Author Topic: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?  (Read 603 times)

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Offline Porter ODoran

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Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« on: December 30, 2015, 07:10:16 PM »
Today I was again browsing Gorgias Press's English translation of the Peshitta project (wishing I had that kind of money!), when I noticed the following succinct discussion of what the Peshitta is:

Quote
The Peshitta [New Testament] is not an independent translation from the Greek, but represents a process of revision of earlier Syriac versions (the Diatessaron and the Old Syriac), culminating in the early fifth century, after which the Peshitta became the standard form of the Gospel text for all the Syriac Churches. To produce the Peshitta, the ancient editor/s revised the text to bring it more in line with the Greek text, though traces of the earlier versions remain.

Now, I understand this is the "critical consensus" of secular academics, and that Gorgias is an academic press. However, I was hoping those here who use Syriac scriptures and liturgics could weigh in with traditional views or their own views, for the sake of someone with a real interest but very little knowledge of the subject.
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Offline wgw

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2015, 07:23:50 PM »
I am a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  My understanding is only a minority of people, like George Lamsa, hold to Peshitta Primacy, and I regard them as being, frankly, bonkers.  The Pwshitta is invaluable, and it might well preserve lost Syro-Aramaic readings, however, it is clearly a 4th century translation intended among other things to replace the horribly flawed Diatessaron.

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2015, 08:50:56 PM »
Now, what is the Diatessaron? I was under the impression that it's some kind of "harmony of the Gospels." Did Tatian just whittle the four books down to only the parallel passages and then translate those into Aramaic?
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2015, 09:46:07 PM »
Now, what is the Diatessaron? I was under the impression that it's some kind of "harmony of the Gospels." Did Tatian just whittle the four books down to only the parallel passages and then translate those into Aramaic?

Something like that.  While the original is lost, reconstructions are available online, and the result is extremely boring.  Tatian basically just ruined them IMO; aside from being a Gnostic, he was also a bore of epic proportions.

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2015, 10:41:00 PM »
Now, what is the Diatessaron? I was under the impression that it's some kind of "harmony of the Gospels." Did Tatian just whittle the four books down to only the parallel passages and then translate those into Aramaic?

Something like that.  While the original is lost, reconstructions are available online, and the result is extremely boring.  Tatian basically just ruined them IMO; aside from being a Gnostic, he was also a bore of epic proportions.

Funny. I would expect that gnostics are generally very animated, life-of-the-party kind of guys!

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 02:08:18 AM »
The Peshitta is very much like the Vulgate is in Latin - the end product of several translations of the original Greek and revisions of  those translations. The traditional colophons at the end of the Gospels in the NT text in the Bible Societies' Peshitta indicate that the Gospel was preached in other languages than Greek by Matthew and Mark. For instance, at the end of Matthew, we read "The end of the Holy Gospel, the proclamation of Mattai (=Matthew) the Apostle, who spoke in Hebrew (= 'ebrait, "in the Hebrew manner"> in Palestine." Similarly at the end of Mark "... who spoke in Latin (= rhomait, "in the Roman manner") in Rome." Whether that implies the original languages of the written text to have been Hebrew and Latin, respectively, I'm not sure.

Regarding the Diatessaron, it is much more than just a harmony of the Gospels - it was the liturgical text of the Gospels in use in most of the Syriac-speaking world before the Peshitta gained widespread acceptance. St. Ephrem the Syrian even wrote a commentary on it (a source for much of the Syriac text).
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 03:02:44 AM »
Now, what is the Diatessaron? I was under the impression that it's some kind of "harmony of the Gospels." Did Tatian just whittle the four books down to only the parallel passages and then translate those into Aramaic?

Something like that.  While the original is lost, reconstructions are available online, and the result is extremely boring.  Tatian basically just ruined them IMO; aside from being a Gnostic, he was also a bore of epic proportions.

Funny. I would expect that gnostics are generally very animated, life-of-the-party kind of guys!

How can you be the life of the party when matter is evil and 99.999% of people are irredeemable, stupid, material beings lacking the divine spark?   Gnosticism is in my opinion deeply misanthropic.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 03:23:49 AM »
The Peshitta is very much like the Vulgate is in Latin - the end product of several translations of the original Greek and revisions of  those translations. The traditional colophons at the end of the Gospels in the NT text in the Bible Societies' Peshitta indicate that the Gospel was preached in other languages than Greek by Matthew and Mark. For instance, at the end of Matthew, we read "The end of the Holy Gospel, the proclamation of Mattai (=Matthew) the Apostle, who spoke in Hebrew (= 'ebrait, "in the Hebrew manner"> in Palestine." Similarly at the end of Mark "... who spoke in Latin (= rhomait, "in the Roman manner") in Rome." Whether that implies the original languages of the written text to have been Hebrew and Latin, respectively, I'm not sure.

Regarding the Diatessaron, it is much more than just a harmony of the Gospels - it was the liturgical text of the Gospels in use in most of the Syriac-speaking world before the Peshitta gained widespread acceptance. St. Ephrem the Syrian even wrote a commentary on it (a source for much of the Syriac text).

Thank you. Those colophons from the Peshitta itself (if I'm understanding you correctly) are very interesting.

Well, there's a Jewish faction (very small I'm sure) that holds the Syriac tradition to be superior to the Masoretic. (Obviously they do not believe the original manuscripts weren't Hebrew.) So I suppose that, along with just the tendency of religious populations to identify strongly with their chosen text, got me thinking perhaps there are Christians who also hold a doctrine of Peshitta primacy.

Back to your comment, I remember reading in the Papias fragments that St. Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew. Later I learned that other Fathers say similar things and that St. Jerome reported seeing a copy. It's a fascinating idea that could open up a few questions about the Greek textual tradition.
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Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 10:16:21 AM »
It is my impression - and it is just that - that belief in the "Peshitta primacy" of the NT is not-uncommon in the Assyrian/Ancient Church of the East. Some make a big deal out of using "the language of Jesus" - though I have seen this in other Syriac churches, too.
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2016, 11:02:30 AM »
The language of Jesus was English, and is faithfully preserved in the King James Version of the Bible.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2016, 01:25:07 PM »
The language of Jesus was English, and is faithfully preserved in the King James Version of the Bible.

Hey now! When I was growing up, we knew Adam and Eve spoke Luther's German. ;)
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2016, 03:38:54 PM »
I am a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  My understanding is only a minority of people, like George Lamsa, hold to Peshitta Primacy, and I regard them as being, frankly, bonkers.  The Pwshitta is invaluable, and it might well preserve lost Syro-Aramaic readings, however, it is clearly a 4th century translation intended among other things to replace the horribly flawed Diatessaron.
Does the SOC use the Septuagint and the Greek NT as its official Bible then?
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2016, 04:10:48 PM »
The language of Jesus was English, and is faithfully preserved in the King James Version of the Bible.
LOL
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2016, 07:20:31 PM »
I've seen some of those overly phylosemitic Christians saying Jesus actually spoke Hebrew, and the reason we think it was Aramaic is that it was miswritten in the Bible. The reason was  that Aramaic was apparently too low for Mashiach to speak. :laugh:

You know your love for the language of Moshe has gone too far when it defies Bible infallibility.
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2016, 07:28:55 PM »
The language of Jesus was English, and is faithfully preserved in the King James Version of the Bible.
LOL

And of course John the Baptist was a Baptist; the Bible says so!
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2016, 10:08:35 PM »
The language of Jesus was English, and is faithfully preserved in the King James Version of the Bible.

Epic deadpan. 

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2016, 10:09:05 PM »
I am a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  My understanding is only a minority of people, like George Lamsa, hold to Peshitta Primacy, and I regard them as being, frankly, bonkers.  The Pwshitta is invaluable, and it might well preserve lost Syro-Aramaic readings, however, it is clearly a 4th century translation intended among other things to replace the horribly flawed Diatessaron.
Does the SOC use the Septuagint and the Greek NT as its official Bible then?

No.  Why would we?

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2016, 10:10:47 PM »
The language of Jesus was English, and is faithfully preserved in the King James Version of the Bible.
LOL

And of course John the Baptist was a Baptist; the Bible says so!

And He brews tells us that the man brews the coffee.
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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2016, 10:12:45 PM »
I am a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  My understanding is only a minority of people, like George Lamsa, hold to Peshitta Primacy, and I regard them as being, frankly, bonkers.  The Pwshitta is invaluable, and it might well preserve lost Syro-Aramaic readings, however, it is clearly a 4th century translation intended among other things to replace the horribly flawed Diatessaron.
Does the SOC use the Septuagint and the Greek NT as its official Bible then?

No.  Why would we?


You don't?
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2016, 10:20:30 PM »
I am a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  My understanding is only a minority of people, like George Lamsa, hold to Peshitta Primacy, and I regard them as being, frankly, bonkers.  The Pwshitta is invaluable, and it might well preserve lost Syro-Aramaic readings, however, it is clearly a 4th century translation intended among other things to replace the horribly flawed Diatessaron.
Does the SOC use the Septuagint and the Greek NT as its official Bible then?

No.  Why would we?
Oh, I misunderstood you. The SOC does use the Peshitta as her official Bible, but most don't hold to its primacy; the belief that the Aramaic was written before the Greek. Correct?

While we are on the subject, does anyone know what body of Greek NT manuscripts my own Church uses? I'm assuming its the Alexandrian codex, yes?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2016, 10:34:11 PM »
I am a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  My understanding is only a minority of people, like George Lamsa, hold to Peshitta Primacy, and I regard them as being, frankly, bonkers.  The Pwshitta is invaluable, and it might well preserve lost Syro-Aramaic readings, however, it is clearly a 4th century translation intended among other things to replace the horribly flawed Diatessaron.
Does the SOC use the Septuagint and the Greek NT as its official Bible then?

No.  Why would we?
Oh, I misunderstood you. The SOC does use the Peshitta as her official Bible, but most don't hold to its primacy; the belief that the Aramaic was written before the Greek. Correct?

While we are on the subject, does anyone know what body of Greek NT manuscripts my own Church uses? I'm assuming its the Alexandrian codex, yes?

There's a vein of polemics or apologetics for the critical scholarship that chooses to conflate two different terms "Alexandrian." "Alexandrian" can, rarely, refer to the liturgical tradition of the Copts, which was not of interest to critical scholars, or it can, as officially in academia, refer to two codices with unusual characteristics that Tischendorf et al. decided were to be a new standard, and vigorously opposed to church traditions, as supposedly older than manuscripts supporting traditions. No versions presently rely on that Alexandrian text-type, as the versions produced by Tischendorf, Lachmann, Westcott, even tho not entirely based on them, proved too controversial and deficient. All the same, the superiority of this so-called Alexandrian text-type (again, based on two seemingly-defective MSS.) is still given wide lip-service in academics.

Cue WGW's rebuttal in 3 ... 2 ...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 10:35:17 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline sestir

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2016, 07:43:00 AM »
[...] or it can, as officially in academia, refer to two codices with unusual characteristics that Tischendorf et al. decided were to be a new standard, and vigorously opposed to church traditions, as supposedly older than manuscripts supporting traditions. [...]

Is there an official statement from an institution (which institution can represent all of academia?) defining the Alexandrian textual type? Where?
Two codices? The wikipedia-page lists 19 manuscripts that it consider "notable".
What church traditions? Do you mean its opposition to baptism of infants that is supported by some byzantine and western manuscripts in Acts 8:37 (because the man was supposed to express a creed before being baptized which is hard for infants to do)? This is absent in Tischendorf and the Alexandrian (and Peshitta).

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2016, 08:35:56 AM »
I am a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  My understanding is only a minority of people, like George Lamsa, hold to Peshitta Primacy, and I regard them as being, frankly, bonkers.  The Pwshitta is invaluable, and it might well preserve lost Syro-Aramaic readings, however, it is clearly a 4th century translation intended among other things to replace the horribly flawed Diatessaron.
Does the SOC use the Septuagint and the Greek NT as its official Bible then?

No.  Why would we?
Oh, I misunderstood you. The SOC does use the Peshitta as her official Bible, but most don't hold to its primacy; the belief that the Aramaic was written before the Greek. Correct?


I can't speak for most Syriac Orthodox; I do know among the Assyrians (Church of the East) there is rather too much Peshitta-primacy (George Lamsa IIRC was of the East Syriac persuasion).

Quote

While we are on the subject, does anyone know what body of Greek NT manuscripts my own Church uses? I'm assuming its the Alexandrian codex, yes?

No.  The Alexandrian text type leaves much to be desired; my understanding is that everyone, Copts included, leans on the Byzantine text type to some extent.  There are several interesting ancient Coptic manuscriot traditions, but I can't remember the specifics.  Amusingly my English language Agpeya appears to use the KJV, and I frankly have no problems with that.

There's a vein of polemics or apologetics for the critical scholarship that chooses to conflate two different terms "Alexandrian." "Alexandrian" can, rarely, refer to the liturgical tradition of the Copts, which was not of interest to critical scholars, or it can, as officially in academia, refer to two codices with unusual characteristics that Tischendorf et al. decided were to be a new standard, and vigorously opposed to church traditions, as supposedly older than manuscripts supporting traditions. No versions presently rely on that Alexandrian text-type, as the versions produced by Tischendorf, Lachmann, Westcott, even tho not entirely based on them, proved too controversial and deficient. All the same, the superiority of this so-called Alexandrian text-type (again, based on two seemingly-defective MSS.) is still given wide lip-service in academics.

Cue WGW's rebuttal in 3 ... 2 ...

Why should I offer a rebuttal against a statement that I happen to agree with?  As a general rule, if you wish to debate aomething with me, it helps, as a starting point, if you will pardon the cheekiness, to be wrong.    8)

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does the Peshitta New Testament derive from the Greek?
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2016, 05:42:43 PM »
[...] or it can, as officially in academia, refer to two codices with unusual characteristics that Tischendorf et al. decided were to be a new standard, and vigorously opposed to church traditions, as supposedly older than manuscripts supporting traditions. [...]

Is there an official statement from an institution (which institution can represent all of academia?) defining the Alexandrian textual type? Where?
Two codices? The wikipedia-page lists 19 manuscripts that it consider "notable".

"Alexandrian" text-type was a coinage of the nascent Higher Criticism, being Vaticanus and Sinaiticus to Mr. Tischendorf, but Vaticanus, Ephraimi, and Regius to Bp. Westcott. In recent times, to bolster the Criticism in the face of various opposition and popular scandal, "Alexandrian" was merged by pro-criticism scholars (the secretive group at Muenich, i.e., Mr. and Mrs. Aland et al.) with their "Neutral" text-type, yielding about 30 MSS. No published edition or version represents either text-type, however, as any of the Alexandrian and the Neutral MSS has little more in common with the rest of their type than the fact of various deficiencies in comparison to traditional texts.

Quote
What church traditions?

The tradition of what the Gospel comprises, as recorded in church-owned manuscripts (among the 9,000 "Byzantine"-type MSS) and preserved in Church liturgics. A scholarly modern survey of these can be found in e.g. Farstad and Hodges or Karavidopolous (the Ecumenical Patriarchate edition).

Quote
Do you mean its opposition to baptism of infants that is supported by some byzantine and western manuscripts in Acts 8:37 (because the man was supposed to express a creed before being baptized which is hard for infants to do)? This is absent in Tischendorf and the Alexandrian (and Peshitta).

How humorous of you.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 05:45:36 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy