.ÂÂ  It is the pocket sized, Western Armenian translation from the Classical Armenian.ÂÂ  You're right, it's great.ÂÂ  I had no idea they were working on translating the Old Testament also.ÂÂ  That is very good news!ÂÂ  It would be great to have the complete Bible in both dialects!

the new translation has the large size version too, and there is also another version of the complete Bible that was published on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary but the only problem with that one is that it is HUGE!

Quote
Here's a weird side note:ÂÂ  We have quite a few Armenian Jehovah's Witnesses in our area.ÂÂ  Now and then they come to our church's bookstore to buy their Bibles.ÂÂ  I asked my priest about this and he said to go ahead and sell to them.ÂÂ  He thinks maybe God is bringing them to our church for a reason.ÂÂ  They are polite when they come to the bookstore, not aggressive or insulting (unlike some of the more mainline Protestants who come by) and so I sell them Bibles.

The weird thing is, they are almost all Eastern Armenian speakers and yet they always want to buy Western Armenian Bibles.ÂÂ  I couldn't figure this out for the longest time.ÂÂ  Then one day it was pointed out to me that the Western Armenian translation, which was done by Protestants relying on the Masoretic, is closer to the Jehovah's Witness Bible than the Eastern Armenian, which was done by our Church and is from the Septuagint.ÂÂ  The Jehovah's Witness "New World" Bible was never translated into Armenian and I guess the Western Armenian translation is the closest they have.ÂÂ  Specifically, there are a couple of places in the Old Testament where in the Eastern Armenian (Septuagint) Bible it reads, "Der" ("Lord") where in the Western (Masoretic) it reads "Yehovah."ÂÂ  Yet another reason I am looking forward to the day a proper Western Armenian Bible based on the Septuagint comes out.
hah! that's interresting, Eastern armenian JW's buying the western armenian bible just cos it has "Jehova" in it.  Roll Eyes
your priest is right just show them Christ's love and keep your calm, getting into disputes wont get anyone anywhere (that's why i dont post that much here anymore, it's useless)
when i truly grasped the meaning of the "WORD" and that it will only become alive if i put it into action, i stopped discussing theological stuff and started shutting my mouth and working for the one who loves me so much and i found life more abundantly. Pray for me. God Bless.
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2006, 03:49:32 AM »

I don't think it's easy to answer that.  I suppose we will all say that we commonly use the LXX version, which was probably translated into other languages for peoples around the world to read (in the OO case, many cultures, in the EO case, primarily Byzantine and then many cultures).  A Coptic bishop I heard once say that he can't wait until the Orthodox Study Bible comes out with the Old Testament, so that he doesn't have to "recommend" the "best" English translations available to us.

God bless.

Mina

PS  When is the OSB OT coming out anyway?
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2006, 05:47:02 AM »

Does anyone know of an English translation of the Aramaic that isn't the Lamsa Bible?
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2006, 11:28:04 PM »

Does anyone know of an English translation of the Aramaic that isn't the Lamsa Bible?

The website Syriac Orthodox Resources (http://sor.cua.edu/Bible/index.html) says:

The Syriac Bible is available today from the United Bible Societies. The Peshitta Institute at Leiden is preparing a new annotated English translation of the Peshitta Old Testament (NEATSB, or The New English Annotated Translation of the Syriac Bible).

In Christ,
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2006, 07:58:56 AM »

I recently ordered the Lamsa Bible from Amazon. Are there any other English translations of the Bible that were exclusively done by Orthodox Christians?
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2006, 06:05:26 PM »

Does anyone know of an English translation of the Aramaic that isn't the Lamsa Bible?

Yes this is something I've looked into myself.  ÃƒÆ’‚ And I own two LAmsa's books (the regular and the delux study), I know the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch has a transaltion of their New Testament Peshitto.
It was selling for $40.00


I don't know much about it.  ÃƒÆ’‚ Like what commenatries, footnotes etc. are in it.  ÃƒÆ’‚ I would look at their online bookstores.   I've been having trouble locating that, I will try to ask Syriac expert, George Kiraz this.


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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2006, 10:56:35 PM »

Check this out:

The Syriac New Testament (Hardcover)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0971598681/qid=1136775096/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-8857525-5502515?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Syriac New Testament-FL-Peshita (Hardcover)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/090018552X/qid=1136775096/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-8857525-5502515?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2006, 11:48:09 AM »



I'll take a look.    The first time I looked at the links it crashed me (It's gettin about that time to do some serious spyware, malware sweeps).


But I'll post this just in case that hampens on round 2.


Gorgias Press Recommended me this, when I emailed them a few days ago.



We recommend Murdock's "The New Testament:
A
Literal Translation from the Syriac Peshitto Version".


And the lady who recommended it was

Miss Divya Jagasia
Gorgias Press
Customer Service Department
46 Orris Ave.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: + 1 732-699-0343
Fax: + 1 732-699-0342


So I help that helps.   Now to try those links of yours again.   Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2006, 11:58:48 AM »



Well It's interesting.   The first one looks the closest to the one recommended.    It may be even be the same book, but I suspect it's maybe a later version.   Because I understood the one they recommended was just by Murdock, and not the other two authors.    It also is advertised as a "literal translation", while this one doesn't appear to make that claim.


The Second one is interesting.    One the below data it gave the mention that customers intersted in this product may be interested in "Mar Banai Soro".    Who I know is a bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East.    He actually lives in my city, San Jose California.    So this is possibly East Syrian.   I however never got so familiar with the scripts to be able to tell East and West at a glance.    I'm basically and English only reader, who occasionally reads an interlinear like the one Paul Younan of Peshitta.org was writing.


So the first one, and you can talk to the lady at Gorgias at compare your amazon pick to what they are recommending....
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2006, 11:44:44 PM »

This isn't something that I know too much about but I do own a Lamsa Bible.
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« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2006, 09:14:35 PM »


Well It's interesting.   The first one looks the closest to the one recommended.    It may be even be the same book, but I suspect it's maybe a later version.   Because I understood the one they recommended was just by Murdock, and not the other two authors.    It also is advertised as a "literal translation", while this one doesn't appear to make that claim.


The Second one is interesting.    One the below data it gave the mention that customers intersted in this product may be interested in "Mar Banai Soro".    Who I know is a bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East.    He actually lives in my city, San Jose California.    So this is possibly East Syrian.   I however never got so familiar with the scripts to be able to tell East and West at a glance.    I'm basically and English only reader, who occasionally reads an interlinear like the one Paul Younan of Peshitta.org was writing.


So the first one, and you can talk to the lady at Gorgias at compare your amazon pick to what they are recommending....

If you know western usage of Syriac (called 'Serto') you can read east Syriac with little practise. Both are essentially the same, but pronunciation slightly different due to difference in usage of vowels etc. While learning Syriac few years back I could read both East and West Syriac.

-Paul
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2006, 01:46:09 AM »

I just bought the Lamsa bible- what are the criticisms of it?  I was hoping to get a more "Middle Eastern" take on things....
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2006, 03:51:39 AM »

I just bought the Lamsa bible- what are the criticisms of it?ÂÂ  I was hoping to get a more "Middle Eastern" take on things....

Most criticisms come only from Western scholars who would rather falsely attack Lamsa's character than address his scholarship. Personally, I believe that it is the best complete translation of the Bible out there and that it can enrich the faith of any Christian who reads it.

Peace.
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2006, 01:39:54 AM »

Regarding the Armenian script.
It may be a good Idea to do some research. For those interested most of the characters were not "invented" but adapted from the Ethiopic Laguage. I have a close business associate who is Armenian and he suprised me with his awareness of this.

"We are all closer to each other than we are willing to fully accept". As stated by my Armenian associate.
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2006, 03:19:51 AM »

Actually I have heard something like that too.  Evidently no one knows exactly what process St. Mesrob went through in developing the Armenian alphabet, but the shape of the Armenian letters bear some resemblance to the shape of the letters of the Ethiopian alphabet.  This has led some scholars to argue that St. Mesrob must have come into contact with Ethiopians at some point (perhaps while visiting Jerusalem) and that he was thus influenced.  I know I have to do a "double-take" whenever I see something written in the Ethiopian alphabet (I am sorry I don't recall the proper word for the language--Is it Gheez?)  There is a resemblance, although they are not the same alphabet. Evidently, there is also some influence from the Greek alphabet as well
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2006, 03:44:43 AM »

O.K., just for fun I am going to post links to both alphabets so people can see and compare them.  Like I said, there is a resemblance.  Also, I think the word for the modern Ethiopian language is Amharic.  Is Gheez the ancient, or classical, form of Amharic?

Here are the alphabets:

Armenian:

 http://www.hyeetch.nareg.com.au/armenians/language_p2.html

Amharic:

http://pandora.cii.wwu.edu/vajda/ling201/writingsystems/amharicalphabet.htm

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« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2006, 09:58:24 AM »

I always thought that the Coptic Orthodox Church simply used a Coptic translation of the LXX, but I discovered I was wrong. In fact, the OT of the Coptic Church has certain verses that do not exist in either the LXX or the Masoretic. As I was looking through my english translation of the Pascha service I discovered that the Sixth hour Psalm in fact reads:

"They have rejected I, the beloved one, as an abominable dead carcass; they have pierced my body with nails."

The Pascha service book references this line to Psalm 37/38 verses 20-22.
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« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2006, 10:10:55 AM »

I should make the point however, that although the above verse is unfounded in the Masoretic and LXX versions of the OT, there is nonetheless support for it in the Ancient tradition of the Church; it is apparently attested to by certain Fathers, including Sts. Ambrose and Augustine, and even other figures such as Theodoret of Cyrus apparently.
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« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2006, 06:42:24 AM »

Quote from: Salpy
Like I said, there is a resemblance.

Dear Salpy, I think it is a noble idea to discuss about our different languages. As far as I am concerned, I had no clue what Armanain script as well as language is like prior to this. Neverthless, I do not really see much resemblance one can talk about from the links you provided. I just saw two or more scripts which are similar in shape but different in their sounds, other than that I do not seem much similarity; unless I am missing something.  

Quote
Also, I think the word for the modern Ethiopian language is Amharic. Is Gheez the ancient, or classical, form of Amharic?

Yea, Amharic is the language predominantly used in the contemporary Ethiopia and it evolved from Geez approximately 500 years ago ; kind of like as French is derived from Latin. These days Geez is becoming an extinct language and is mainly used for liturgy service in Ethiopian and Eritrean, I believe but not quite sure, churches.

Can you tell us a little more about Armenian script as well as the language so that we will be a little bit more familiar with it if you do not mind?





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« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2006, 11:05:10 PM »

http://www.armeniaemb.org/DiscoverArmenia/LanguageLiterature/Index.htm

The above site gives a little more information about the Armenian language.  It is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages.  There are two main dialects: Eastern and Western.  Eastern Armenian is spoken by Armenians in the Republic of Armenia and Iran.  The Western dialect is spoken by Armenians whose ancestors lived in what is today Eastern Turkey, prior to the Genocide.  I speak Western Armenian.  

With regard to the alphabets, all I can say is that whenever I have quickly glanced at something written in Amharic, I've had to take a second look and say to myself, "Gee, that looked like Armenian."  It therefore didn't surprise me when I was first told of the theory that St. Mesrob was influenced by the alphabet of the Ethiopians.  You are right, though.  They are clearly not the same alphabet.
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« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2006, 01:53:12 PM »

....interesting; thanks for the info., Salpy.
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« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2006, 12:44:45 AM »

It is a fact that the Armenian Language is using the Ethiopian Feadel.

Armenians have their own language thus the way of pronouncing the sounds in many cases are unique to Armenian. But some sounds are still the same as The Ethiopian. Compare English letters used for various other languages...IE 'Qalot'. "Qalot" means words in Amharic but only anthor Amharic speaker who also knows English would know this word; an Englishman would recognize the letters but not the word or its meaning. Thats the point.

Their is an interesting book on this; I have to find it. I did not take the book to seriously when I first read it. I wish I had.
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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