Author Topic: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English  (Read 378 times)

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Offline andrewlya

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The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« on: April 17, 2016, 11:53:29 AM »
Hi, what is the best English translation of the Bible? I would like to know the closest translation to the original Greek language, without any added words (as in some Bible translations). Is "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English" acceotable for Orthodox readers?
Thanks
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2016, 12:04:32 PM »
The Peshitta was actually a translation from Greek, indeed. Wgw and Mor can probably recommend you the best Peshitta translation, I know this site, with three English translations aligned to many other NT versions and even transliteration (that is, roughly how you should pronounce) of the original Aramaic.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 12:07:37 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2016, 12:20:47 PM »
I don't know anything about the translation you linked, but reading the blurb on Amazon lets me know enough to be suspicious of its accuracy. The Peshitta is written in Syriac, a form of Aramaic. Jesus presumably spoke Palestinian Aramaic (PA). Syriac is NOT Palestinian Aramaic. Syriac belongs to the Eastern half of the Aramaic family, whereas PA is in the Western half. Furthermore, the fact that the blurb pronounces our Lord's name "Eesho" reveals that it is Eastern Syriac, spoken in ancient times in Iraq and modern Turkey, whereas Western Syriac would have been geographically closer to the Holy Land. This translation is probably from the fringe "Aramaic primacy" school of NT studies, which enjoys a certain enthusiasm among members of the Assyrian and Ancient Churches of the East.
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Offline andrewlya

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2016, 05:28:58 PM »
As long as it is the closest translation I can find id would be happy ith it. Ive heard some translations of the Bible have added words in it, words that can't be found in original Greek Bible, which can change the meaning of the Word of God and Im trying to avoid that.
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Offline Agabus

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2016, 05:48:08 PM »
Hi, what is the best English translation of the Bible? I would like to know the closest translation to the original Greek language, without any added words (as in some Bible translations).
Does not exist.

Except for Young's Literal, I guess, which still interjects words like "is" into texts that don't contain them where they would be in English.

Greek to English doesn't translate perfectly (or any language to English, for any text), so sometimes words that are implied or understood are added to a given — though I would argue that this isn't an addition so much as a clarification.

Because syntax and grammar from the original languages are different from the rules English follows, some translations seek instead of being literal to convey as closely as possible the thought behind the text (some, admittedly, better than others), but even the most literal English translations occasionally have to resort to this because it just doesn't make any sense in a one-to-one Greek-to-English comparison (e.g. most translations of the Epistle to the Hebrews).

Point being, translation isn't as simple as saying "this word equals this word, therefore this is a clear, literal translation."
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 06:00:41 PM by Agabus »
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Offline wgw

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2016, 05:55:05 PM »
The Peshitta was actually a translation from Greek, indeed. Wgw and Mor can probably recommend you the best Peshitta translation, I know this site, with three English translations aligned to many other NT versions and even transliteration (that is, roughly how you should pronounce) of the original Aramaic.

The only English translation I know of that inclides both the Old and New Testaments is the Lamsa Translation, which is controversial; George Lamsa is a Peshitta Primacist, which means he believes the Peshitta predates the Greek New Testament (which is erroneous to a spectacular degree, although sadly many in the Assyrian Church of the East and even a few Syriac Orthodox believe this).

My favourite translation of the Peshitta New Testament is the Murdock translation, which features clean, elegant English and which unlike the earlier Etheridge Bible, is a translation of the Western Peshitto used by the Syriac Orthodox, meaning it has the entire Athanasian Canon; also, Murdock uses the Western names for the books and characters, mostly.  A few annoyances:

- He translates Apostle as "Legate"
- He translates Peter as Cephas consistently throughout the entire work
- His translation of one of the Petrine epistles felt stilted

You can find all of these at an archived website, run by a Peshitta Primacist who pater became a militant atheist who denied the historicity of Jesus, and then became a Pantheist,mpublishing a book called "iGod."  He is a nice enough chap though; I e-mailed him and obtained permission to mirror his site, but never got around to doing it.  Here is the site in question:

https://web.archive.org/web/20140517003920/http://aramaicpeshitta.com/

By the way, one of the nicest and most accessible Aramaic experts online is Steve Caruso.  His in an Aramaic Source Primacist, meaning he specialozes in reconstructing in Gallilean Aramaic the actual dialogue in the New Testament and in identifying what one mignt call the "Aramaic substrate," the layers of conversation, subtext and occasional verbal puns that existed in this dialogue, some of which were obscured when the Gospels and Epistles were composed in Greek due to the vagaries of language...which is not to say our Greek New Testament is in any way flawed or imperfect; the words of our Lord translate perfectly into any language, but Aramaic Source Theory helps us to understand his extreme rhetorical brilliance in His native tongue, or should I say, the native tongue of His disciples, which allowed him to acquire such a following (our Lord could doubtless have spoken with perfect eloquence in any language).

Steve Caruso is also involved in a very interesting project to translate the Mandaean Gnostic Book of John the Baptist from Classical Mandaic into English, which is very important; most Mandaeans had to flee persecution in Iraq after 2003 and their 60,000 strong community is now dispersed around the world, with only 2,000 remaining in their ancestral homeland.  I consider Steve a personal friend.

His website is here: http://aramaicnt.org/author/stevecaruso/


Offline wgw

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2016, 06:02:55 PM »
Hi, what is the best English translation of the Bible? I would like to know the closest translation to the original Greek language, without any added words (as in some Bible translations). Is "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English" acceotable for Orthodox readers?
Thanks

Oh, in answer to your original question, I reccommend The Orthodox Study Bible as the best unified translation of the entire Bible, because it features the Septuagint as its Old Testament, and the NKJV New Testament, which is elegant as contemporary language translations go; the best feature however are the footnotes, which explain the correct Orthodox interpretation of various passages.  It also comtains a lectionary, forms for daily prayer, and Orthodox footnotes.

I personally also really like the Challoner Douay Rheims.  The doctrinal footnotes are very much Roman Catholic, but the text is very reliable, based on the highly reliable Vulgate translation of St. Jerome, and it features an English translation St. Jerome's Latin translation of the Septuagint Psalter, so its compatible with Orthodox liturgics.

I also love the KJV, but it features an MT-based Old Testament and an MT Psalter, which makes it slightly less useful for our purposes.  Stylistically, however, its beauty is unmatched.

Sir Lancelot Brenton composed a very elegant translation of the Septuagint, which would be quite lovely if paired with the Murdoch Peshitta.

Avoid the new edition of the NIV at all costs.   The old NIV is acceptable however, if perhaps less than ideal.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2016, 07:00:11 PM »
By the way, one of the nicest and most accessible Aramaic experts online is Steve Caruso.  His in an Aramaic Source Primacist, meaning he specialozes in reconstructing in Gallilean Aramaic the actual dialogue in the New Testament and in identifying what one mignt call the "Aramaic substrate," the layers of conversation, subtext and occasional verbal puns that existed in this dialogue, some of which were obscured when the Gospels and Epistles were composed in Greek due to the vagaries of language...which is not to say our Greek New Testament is in any way flawed or imperfect; the words of our Lord translate perfectly into any language, but Aramaic Source Theory helps us to understand his extreme rhetorical brilliance in His native tongue, or should I say, the native tongue of His disciples, which allowed him to acquire such a following (our Lord could doubtless have spoken with perfect eloquence in any language).

Steve Caruso is also involved in a very interesting project to translate the Mandaean Gnostic Book of John the Baptist from Classical Mandaic into English, which is very important; most Mandaeans had to flee persecution in Iraq after 2003 and their 60,000 strong community is now dispersed around the world, with only 2,000 remaining in their ancestral homeland.  I consider Steve a personal friend.

His website is here: http://aramaicnt.org/author/stevecaruso/
Awesome, thanks for sharing that! Exactly what I was looking for: Mandaeans, the Aramaic substratum in NT Greek and Galilean Aramaic tidbits. :)
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Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2016, 07:30:55 AM »
As long as it is the closest translation I can find id would be happy ith it. Ive heard some translations of the Bible have added words in it, words that can't be found in original Greek Bible, which can change the meaning of the Word of God and Im trying to avoid that.

If you use the KJV, and some other translations, the words in italics are the words added by the translators to complete the sense of the source languages - that is helpful because it allows you to see what was added. Adding words is unavoidable. Hebrew, for instance, does not have a present tense of the verb "to be," but English must use "is," "are," etc., so the translator has to add them to make the English intelligible. Likewise, omitting words is sometimes necessary. Greek frequently uses the definite article with proper names, something English does not do. Thus they have to be omitted for the sake of clarity in English.
Woe is me, that I have read the commandments,
   and have become learned in the Scriptures,
and have been instructed in Your glories,
   and yet I have become occupied in shameful things!

(Giwargis Warda, On Compunction of Soul)

Offline andrewlya

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2016, 05:28:27 PM »
Hi, what is the best English translation of the Bible? I would like to know the closest translation to the original Greek language, without any added words (as in some Bible translations). Is "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English" acceotable for Orthodox readers?
Thanks

Oh, in answer to your original question, I reccommend The Orthodox Study Bible as the best unified translation of the entire Bible, because it features the Septuagint as its Old Testament, and the NKJV New Testament, which is elegant as contemporary language translations go; the best feature however are the footnotes, which explain the correct Orthodox interpretation of various passages.  It also comtains a lectionary, forms for daily prayer, and Orthodox footnotes.

I personally also really like the Challoner Douay Rheims.  The doctrinal footnotes are very much Roman Catholic, but the text is very reliable, based on the highly reliable Vulgate translation of St. Jerome, and it features an English translation St. Jerome's Latin translation of the Septuagint Psalter, so its compatible with Orthodox liturgics.

I also love the KJV, but it features an MT-based Old Testament and an MT Psalter, which makes it slightly less useful for our purposes.  Stylistically, however, its beauty is unmatched.

Sir Lancelot Brenton composed a very elegant translation of the Septuagint, which would be quite lovely if paired with the Murdoch Peshitta.

Avoid the new edition of the NIV at all costs.   The old NIV is acceptable however, if perhaps less than ideal.
Thanks for the answer. NIV seems to contain WORDS that are not actual in Greek original Bible which can be very misleading..
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Offline andrewlya

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2016, 05:31:20 PM »
As long as it is the closest translation I can find id would be happy ith it. Ive heard some translations of the Bible have added words in it, words that can't be found in original Greek Bible, which can change the meaning of the Word of God and Im trying to avoid that.

If you use the KJV, and some other translations, the words in italics are the words added by the translators to complete the sense of the source languages - that is helpful because it allows you to see what was added. Adding words is unavoidable. Hebrew, for instance, does not have a present tense of the verb "to be," but English must use "is," "are," etc., so the translator has to add them to make the English intelligible. Likewise, omitting words is sometimes necessary. Greek frequently uses the definite article with proper names, something English does not do. Thus they have to be omitted for the sake of clarity in English.
I like that, then you know which words have been added.
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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2016, 05:42:22 PM »
I like that, then you know which words have been added.

But it's not really "additional words" as if they were extraneous imports.       
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2016, 07:44:22 PM »
I like that, then you know which words have been added.

But it's not really "additional words" as if they were extraneous imports.       
It's like having words such as "dog" and "no" in the dictionary: the translator often has to go creative, so it's wiser to mark everything than to draw an arbitrary line. I was considering not italicising copula verbs and articles in my translations from the Septuagint and it was getting really messy.
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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2016, 08:26:08 PM »
Is it possible that some parts of the NT might have originally been written in two languages at once? Lots of people back then were multilingual including quite a few apostles, so it is possible that one of the Gospel writers (say) might have produced both a Greek version and an Aramaic, or other, one?
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2016, 01:37:55 AM »
Is it possible that some parts of the NT might have originally been written in two languages at once? Lots of people back then were multilingual including quite a few apostles, so it is possible that one of the Gospel writers (say) might have produced both a Greek version and an Aramaic, or other, one?

Well....it's possible.  But, then again, it's also possible that that the Gospel of John was written by a Gnostic priestess who worshiped Isis.  That is to say, it's exceedingly unlikely.  The Gospels were primarily written to Greek speakers, especially if you accept that all of them (including Mark) was written after the destruction of the Temple and the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem.

Now, there are some early Church writers who suggest that Matthew was originally composed in a Jewish language (it's not entirely clear from the source material if they were speaking of Hebrew - the word they used, IIRC - or Aramaic).  However, most scholars believe that - if they were in fact correct, and there was some sort of Hebrew/Aramaic Gospel of Matthew out there (and they weren't just mistaken) - they were speaking of something different than the Gospel of Matthew which has come down to us today.
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