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Author Topic: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why  (Read 13189 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 14, 2005, 09:19:56 PM »

Has anyone read this book by the head of the UNC-Chapel Hill Divinity school? The author, Bart Ehrman, was a "born-again Christian" turned agnostic, who spoke today on NPR (Fresh Air I think) about this book of his. Any thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2005, 04:08:45 PM »

Sounds a lot like the Jesus Seminar/"How Paul Invented Christianity"-type stuff.  I didn't hear the "Fresh Air" interview itself, but I did hear a couple of promos.  What really struck me was the wording used, which was something like, "Erhman tells how the Gospels were changed by scribes, sometimes accidentally, but other times deliberately."  Not "alleges that," but "tells how." Roll Eyes
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2005, 04:20:02 PM »

Are yo referring to "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The effect of early Christological controversies on the text of the New Testament" by Ehrman (1993, Oxford)... or is this a new one?

I just picked up the one I listed, but haven't read it yet...
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2005, 05:18:43 PM »

No, the book's title is the one for this thread.  Here it is:   http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=8I2erCTC3z&isbn=0060738170&itm=1.  Looking at the description on B&N's website, it sounds a lot like typical modern criticism (Surprise!  The NT didn't fall out of the sky immediately after Pentecost!). Roll Eyes
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2005, 06:24:11 PM »

Surprise!ÂÂ  The NT didn't fall out of the sky immediately after Pentecost!

What!? Are you serious!? Wink

But yes, from what I know of the book, this seems to be the issue. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the canon being developed by the Church, but someone taught otherwise may be schocked to the point that they give up their faith entirely, still stuck under the lie that such a truth is incompatable with Christianity.
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2005, 06:36:50 PM »

I haven't been able to find any kind of critical response to this book-- Google is overwhelmed by the people trying to sell it and by the author's appearance on Diane Rehm.

And it's more than the usual modern criticism. He's claiming that the text has been deliberately redacted to make it more compatible with the scribe's theological predelictions.
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2005, 06:47:45 PM »

And it's more than the usual modern criticism. He's claiming that the text has been deliberately redacted to make it more compatible with the scribe's theological predelictions.   

This seems to be the tenor of both the book I referenced and the book in the thread's title: that along the way scribes and theologians have changed the text in order to respond to theological debates, personal beliefs, or just general incompetence on the part of the copier.

Of course, since I haven't had a chance to read either one yet, I have yet to read his "proofs" or whatnot that he uses to back the claims up.  But serious scholarship like this requires us to read and critically address the book, instead of just dismissing it out of hand.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2005, 08:31:39 PM »

I agree that we shouldn't just dismiss its serious "charges."  My comment was based on some of the explanatory material on the B&N page, which didn't sound all that new or shocking (yes, yes, there are indeed variants readings of many texts).  But to say that a scribe made a typo is one thing; to say a scribe, or abbot, or bishop decided to change the wording in order for it to better fit a theological position is quite another.  Like I said in my first message, what struck me was the use of the word "tells," and not "alleges" in the "Fresh Air" promo piece.  It was presented as pure fact.

If a person starts from the premise that the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with the establishment of the NT canon, it's easy to go this direction.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2005, 08:48:26 PM »

Or that the Holy Spirit is ENTIRELY the author of the script.  Wasn't there a guy...Montanus...who said something like that...didn't they condemn him as a heretic in the 1st century...ok enough sarcasm.   Tongue WinkTongue Shocked
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2005, 01:40:36 PM »

A good critique (well, more of a clarification and explanation, really) of Ehrman's views can be found here. To sum up the most relevant point, even Ehrman is capable of admitting that the corruptions in question do not inhibit an accurate, reasonable, and objective re-construction and understanding of Apostolic Christianity i.e. Apostolic Christianity was certainly not irreversibly corrupted.

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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2005, 03:51:45 PM »

I do think the critique does a good job of approaching Ehrman's work.  I may just end up printing it up and having it beside me when I actually get down to reading Ehrman's book(s).

Thanks for the link EA.
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2006, 01:51:26 AM »

What the author fails to consider is that while the Greek text has changed over time, the Aramaic Peshitta has remained relatively unchanged and uncorrupted. Of course, one wouldn't expect too much from a Westerner in finding the original Eastern text.
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2006, 02:18:54 AM »

Yes, thank the goddess that we have easterners, and the holy spirit, to keep us on track. Oh look, there's an easterner being guided by the holy spirit right now!

"The New Testament contains four gospels, that according to Matthew, that according to Mark, that according to Luke, that according to John; the Acts of the Holy Apostles by Luke the Evangelist; seven catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; fourteen letters of the Apostle Paul; the Revelation of John the Evangelist; the Canons of the holy apostles, by Clement." (emphasis mine) - John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4, 17

Gee, you'd think by the 8th century... . .

Anyway, the texts were changed by scribes. Anyone who says that they weren't are blowing hot air. Even John Chrysostom, Jerome, etc. discuss the fact that different texts say different things (e.g., the Fathers were aware that entire passages were in some manuscripts and not others). The Orthodox (e.g., the Orthodox Study Bible) sometimes attribute an error to Augustine because of a bad translation in Romans. Etc. etc.
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2006, 02:20:35 AM »

Orthodoxy is based on consensus rather than one particular church father.
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2006, 02:29:31 AM »

Is it now? And who determines what the concensus is? Majority rule? What the majority of Church Fathers say? Who determines who the Church Fathers are? What the Councils say? Who determines which Councils count, and what weight is given to each? Who determines which parts of each council is authoritative, and which part is merely opinion? Who determines who gets to determine this stuff, and how do you verify any of this.

How do you verify any of this.

How do you verify any of this?

You can't. You won't. It's the epistemological pitfall that Doubting Thomas has brought up more than once on this forum. It's the problem of circularity. It's especially the problem with dogmatism generally, and claims made by revealed religions. I don't expect too much from anyone Matthew, westerner or not. People, as a general rule, take the quickest intellectual route to their desired goal, caring very little for the truth. That's why people usually rationalize away any evidence against them, rather than thoughtfully considering it. As evidence of this, I submit your last two posts on this thread.


PS. What kind of God would let his bride/Church read a corrupted text, considering that the majority didn't have access to this supposedly-nearly-uncorrupt Peshitta? Oh yes, now I remember, the same God who would let entire parts of Europe live in semi-Arian "heresy" for hundreds of years. Thank goodness the part about the Gates of Hades only applied to those that it applied to, and not those it didn't!

PSS. I've only read one book by Bart.. it was engaging enough, though not particularly any more helpful than other books of the same type.
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2006, 02:34:09 AM »

It's the problem of circularity.

It's the problem of whether or not you believe that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church to all truth.

That's why people usually rationalize away any evidence against them

This is what most Western scholars do in taking the Greek text for granted, rather than even considering the possibility that the Aramaic is the original.
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2006, 02:44:31 AM »

Is it now? And who determines what the concensus is?

Your spiritual father will tell you all you need to know. As long as he is in good standing with his bishop, and his bishop with the rest of the Church, there's no need to fret about Church doctrine.
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2006, 08:33:26 AM »

Your spiritual father will tell you all you need to know. As long as he is in good standing with his bishop, and his bishop with the rest of the Church, there's no need to fret about Church doctrine.

Good response.

Seems the Deceiver is rubbing his paws in glee thinking "I got another one!".

Even Mr. Spock finally had to admit that "Logic is only the beginning of Wisdom".

I can't fault Asterikos' agnosticism - I had my own years of it until He yanked me back to the True Path (and not too subtly either); felt like Saul of Tarsus, I did.
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2006, 10:40:27 AM »


This is what most Western scholars do in taking the Greek text for granted, rather than even considering the possibility that the Aramaic is the original.

The Church says the Greek is the original. There are puns in the text that are not possible in Aramaic.  The Greek text is the inspired text, and no other (that goes for the Old Testament, too).

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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2006, 12:01:14 PM »

I read his book Lost Christianities and found it very interesting. Based on that book, I don't feel that he is a "Jesus basher" at all. His findings basically show that Christianity and its theology evolved, and the Church directed that evolution. The Church decided what was truth and what was heresy. Don't all Orthodox agree with that?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195182499/sr=8-1/qid=1153756598/ref=sr_1_1/104-3458410-1156742?ie=UTF8
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2006, 02:08:50 PM »

I read his book Lost Christianities and found it very interesting. Based on that book, I don't feel that he is a "Jesus basher" at all. His findings basically show that Christianity and its theology evolved, and the Church directed that evolution. The Church decided what was truth and what was heresy. Don't all Orthodox agree with that?

Read other books of his and you'll find he believes that early Christianity had a mix of equally valid viewpoints before orthodoxy won out by sheer accident. In his Loeb edition of the apostolic fathers, he suggests that Marcion and the Gnostics were unfairly condemned.
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2006, 03:15:37 PM »

Even the Peshitta has Greek loan words, and untranslated Greek idiomatic phrases that 'don't play' so well in a Semitic language. And, the 'smoking gun' - the mass of Apostles and other Disciples with Greek names (the nerve it takes to write an entire culture, Helleno-Judaism, out of history though the witness and evidence is massive - particularly as it applies to Early Christianity!)

Of course, there is also the Jerusalem Center for the Study of the Synoptics, whose members have claimed the New Testament has a Hebrew source original for most of its books.

Peshitta - the 'simplified' text (a 3rd century East Syrian reordering and editing of texts for Babylon.)
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2006, 03:26:16 PM »

Read other books of his and you'll find he believes that early Christianity had a mix of equally valid viewpoints before orthodoxy won out by sheer accident.

And if you look at these viewpoints by the number of followers you will see that from an historic perspective he was correct. And reading his book certainly does not give one the idea that orthodoxy won out based uopn "sheer accident". He documents the specific attacks that were made on these other beliefs (many of them outright lies) to discredit them. There was a specific campaign by the Church to destry these beliefs. It was no accident.

In his Loeb edition of the apostolic fathers, he suggests that Marcion and the Gnostics were unfairly condemned.

They were. As I said above, many of the thing said/written against these "sects" were untrue - and the fathers knew that.

Christianity would be better off if a portion of Marcion was left in. The OT should have been completely rejected.


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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2006, 03:27:47 PM »

The Church says the Greek is the original.

"The Peshitta, lightly revised and with missing books added, is the standard Syriac Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition: the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syrian Catholic Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Maronite Church, the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, the Mar Thoma Church, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshitta

Out of these, how many would hold that the Peshitta is the original text?

There are puns in the text that are not possible in Aramaic.ÂÂ  

There are puns in the text that are not possible in Greek. There are also mistranslations and split words due to the Aramaic's translation into Greek.
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Peshitta_Dummies_FirstEd.pdf

The Greek text is the inspired text, and no other (that goes for the Old Testament, too).

Do you have evidence for such an assertion?

Peace.

(edited by Anastasios as a test to eradicate the nspb problem--no content was modified.)
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2006, 03:30:18 PM »

Do you have evidence for such an assertion?

Yes. In the back is written, "Hey! This is the real deal! With Love, God" .......in Greek!
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2006, 03:44:08 PM »

Quote
Do you have evidence for such an assertion?

No, that is just the common teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church. What you are asking is akin to asking, do you have any evidence that Orthodox accept prayer to Mary?  Look at the texts of the Church, they all come from the Septuagint, heck, even Jesus quoted from the Septuagint, the Septuagint is just what is used in the Orthodox Church, period.

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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2006, 03:59:36 PM »

No, that is just the common teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Appeal to authority.

Look at the texts of the Church, they all come from the Septuagint, heck, even Jesus quoted from the Septuagint, the Septuagint is just what is used in the Orthodox Church, period.

The Aramaic New Testament quotes the Aramaic Tanakh, not the Septuagint, and the Aramaic Tanakh was written before the Septuagint. 

The oldest complete manuscript of the New Testament is the Aramaic Peshitta:
"Among the treasures on view by the public when the renovated QCC Art Gallery reopens in October will be the Khaburis Codex. The Khaburis Manuscript, according to Reverend Deaconess Nancy Witt, PT, MSW, MSJ and Abbott Gerrit Crawford, PhD, MSJ of the Western-Rite Syrian Orthodox Church in America, is a copy of a second century New Testament, which was written in approximately 165 AD (internally documented as 100 years after the great persecution of the Christians by Nero, in 65 AD). Carbon dating has found this copy of the New Testament to be approximately 1,000 years old. Given its origins, this would make it a copy of the oldest known New Testament manuscript. It was scribed on lamb parchment and hand bound between olive wood covers adorned with gold clasps, hinges and corner-brackets. The scribe would have been in ancient Nineveh (present-day Mosul, Iraq), according to the Colophon signed by a bishop of the Church at Nineveh. In the Colophon, the bishop certified (with his inverted signature and seal) that the Khaburis was a faithful copy of the second century original. Of particular interest, is the fact that the Khaburis is written entirely in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus of Nazareth... "
http://www.qgazette.com/news/2004/0804/features/001.html

Peace.
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« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2006, 04:10:49 PM »

Quote
Appeal to authority.

Of course it is. That's how Christianity works.ÂÂ  We accept an authority and we appeal to it. This isn't a debate class or one where "scholarship" should come into play.

It would make sense that the Aramaic NT, which is a later translation, would nevertheless refer to Aramaic Tanakh.ÂÂ  It's the same thing as if I translated a work which featured biblical quotes into another language--I would refer to their most common translation and not make up my own to keep things consistent.

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« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2006, 04:29:43 PM »

Of course it is. That's how Christianity works.ÂÂ  We accept an authority and we appeal to it. This isn't a debate class or one where "scholarship" should come into play.

You should provide evidence to show that the Greek church is more reliable in its assessmant than the Syriac or another church.

It would make sense that the Aramaic NT, which is a later translation, would nevertheless refer to Aramaic Tanakh.ÂÂ  It's the same thing as if I translated a work which featured biblical quotes into another language--I would refer to their most common translation and not make up my own to keep things consistent.

One cannot use the Greek's quoting of the Greek as an argument if the Aramaic, the language which Jesus and the Apostles spoke, quotes the Aramaic.
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« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2006, 04:35:51 PM »

Anyway, the texts were changed by scribes. Anyone who says that they weren't are blowing hot air. Even John Chrysostom, Jerome, etc. discuss the fact that different texts say different things (e.g., the Fathers were aware that entire passages were in some manuscripts and not others). The Orthodox (e.g., the Orthodox Study Bible) sometimes attribute an error to Augustine because of a bad translation in Romans. Etc. etc.

Intriguing. Would it be possible if you could provide me with some quotes from the fathers you mention (St Chrysostom, Jerom, etc.) that would substantiate such a discussion over different texts/different things? I would greatly appreciate it.

Peace,
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« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2006, 04:39:13 PM »

There is no Aramaic Tanakh - you mean Aramaic Targums, which are a Judeo-Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament) which predates the Latin Vulgate translations from the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (as well as the Old Latin - which was direct from Greek LXX.) The notable issue with the Aramaic Targums (as with the Syriac traditions with the New Testament texts) is the free reign given to the 'translators' who combined, simplified, and often paraphrased rather than a literal translation. The Aramaic Targums, however, post-date the LXX (and of course, the postulated 'Old Greek' text). For that matter - our oldest Hebrew or Aramaic OT texts are newer than our oldest Greek texts (the Qumran/Dead Sea scrolls material points to a Hebrew tradition as well that bolsters the Greek translation, as well as texts that agree with neither the LXX nor the Masoretic/Targum tradition.) The Peshitta Old Testament texts are considered the *last* of the Old Testament texts to derive from the Hebrew (far younger than the Greek, and younger even than the Latin.)

For New Testament: the Khaburis Codex is not complete as it is missing 5 books found in the Western Syriac Peshitto. We have contemporary records from China that describe the list of books in the East Syriac Peshitta some three hundred years previous as having the full canon. Carbon dating has placed the Khaburis Codex at only about 1000 AD. However, the oldest New Testament fragments we have date to 125 AD, and are the Gospel of St. John in Greek (papyri from Egypt.) The dating of the vagantes mentioned in the article is a bit off. The Aramaic and Syriac texts *do* bear translated quotes from the LXX recension of the Old Testament, as well as Semitic approximations of Greek names born by the Apostles and other Disciples of Christ. We have Greek texts for every text of the New Testament by the year 300, many of them with older examples from Egyptian papyri (the Pauline Epistles no younger than 200 AD.) So, the claim for an East Syrian text as the oldest has little more than an appeal to authority by the Assyrian Church of the East (the same one's who claim Nestorius didn't influence them, though they pray a good part of the year with his anaphora.) I believe that there is only solid theory behind a Semitic language original for the Gospel of Matthew, and possibly the Epistle to the Hebrews (the latter most scholars don't agree with, and that the letter was composed to the majority Greek speaking Jews.)

As for the 'Aramaic puns' - what is read in this case is present in the Greek, as the Greek is rather a Judeo-Hellenic Greek - the Semitic turn of phrase is in the oral language, preserved literally in the new language (Greek), and recovered when paraphrased back into a Semitic language. Others (such as the gamal/gamla argument) aren't enough to base a theory of a complete 'pure Semitic' text for the whole New Testament. However, the political influence of the Persian Empire to be anti-Western (anti-Roman, anti-Greek, etc.) does offer an explanation as to the imperfect attempts to purge the East Syrian consciousness of the multi-lingual "border" quality of the 1st century Christians in Palestine - a situation which the Church in Jerusalem and environs retained through the days of the pilgrim Egeria, and possibly even after Theodore Balsamon. (How much modern anti-Establishment philosophy plays into this as well - being anti-Indo-European language is a sort of radical embracing of the 'common man', Marxist principles, "Black theology" and identification of Latin, Coptic, Greek and West Syriac as 'oppressor languages' and East Syriac as the 'oppressed language' - which probably explains the fascination with East Syriac Peshitta and Nestorian theology for post-hippie Middle Class Westerners.)

Greek, of course, is the 'other language' that Christ and his Apostles spoke. Only Judas Iscariot (being the lone Judaean) had the possibility of being a monolingual Aramaic speaker. Galilee, however, was a bastion of Hellenic speaking Judaism. Monolingual Jesus (and Apostles) is simply a bad theory (for that matter, we can be pretty sure Jesus also spoke Coptic besides Aramaic and Greek... and possibly even proto-Arabic and other languages.)
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« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2006, 10:33:55 PM »

There is no Aramaic Tanakh

For all practical purposes, I'd rather use the term "Tanakh" than "Old Testament."

"The earliest manuscript of this Syriac Vulgate is a Pentateuch dated A.D. 464; this is the earliest dated Biblical manuscripts; it is in the British Museum."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09627a.htm

The dating of the vagantes mentioned in the article is a bit off.

It seems that the date given, like that of the Turin Shroud, is dependent upon the personal bias of the observer.

The Aramaic and Syriac texts *do* bear translated quotes from the LXX recension of the Old Testament

Please give some examples.

As for the 'Aramaic puns' - what is read in this case is present in the Greek, as the Greek is rather a Judeo-Hellenic Greek - the Semitic turn of phrase is in the oral language, preserved literally in the new language (Greek), and recovered when paraphrased back into a Semitic language.

Are you familier with the examples given of Aramaic words that have been mistranslated in the Greek text?

Greek, of course, is the 'other language' that Christ and his Apostles spoke.

What evidence do we have that Jesus and the Apostles spoke fluent Greek? That seems to be taken for granted by the Western mind, but I would prefer hard evidence.
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« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2006, 10:57:58 PM »

You should provide evidence to show that the Greek church is more reliable in its assessmant than the Syriac or another church.

No. I don't feel like it. If you want to know the Eastern Orthodox position and why it is so, do some research (not on wikipedia or self-published material).  I don't have to defend commonly accepted teachings all the time.  If I did, discussion would be exceedingly difficult.

Quote
One cannot use the Greek's quoting of the Greek as an argument if the Aramaic, the language which Jesus and the Apostles spoke, quotes the Aramaic.

You're right on that point.

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« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2006, 12:32:20 AM »

Amazing...I have not missed much...well I'll have another Boston Lager...thank you !

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« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2006, 02:44:22 AM »

I don't have to defend commonly accepted teachings all the time.ÂÂ

I assume, that at some point, you have taken a class in logic. Furthermore, I would hope that though you are reluctant to provide evidence, you sought evidence in favor of the Eastern Orthodox position before accepting it.
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« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2006, 03:32:48 AM »

I assume, that at some point, you have taken a class in logic. Furthermore, I would hope that though you are reluctant to provide evidence, you sought evidence in favor of the Eastern Orthodox position before accepting it.

LOGIC?   Huh

I haven't read a lot of logic in your assertions either.
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« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2006, 08:11:24 AM »

I assume, that at some point, you have taken a class in logic. Furthermore, I would hope that though you are reluctant to provide evidence, you sought evidence in favor of the Eastern Orthodox position before accepting it.

I established in my mind that Orthodoxy was the true Faith using evidence. After that, I accepted all its precepts.  If I were engaging in scholarship, I would use footnotes.  I'm not. Besides, in a scholarly journal, if you write that Jesus lived in Palestine in a paper, you don't have to add a footnote--it's commonly accepted information.

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« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2006, 03:38:28 PM »

Speaking as the mathematician around here, I immediately start rolling my eyes when people start waving around these "accuracy" arguments. No variation in accuracy is enough to account for the sizable variations in theology that people like, oh, Bart Ehrman are trying to base on the variation.
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« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2006, 04:16:17 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7782.msg129028#msg129028 date=1153812768]
I haven't read a lot of logic in your assertions either.
[/quote]

It is logical to believe that a book written by Aramaic speakers, for Aramaic speakers, and about Aramaic speakers would be written in Aramaic.
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« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2006, 04:38:44 PM »

Ah, with such good Aramaic names like Phillip, Andrew, Peter, Didymus ... not to mention those like Aristobulus (the father of James and John). Three centuries of Greek civilization in Palestine, including Greek Jewish texts during that period - and only the Pharisees were known as puritans for Semitic language (and, it wasn't Christianity that descends from that group.)

Also - nothing practical about a neologism like "Aramaic Tanakh". We already use the term Tanakh solely for the Hebrew Scriptures. Tanakh is a Hebraism -  not an Aramaic term. Neither the Old Syriac Vulgate (more perfect than the East Syriac Peshitta), the Aramaic Targums, nor the East Syriac Peshitta are "Tanakh". If it isn't in Hebrew, it isn't a Tanakh.

And a side note about quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia - what one gets in that case is state of the art 19th c. English "zealous
convert" Roman Catholic polemic. Sure, much of it is reliable - for a century ago. The articles, however, are full of dismissals of evidence
in other cases, or value judgements without support. Go ahead, use the Catholic Encyclopedia - but one should always qualify - that article was written before the discovery of the Isaiah texts of Qumran (our oldest Old Testament texts, which agree with LXX), or the discovery 60 years ago of the oldest New Testament text - the Greek St. John papyri - P52 IIRC.)

And now to the heart of the matter.

The use of logical fallacies (themselves a product of the Greek disciplines of logic and rhetoric - Semitic philosophy is not so linear nor produced any such classifications) is applicable to academia and matters philosophical. However, it doesn't really apply to matters of belief. Some might want to call that a 'cop out" (which would be a "cop out" of their own in dealing with the bases of religion and faith.) What is the basis of religion? Revelation - a revealed thing is not something that can be deduced from logic, nor induced from observation. That quality of religion, Christian religion to be precise (which is True religion) is that it reflects God - it is something that must be revealed, as he is without Creation. Thus the importance of Tradition. The appeal to Tradition is the basis of religious belief and practice, as it is the only way that one may partake in a revealed thing - Tradition being the continuity of a revelation. Appeal to authority and appeal to Tradition are different things. Arguments over appeal to authority in religion make as much sense as appeal to Tradition in things not covered by revelation. Logic and rhetoric are not useful (or necessary) for the salvation of mankind. Same way the Revealed Tradition won't help one design embedded inertial dampers for rotary-wing blade lag damping. The sorriest approximations of Christianity are those based upon an attempt to derive their faith and praxis from philosophy (and its "appeal to authority" - cult following of academics and psuedo-academics like George Lamsa.)

However - in this case, in discussing Church History and Christian origins, the evidence is not of an pure Aramaic society later Hellenized. The evidence is for the society (Second Temple Judaism) already being multi-lingual and diverse in cultural/religious experience inside the "HaAretz Yisrael" before the birth of Early Christianity. This is the mainstream academic view as taught around the world (such as at the University of Durham.) It *also* happens to be that which has been passed down by the Church (which gives it authority and reliability.)
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« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2006, 04:49:02 PM »

It is logical to believe that a book written by Aramaic speakers, for Aramaic speakers, and about Aramaic speakers would be written in Aramaic.

But it would not be logical to believe that the book was written for Aramaic speakers! The books were written as tools for evangelism, after all, and therefore it would be natural for them to be written in Greek. There's even internal evidence of this.

It wouldn't hurt you, M777, to assume that other people might have considered your ideas and then rejected them.
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« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2006, 04:54:14 PM »

The books were written as tools for evangelism, after all, and therefore it would be natural for them to be written in Greek.

At the time, Aramaic was the standard language of the Middle East.

There's even internal evidence of this.

Please provide this internal evidence.
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« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2006, 05:04:02 PM »

Ah, with such good Aramaic names like Phillip, Andrew, Peter, Didymus ... not to mention those like Aristobulus (the father of James and John). Three centuries of Greek civilization in Palestine, including Greek Jewish texts during that period - and only the Pharisees were known as puritans for Semitic language (and, it wasn't Christianity that descends from that group.)

In the Aramaic, Jesus names Simon, "Kepa." As for the other names, it was common for Greek names to be used among non-Greek speaking people. Think of today, how Americans who don't understand a word of French will still give their children French names.

We already use the term Tanakh solely for the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Aramaic Old Testament is commonly referred to as the "Aramaic Peshitta" or "Peshitta Tanakh," even by translators.

However, it doesn't really apply to matters of belief.

Belief without evidence is delusion, even in matters of the spiritual. As Orthodox Christians, we believe in the Biblical God because of His incarnation in the historical person of Jesus Christ. Had Jesus not confirmed His power over death in the resurrection, and instead remained a lifeless corpse, we would have no reason to believe in Him.

This is the mainstream academic view as taught around the world (such as at the University of Durham.)

More specifically, in the Western world. It is taken for granted that in first-century Galilee, Jewish people spoke Greek. I would like actual evidence for such an assertion.
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« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2006, 05:05:51 PM »

And a side note about quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia - what one gets in that case is state of the art 19th c. English "zealous convert" Roman Catholic polemic. Sure, much of it is reliable - for a century ago. The articles, however, are full of dismissals of evidence in other cases, or value judgements without support. Go ahead, use the Catholic Encyclopedia - but one should always qualify - that article was written before the discovery of the Isaiah texts of Qumran (our oldest Old Testament texts, which agree with LXX), or the discovery 60 years ago of the oldest New Testament text - the Greek St. John papyri - P52 IIRC.)

I agree 100% with this evaluation of the CE-- plus it loves a show of erudition and is prone to discussing the fine points at length without addressing more basic (and often disputed) issues.

Saying that the DSS "agrees" with the LXX is a bit of an overstatement; most of the LXX's deviancies from the MT are just transaltion errors. But the pattern of LXX/DSS/MT variation does indicate that the LXX represents an earlier generation of Hebrew texts and is not just a tradition unto itself.

My recollection on the St. John papyri is that the 52AD date is rather extrapolative. They do however strongly support early dates. In any case the window for substantial modification of the gospel texts does not appear to be that large. I also wonder whether there is actually any evidence that anyone ever did signifcantly modify any such text. The one case I know about (the Secret Gospel of Mark) is widely thought to be a modern forgery.
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« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2006, 05:08:03 PM »

At the time, Aramaic was the standard language of the Middle East.

Of course, by that time Paul had been all over the empire, so that observation isn't germane.

Quote
Please provide this internal evidence.

Please. If you knew the bible at all, you would already be aware of the various spots at which the gospels include quotes from the Aramaic.
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« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2006, 05:21:05 PM »

It is logical to believe that a book written by Aramaic speakers, for Aramaic speakers, and about Aramaic speakers would be written in Aramaic.
And equally logical is the following:

It is logical to believe that a book translated by Aramaic speakers, for Aramaic speakers, and about Aramaic speakers would be written in Aramaic.
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« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2006, 05:31:41 PM »

Of course, by that time Paul had been all over the empire, so that observation isn't germane.

"But what of Paul the Apostle? Surely this “Hellenistic Jew”, writing to “Greek Churches” would have written in Greek! That last sentence is so full of fallacies, I feel ashamed for having to write it. Paul was born in Tarsus, a city that belonged to the Babylonian, Assyrian and Persian empires — all of which spoke Aramaic. Archaeological evidence points to Tarsus’ usage of Aramaic — coins have been found from the time of Jesus, with Aramaic inscriptions. Coins! There goes the theory that Greek was necessary for trade! While all this is very interesting, it may be a moot point concerning Paul. After all, he wasn’t raised in Aramaic-speaking Tarsus… but he was raised in Aramaic-speaking Jerusalem (Acts 22:3). We also saw from the Jerome quote that he spoke and wrote in “Hebrew”.

It is also interesting to note that this alleged Hellenist, was a Pharisee. The Pharisaic Judeans were staunchly opposed to Hellenism, so how then could Paul have been a Hellenistic Jew? Did he really write his letters to the “Greek Churches” in Greek?

“It is known that Aramaic remained a language of Jews living in the Diaspora, and in fact Jewish Aramaic inscriptions have been found at Rome, Pompei and even England. If Paul wrote his Epistle's in Hebrew or Aramaic to a core group of Jews at each congregation who then passed the message on to their Gentile counterparts then this might give some added dimension to Paul's phrase "to the Jew first and then to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16; 2:9-10). It is clear that Paul did not write his letters in the native tongues of the cities to which he wrote. Certainly no one would argue for a Latin original of Romans.” — Dr. James Trimm, Aramaic scholar

This would make sense of the Apostle Paul’s oft-used quote, “to the Judean first, and then to the Gentile/Aramean”.

The word in Aramaic for “Arameans” (Armaya) is believed by many to also mean “Gentiles” (while the Greek usually says “Gentiles” or “Greeks”, the Aramaic usually says “Arameans”). This seems confusing, but many (perhaps most) of the Gentiles involved with early Christianity were Aramean. Arameans were the same basic race of people as Assyrians and Syrians (different to today’s Arabic “Syrians”). Many labels used to describe the same people. As Christianity started to really bloom in Antioch, Syria, it is not surprising to see the Arameans being spoken of so much in the New Testament, and as possibly being representative of Gentiles in general.

Another interesting point to consider about the Gentiles, is that so often the Bible talks of Judeans and Gentiles (as above, it may not mean Gentiles at all, as “Armaya” are being referred to, but let us digress). What then about the “lost 10 tribes”, the Israelites? Since they are not Judean, are they Gentile? If so, we have yet another prominent Aramaic-speaking Semitic group, as part of “the Gentiles”. With so many Aramaic-speaking Gentiles in the Middle East, is it such a stretch to imagine that Aramaic-speaking authors would write in Aramaic - utilizing Aramaic idioms - to Aramaic-speaking Judeans, Israelites, Chaldeans, Syrians and Assyrians? In fact, why would these authors use so many Aramaic idioms, if they wrote in Greek, to Greek-speaking people who wouldn’t understand them?

Scholars who claim that books such as the Pauline Epistles were written in Aramaic, to primarily Semitic congregations in Greece and Rome, are backed up by the Bible:

Romans 2:17-18

17  Now if you who are called a Jew trust on the law and are proud of God,

18  And because you know his will and know the things which must be observed, which you have learned from the law,

There goes the theory that Romans was addressed to “Romans”.

Romans 11:13

13  It is to you Gentiles that I speak, inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, and perhaps magnify my ministry;

It was also addressed to Gentiles. Note that “Gentiles” does not only include Greeks and Romans as Greek primacists may want to believe. “Gentiles” includes many Aramaic-speaking Semitic groups, such as the Chaldeans, Syrians, Assyrians, Canaanite-Phoenicians and possibly non-Judean Israelites.

1Corinthians 10:1

1  MOREOVER, brethren, I want you to know that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;

2  And all were baptized by Moses, both in the cloud and in the sea;

 Now we focus on Greece, and it seems that again, Paul is talking to Judeans. 1Corinthians and 2Corinthians are full of references to Israelite law and history. Clearly, though Paul writes to people in Greece and Rome, these people are Judeans and Aramaic-speaking Gentiles. It is no wonder then that the Pauline Epistles are so overflowing with Aramaicisms. We must never forget the order of preaching. “To the Judean first...” And according to famous Judean historian Flavius Josephus, the Judeans had great difficulty learning Greek, while they did speak Aramaic (Josephus even wrote in Aramaic)."
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Online_Version/historical_proofs.htm

Please. If you knew the bible at all, you would already be aware of the various spots at which the gospels include quotes from the Aramaic.

What is the internal evidence within the New Testament show that it was originally written in Greek?
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« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2006, 07:36:31 PM »

I have no personal bias that would prevent me from accepting that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. What that would require, however, is internal and external evidence verifying the Greek origin of the text. I am not fond of appeals to anonymous authority figures.
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« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2006, 08:04:26 PM »

"But what of Paul the Apostle? Surely this “Hellenistic Jew”, writing to “Greek Churches” would have written in Greek!

And he did! Even the name Paul is Greek! The custom of Palestinian Judaism at the time (under the Roman Empire, not like Babylonian Jewry under the Persian Empire) was that of dual language use. Semitic language "in group" and a Hebrew religious name, Greek language "public" and a Greek civil name (Saul/Paul, Zebedee/Aristobulus, Cephas/Petros, Thomas/Didymus, John/Mark, Jude/Thaddeus or Bartholomew; literally, Son of Ptolemy.) Again, the onomastic evidence is for Christ being born into a society that was already Hellenic-Semitic synthesis.

The dual Helleno-Semitic nature of 2nd Temple period Judaism is admitted by all mainstream scholars (Jewish and Christian.) This synthesis is what allowed Early Christianity to spread readily in both Africa, Asia and Europe.

Paul's Tarsus - in Cilicia, which had been Greek since the time of Alexander the Great (as was Antioch - which was primarily Greek in the days of Ss. Peter & Paul, as it remained until the Muslim conquest.)

The finding of numismatics with Aramaic inscriptions is no proof for majority-Aramaic use in any area - coins are spread far and wide in archaeological sites, and the only thing we as archaeologists can say is that such a find illuminates trade networks, and not language usage. A coin is traded, after all, not on its design, but on its worth in metal (until our modern debased days where money has become 'abstract'.) Jerusalem - Greek speaking in Christ's time (it was a Roman city after all). Hebrew of the time was still a distinct spoken language from Aramaic (which was a pagan tongue.) And, most importantly - while St. Paul was a "Pharisee of the Pharisees" - he was also a Roman citizen by his own admission (any idea of those implications? One simply was not a Roman citizen for being born in the Empire - it required Roman blood or military service - neither of which St. Paul should have based upon your/Lamsa's theory about the purity of the Pharisees.)

Aramaic in the Jewish diaspora - same evidence as we have for Greek in the Diaspora. However, Aramaic was linked with Babylon (that of the Apocalypse) and Greek with Alexandria and Antioch. Rome itself had large populations of Greek speakers even in the 1st c. - instructive, then, that all evidence points to the first few centuries in Rome of Christianity being Greek speaking. It was only in North Africa in the early 2nd c. that Latin use of Christianity began to develop.

 Gentile literally means "Nations", which are listed according to Torah and other Jewish writings as the 70 Nations listed in Genesis (which includes Greeks, of course) - the 70 Apostles being for the 70 Nations of the Earth, and the 12 Apostles for the 12 Tribes of Israel. The use of Hellene or Aramaic (Amaya) to translate the Hebrew word Goyim (Nations) is interchangeable - in any second language 2nd Temple Judaism also referred to non-Jews as the linguistic-ethnic identity of the native speakers of the language. The Greek/Aramaic contention then is a false one (and quite non-Semitic, as it misunderstands the Semitic Israelite mind) - both Aramaen (Amaya) and Hellene meant Pagan in Jewish usage for two centuries before Christ, and that is the full significance of those labels. Which is exactly why Early Christians *ceased* to describe themselves as either Hellenes or Aramaens - they were the New Israel, a New Race (which is why the terms Romaoioi and Syriac came to denote Christians as distinct from Pagans - the former term in the Roman Empire and its borders with Persia, and the latter term in the Persian Empire and its borders with Rome.) Added: Dr. Sebastian Brock, lately retired from Oxford, has written quite clearly on the use of the terms "Aramaen" and "Greek" to translate Hebrew Goyim.

The idea of Aramaic speakers as a 'race' is also quite false - the Mesopotamian crescent was a hub of human activity with extreme mixing (one of the most diverse in genetic populations if one tracks Y-STR and mtDNA) - Aramaic speakers could just as well be descended from proto-Semitic, Turkic, Indo-Aryan, Anatolian, African, or any number of other ancestries. Not all Aramaic speakers group so close together. Judaeans in the New Testament: means those belonging to Judea (such as Judas Iscariot) - Galileans were not classified as Judaeans, neither were inhabitants of Samaria (who were Jewish by religion and language). The so-called "Lost Tribes" were not lost at the time of the Apostles - various Apostles are identified as members of various tribes. The term Judaeans does not historically apply to the 10 tribes of Israel (which included Galilee) - but are called 'men of Israel' or '(of the) Hebrews'.

Gentiles also included Latin Romans (called 'Kittim' in Hebrew texts), the Egyptians, Persians, Celts, Gauls, Goths and other Germans (all being garrisoned in the Holy Land at the time of Christ.)

Who brought the Gospel to our ancestors? Initially the Greek speaking Disciples. The Assyrian Church had initial success only towards the East (India, China, Japan) - but failed after it fell to the Nestorian heresy. So - why base one's faith primarily on anti-Indo-European sentiment?
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« Reply #49 on: July 26, 2006, 01:55:10 AM »

And he did! Even the name Paul is Greek!

If I am not mistaken, Saul of Tarsus changed his name to Paulus, upon visiting Sergius Paulus, the ruler of Cyprus.

The custom of Palestinian Judaism at the time (under the Roman Empire, not like Babylonian Jewry under the Persian Empire) was that of dual language use.

"“I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language; although I have so accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness. For our nation does not encourage those that learn the language of many nations. On this account, as there have been many who have done their endeavors, with great patience, to obtain this Greek learning, there have yet hardly been two or three that have succeeded herein, who were immediately rewarded for their pains.” — Antiquities XX, XI 2.

Is it not ironic that the same Greek scholars, who graciously accept Josephus’ teachings as supportive of the Bible, also reject his teaching that Greek was not as widespread as many today think? For according to Josephus, the Judeans discouraged the learning of Greek, sticking instead to Aramaic!"
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Online_Version/historical_proofs.htm


From what I can gather, the Jewish authorities so detested the influence of Hellenization, that they discouraged laymen from even learning and speaking the Greek language.

The dual Helleno-Semitic nature of 2nd Temple period Judaism is admitted by all mainstream scholars (Jewish and Christian.)

This is the prevailing groupthink of modern Western scholars. But the churches of the Syrian tradition, on the other hand, have held to Aramaic primacy. What I would prefer, instead of an appeal to the majority, is hard evidence.

Paul's Tarsus - in Cilicia, which had been Greek since the time of Alexander the Great (as was Antioch - which was primarily Greek in the days of Ss. Peter & Paul, as it remained until the Muslim conquest.)

Wouldn't Tarsus, as a city of Turkey, have been an Aramaic-speaking city? How much of Greek influence prevailed in Jewish culture despite the victory of Judas Macabees? Furthermore, even if Paul himself were able to speak Greek, that does not mean that his Epistles were originally written for Greek-speaking people.

Aramaic in the Jewish diaspora - same evidence as we have for Greek in the Diaspora.

What evidence do we have, other than the Septuagint, that the Jews of diaspora spoke Greek? Wasn't the Septuagint written for Jews who could speak neither Hebrew nor Aramaic? But among those who could speak either Semitic language, wasn't Greek highly discouraged?

The idea of Aramaic speakers as a 'race' is also quite false

"The Aramaeans, or Arameans, were a Semitic, semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated and had lived in upper Mesopotamia and Syria. Aramaeans have never had a unified empire; they were divided into independent kingdoms all across the Near East. Yet to these Aramaeans befell the privilege of imposing their language and culture upon the entire Near East and beyond. Scholars even have used the term 'Aramaization' for the Syro-Mesopotamian peoples, languages and cultures that have been made 'Aramean'."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramean_people

Gentiles also included Latin Romans (called 'Kittim' in Hebrew texts), the Egyptians, Persians, Celts, Gauls, Goths and other Germans (all being garrisoned in the Holy Land at the time of Christ.)

What I have asserted is that the books of the New Testament were originally penned in Aramaic, by Aramaic-speakers and for fellow Semites, and when the missionary movement broadened, the texts were then translated into Greek. Do you have evidence against my assessment?

Who brought the Gospel to our ancestors? Initially the Greek speaking Disciples. The Assyrian Church had initial success only towards the East (India, China, Japan) - but failed after it fell to the Nestorian heresy. So - why base one's faith primarily on anti-Indo-European sentiment?

I belong to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, of the Syrian Christian tradition, which has traditionally used the Aramaic Peshitta as the standard Biblical text. While I am of Greek ancestry, I dislike the influence of Hellenism in Western Christianity, and believe that Christianity must be understood from as Semitic a mindset as possible.

If Christianity really is the fulfillment of Judaism, why would its sacred text be written in a language not commonly spoken among Jews? If Greek really were a common language of this people, please provide positive evidence, or point to where such evidence can be found, instead of appealing to anonymous authorities.

Peace.
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« Reply #50 on: July 26, 2006, 10:25:58 AM »

Quote
If Christianity really is the fulfillment of Judaism, why would its sacred text be written in a language not commonly spoken among Jews? If Greek really were a common language of this people, please provide positive evidence, or point to where such evidence can be found, instead of appealing to anonymous authorities.

Then take note that the so-called 'Greek' Old Testament (Septuagint) was translated 300 years earlier by Jewish scholars - not Greeks. Why would they have done that?

Your opinions, assertions, beliefs, and charges thus far do not rise to logic (as you think) but display the argumentative style occasionally employed here by others (things like daring us to disprove negatives). Go back to Logic 101- if you must.

I gave up comparing the Aramaic texts with the Greek when I realized that I was merely comparing one translation into English with another possibly equally dubious translation into English. I am so glad you are an Aramaic scholar.  Wink
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« Reply #51 on: July 26, 2006, 02:17:55 PM »

A interesting thought....contact Mel Gibson and compare Aramaic notes and sources...I'm sure his are original and "orthodox"...

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« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2006, 03:59:07 PM »

Matthew; Yes, you are mistaken - St. Paul was called Paul long before he met Sergius Paulus. You are also mistaken in taking Josephus infallibly (scholars do not treat him as so, as he was primarily a polemicist and as a Pharisees, a member of a minority sect within Judaism.) Again, Judaeans only refers to those who actually inhabit the Roman province of Judea - of which only one of the 12 was originally Judaean, Judas Iscariot. The term "Jews" as a blanket term for all Israelites (including those from Galilee) only developed after the Diaspora (both post-70 AD and post-135 AD.) Tarsus was in Cilicia, the territory of the Indo-European speaking Hittites, who became part of Greek Civilization under Alexander the Great. From the 300's BC until the Muslim Conquest, all of Cilicia (including Tarsus) was solidly Greek speaking. The Muslim rule was relatively short before Byzantium liberated that territory in the 10th c. Within a century Cilicia had become heavily settled by the Indo-European Armenians - who remained the majority people of Cilicia up until the 20th c. (in fact, most Moslem Turks in Cilicia are in fact of Armenian-Anatolian descent, with an adopted Tuaranian language and identity.)

You were honest this time in one request  - you aren't looking for reliable sources or hard evidence, simply for non-Western sources. Good luck, as those in the East (as you define it) have had little in the way of academic development or achievement (outside of Western academia.) Middle Eastern scholarship, where not an extension of Roman Catholic or Anglican, is by and far that of Islam. You can't have it both ways - if you want hard evidence, objective truth - you'll have to accept Western scholars - legitimate ones, that is (George A. Lamsa isn't one of those, though, if you want to include him you might also be interested in some other 'scholars' like Graham Hancock http://www.grahamhancock.com.)

The evidence for Hellenic Judaism is so overwhelming from all disciplines that none have really ever challenged its existence (to do so takes something like Afrocentrism, which claims ancient Africans flew Airplanes before those nasty 'Semites and Europeans' stole all that technology.) Hard evidence has already been offered - the existence of the Septuagint (a Jewish work), the Greek texts (such as Enoch I) amongst the Qumran scrolls, the textual evidence from the New Testament (onomastics, the titulus on the Cross, the fact that the Maccabean books were written in Greek with no evidence for a Semitic 'original', and even as Dr. Sebastian Brock had pointed out - that the New Testament has puns and word play that works not only in Aramaic, but also in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin - suggesting a multi-lingual culture much like the Levant has always been.)

Aramaeans as a "race" - all of the 'Aramaic speaking' Empires conquered and included widely disparate races; from peoples natively Semitic speaking (though not all Aramaic speaking), Indo-European speaking, Hamitic speaking, and possibly even more.) The genetic diversity of the Middle East if one studies Y-STR and mtDNA shows the overwhelming diversity of the Middle East as not only a trade crossroads, but a cultural and *genetic* crossroads. However, it does illustrate how much racism and bigotry could be at the root of Lamsa's obsession.

Re: Hellenism and Western Christianity. Really not all that possible. Hellenism was something mostly resurrected by the Enlightenment (thank Lord Byron for that rather than St. John Chrysostom - a Greek speaking Antiochian.) Note it was the "Rum Millet" - it is only in the past two centuries that the Roman identity of Greece has mostly been displaced by Hellenic identity (marred both by the identification of 'Romaioi' identity and language with the Colonels, and with 'Rum' status under the Turks.) If you want Semitic as possible - you need to head back West from India and Persia. Say - Nazareth, Bethlehem, Hebron, Bethel, Jerusalem?

Why does Christianity as a fulfillment (and the continuity of Temple or 'Eucharistic Theology') have the Greek Scriptures? Because Alexandria was the center of Jewish learning - so much so that the 'auxilary Temple' of Judaism was built on Elephantine Island in the Nile Delta (look it up.) Alexandria was the hub of the Jewish Diaspora, and there was the Septuagint born. According to Jewish tradition, there are only 70 (or 72) Righteous Ones in each generation - those of the generation of Ptolemaic Egypt were supposed to have been the translators who produced the Septuagint (which where it varies from the Masoretic, has corroboration from the Old Hebrew texts found near the Dead Sea.) Interesting enough that the lesser Apostles number the same some three centuries later? And, Christianity was primarily outward looking - as promised by God through the Prophets, and as fulfilled with the worship of the Magi, the ingathering of the Nations required languages of the Nations - which for the Holy Land and Diaspora meant both Greek and Aramaic. Centuries later, in Byzantine Jerusalem, the Spanish pilgrim Egeria witnesses the same: the Churches in Jerusalem have dual language services - Greek and Syriac.

Beyond that, you have yet to make an assertion of your own (rather than just quoting - quoting is not assertion.) No assessment either. Assessment requires investigation, and as you've admitted, you haven't investigated the evidence for Hellenic Judaism.

Interesting thought - Christ spent his childhood where? He wasn't raised in Palestine - "Out of Egypt have I called my son". Let the Copts and Ethiopians tell you about that. (In fact, the same island that his family finally settled upon as a hideout is the same one now guarded by Ethiopian monks - where there is by tradition, and now possible archaeological evidence, of there having been a Jewish tabernacle for a full millenium before the Incarnation.)
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« Reply #53 on: July 26, 2006, 07:37:40 PM »

What then about the “lost 10 tribes”, the Israelites? Since they are not Judean, are they Gentile? If so, we have yet another prominent Aramaic-speaking Semitic group, as part of “the Gentiles”. 

M777,
I am quite familair with the 10 tribe/Gentile argument of the "two house" theory.  The "ethnos" Gentiles in context of the New Testament is sharply non-Israelite.  Certainly you would not consider the indo-Euro Gauls to be "lost Israelites" given Paul's words concerning the Mosaic law or his teaching about "all who are Christ's via faith are Abraham's children".   Also keep in mind that Paul sometimes is speaking to a mixed audience of Israelites (Jews) and non-Israelites (Gentiles) and this can account for some of the assertions you make connecting certain phrases which make the Gentiles seem Israelite. 

As another poster has already pointed out the 10 Tribes were not still 'in exile' during Christ's time.  In fact, the promised remnant of the 'ten tribes' - who escaped from the Assyrian kings - were already re-gathered back in the Holy Land in 2 Chron 30-34 and were certainly accounted for in the Second Temple period starting with Ezra.  That all of the re-gathered remnant of both houses were to be known as Jews is supported by Jezekiel 37:18-20 (LXX) which states that two houses of Juda and Israel will be made into one stick in Juda's hand.  This happened when Jerusalem was "chosen again" with the re-building of the second temple.  The people of Israel and "the Jews" are interchangeable after Ezra's return to Jerusalem for good reason. 

So when you read "to the Jew first, then the Greek" one must understand that the Jews represent all of the re-gathered Israelites enjoying the fulfillment of the many prophecies which show a rebuilt Kingdom, temple, etc.   The whole "two house" movement of which Dr. James Trimm is a part of does not take into account a re-gathered Israel and Juda back in the Holy Land.   
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« Reply #54 on: July 27, 2006, 09:42:19 AM »

A interesting thought....contact Mel Gibson and compare Aramaic notes and sources...I'm sure his are original and "orthodox"...

PAX
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You've got to be kidding, James.

The same Mel Gibson who purged all Greek, even where appropriate and historical, or at least scriptural, from his movie?
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« Reply #55 on: July 27, 2006, 10:54:38 AM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7782.msg129396#msg129396 date=1154007739]
You've got to be kidding, James.

The same Mel Gibson who purged all Greek, even where appropriate and historical, or at least scriptural, from his movie?
[/quote]

What - did you not see the obvious tongue-in-cheek there?
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« Reply #56 on: July 27, 2006, 11:11:40 AM »

Thank you Elisha...

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« Reply #57 on: July 27, 2006, 02:23:26 PM »

What he said... Embarrassed
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« Reply #58 on: July 27, 2006, 04:38:03 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7782.msg129255#msg129255 date=1153923958]
Then take note that the so-called 'Greek' Old Testament (Septuagint) was translated 300 years earlier by Jewish scholars - not Greeks. Why would they have done that?
[/quote]

Because this was in Alexandria, Egypt, not Israel, a place where many Jews could not speak either Aramaic nor Hebrew, thus making a Greek OT necessary.
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« Reply #59 on: July 27, 2006, 04:55:34 PM »

You were honest this time in one requestÂÂ  - you aren't looking for reliable sources or hard evidence, simply for non-Western sources.

I am looking for a Western source that can actually substantiate its assertions, instead of merely taking for granted that Jesus and the Apostles spoke Greek, and that the majority of the New Testament was originally written in Greek.

The evidence for Hellenic Judaism is so overwhelming from all disciplines that none have really ever challenged its existence

Judaism existed in the Greek-speaking world, but within the land of Israel, was not Hellenization greatly discouraged? The Qumran were outside of mainstream Palestinian Judaism.

Why does Christianity as a fulfillment (and the continuity of Temple or 'Eucharistic Theology') have the Greek Scriptures?

A common argument made by Western scholars, especially by those skeptical of the Christian faith, is that none of the Gospels could have been written by an Apostle, or someone close to an Apostle, because of the quality of the Greek. It is assumed that Jesus' earliest followers lacked the education and exposure to the Greek language as to author such texts. On the other hand, by assuming that the Apostles wrote in their own language, and then finding evidence to support this hypothesis, one can avoid this purported problem.

However, it does illustrate how much racism and bigotry could be at the root of Lamsa's obsession.

What reason is there to believe that George Lamsa was a racist? His adherance to Peshitta primacy was merely the teaching of the church in which he was raised, a teaching for which he provided supporting evidence.

Interesting thought - Christ spent his childhood where?

Jesus spent his childhood in Nazareth. The flight to Egypt was temporary, as to avoid Herod's slaughter of the innocents.

Peace.
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« Reply #60 on: July 27, 2006, 04:56:24 PM »

If you have any books to recommend, which prove the Greek authorship of the New Testament, please do so. It is not like my world would be turned upside if I were proved wrong, and the Scriptures would be no less true if written in Greek.
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« Reply #61 on: July 27, 2006, 04:58:41 PM »

Because this was in Alexandria, Egypt, not Israel, a place where many Jews could not speak either Aramaic nor Hebrew, thus making a Greek OT necessary.

I get the intense feeling you are just arguing for the sake of it. YOU always want proof - now put it up. Sources, please, and not your imagination.
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« Reply #62 on: July 27, 2006, 05:13:05 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7782.msg129508#msg129508 date=1154033921]
I get the intense feeling you are just arguing for the sake of it. YOU always want proof - now put it up. Sources, please, and not your imagination.
[/quote]

"“While Philo and his Alexandrian co-religionists looked upon the Seventy as the work of inspired men, Palestinian rabbis subsequently considered the day on which the Septuagint was completed as one of the most unfortunate in Israel's history, seeing that the Torah could never adequately be translated. And there are indications enough that the consequences of such translations were not all of a desirable nature.” — Jewish Publication Society 1955

“However, there are other commemorative days that fall immediately before the Tenth of Tevet and their memory has been silently incorporated in the fast day of the Tenth of Tevet as well. On the eighth of Tevet, King Ptolemy of Egypt forced 70 Jewish scholars to gather and translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Even though the Talmud relates to us that this project was blessed with a miracle -- the 70 scholars were all placed in separate cubicles and yet they all came up with the same translation -- the general view of the rabbis of the time towards this project was decidedly negative. The Talmud records that when this translation became public "darkness descended on the world."” — Rabbi Barry Leff
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Online_Version/historical_proofs.htm


Why would Jews who could read either Aramaic or Hebrew need a Greek translation? The Septuagint appears to have been written for Jews who could not speak either language.
I have no intention for arguing, I am honestly requesting the truth. I cannot deny obvious fact, and if I did, I would be a fool.

 
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« Reply #63 on: July 27, 2006, 06:19:44 PM »

Quote
Because this was in Alexandria, Egypt, not Israel, a place where many Jews could not speak either Aramaic nor Hebrew, thus making a Greek OT necessary.

Alexandria had the closest connections with Jerusalem of any other part of the Jewish Diaspora, basically being the "portal" through which much of the Diaspora abroad entered or interacted with Jerusalem. (Try this - http://classes.maxwell.syr.edu/his301-001/jeishh_diaspora_in_greece.htm by Boris Milgrom, Syracuse University.)

The only time when Greek-speaking Jews really had to fear in Palestine was immediately after the Maccabean revolt (things normalized after) - so much so that even the Pharisees used Greek terms *regularly* (how about 'Synagogue'? 'Sanhedrin'?)

Check out this, L. Michael White of U. Texas - Austin (PBS Frontline show - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/diaspora.html ) - the linked articles aren't evidence in themselves, but they give you places to begin. Write some scholars, ask them what evidence we have for majority opinions on the subject (don't do it in such a way they'll dismiss you as a kook, though - you want a response.)

Read: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=329&letter=D and http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=425&letter=G and http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=567&letter=H (keeping in mind both that it is a viewpoint of American Judaism, inheriting through European Judaism from the Pharisees.)


Quote
Judaism existed in the Greek-speaking world, but within the land of Israel, was not Hellenization greatly discouraged? The Qumran were outside of mainstream Palestinian Judaism.

As the above - Hellenization was only discouraged by one small sect which had a brief period of dominance (the Maccabean Revolt) - Qumran and the others outside of the mainstream? We don't have evidence to say so. Within the Land of Israel (which includes Judea, Samaria, and Galilee - there are contemporaries who point to the use of both Greek and Aramaic. We have evidence even from the Temple of the use of Greek, as well as Hebrew - not just Aramaic.)

Quote
A common argument made by Western scholars, especially by those skeptical of the Christian faith, is that none of the Gospels could have been written by an Apostle, or someone close to an Apostle, because of the quality of the Greek. It is assumed that Jesus' earliest followers lacked the education and exposure to the Greek language as to author such texts.

Not common enough - that isn't the mainstream opinion. Rather, the Greek of the New Testament varies with the author (note, some of them have Greek names.) Most of it is 'Koine Greek' of the Helleno-Judaic variety spoken amongst Jews of the Levant (from Asia through Syria and Palestine to Egypt) of variable quality - only one New Testament author had the mark of Classical training .. I'll let you answer which one that is by letting you do some research (my goal in this - who is it that most Biblical scholars consider to have the best Greek amongst the New Testament authors? Why might his Greek have been better based upon what we know of him?)

Quote
What reason is there to believe that George Lamsa was a racist?


Ethnocentrism is racism and bigotry. Anti-Hellenism is racism and bigotry. Anti-Westernism is racism and bigotry. 

Quote
Jesus spent his childhood in Nazareth. The flight to Egypt was temporary, as to avoid Herod's slaughter of the innocents.
 


Early childhood in Greek/Coptic speaking Egypt - by tradition not until 7 returning to Asia - and then to Greek speaking Galilee (Nazareth and Cana being suburbs of Greek speaking Hellenic-Jewish Sepphoris.) The first evidence we have of a return to Judea is when Christ is an adult (12/13 years old - and astounds the scribes with his teaching.) Note again - Iturea/Galilee (the land of the Apostles) is Greek and Greco-Jewish in that time... particulary so in its Southern parts. The first majority Semitic-language speaking people to the South would be the Samaritans.)

The texts you quote from the JPS and Rabbi Leff - prooftexts, not 'evidence'. One thing you might not realize about Judaism - there is no central teaching authority, and thereby there is not a single vision of history that is accepted. This even extends to theology - just because a Rabbi says it doesn't mean it is the 'Jewish view'. There are Rabbis that can prove permissible by Talmud (which calls Greek the most beautiful language) all sorts of things that most Jewish people and Christians together would condemn. Much written in the Talmud is simply ignored by even the most traditional and 'Orthodox' Rabbis. (And, notable - that anti-Western polemic traceable in your prooftexts to Western-derived Judaism ... the Greek named "Moses Maimonides", and the Jewish reaction/interaction with Western Christianity  - I can suggest a good book on the background of that development by Israeli scholar Israel Jacob Yuval.)

I'll also share some real Semitic culture with you - the Jewish aphorism; "three Jews, five opinions" (and, it is originally referring to doctrinal opinion on Torah!) You are doing a rather "Western" thing by trying to use secondary sources as "final proof", particularly texts that are no more than opinion (often polemic). You're trying to apply Hellenic rules of logic, and Western mathematics to Semitic issues in the name of "Semitic civilization". I hope you find that amusing ... I do.
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« Reply #64 on: July 27, 2006, 06:40:04 PM »

Seems I should have asked for unbiased sources...this is getting ridiculous.
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« Reply #65 on: July 27, 2006, 06:52:44 PM »

Interesting dialogue guys...  Grin
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« Reply #66 on: July 30, 2006, 08:51:51 AM »

The only time when Greek-speaking Jews really had to fear in Palestine was immediately after the Maccabean revolt (things normalized after)

Why did the Greek language regain favor?

Write some scholars, ask them what evidence we have for majority opinions on the subject

Truth is not determined by a vote of the majority. I believe that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and everything within, despite that the prevailing opinion of modern science is an essentially atheistic universe. If the majority of Western scholars hold to a particular opinion, it may be out of convenience or tradition rather than actual fact.

Qumran and the others outside of the mainstream?

If the Qumran community really were of the Essenes, then they were outside of mainstream Judaism.

Rather, the Greek of the New Testament varies with the author

More specifically, I am pointing to the Gospel of John. Skeptical scholars have argued it is unlikely that an uneducated Mediterranean Jew in his old age could have written a Gospel of such quality Greek.ÂÂ  

Ethnocentrism is racism and bigotry. Anti-Hellenism is racism and bigotry. Anti-Westernism is racism and bigotry.ÂÂ  

Perhaps ethnocentrism is what prevents the Western world from seriously considering Aramaic primacy. I have no racial or cultural bias that would prevent me from seeing either side. My main concern is finding the most accurate English translation of the Scriptures possible.ÂÂ  
Aramaic primacy isn't as important to me as avoiding the corrupt manuscripts that most modern Bibles are based upon.

Either way, I would like to own an accurate English translation of the text used in my particular church tradition.

"The Syriac version of the New Testament known as the Peshitto is one of the earliest wittnisses to the early New Testament text. The Peshitto has been, and still is, the official text of a multitude of Aramaic-speaking Churches: the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East, the Syriac Maronite Church, the Chaldean Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and seven established Churches in India including the Syro-Malankara Church, Syro-Malabar Church, and Mar Thoma Church."
http://gorgiaspress.com/bookshop/p-18-murdock-james-the-new-testament-a-literal-translation-from-the-syriac-peshitto-version.aspx

Peace.
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« Reply #67 on: July 30, 2006, 05:35:29 PM »

The reason why Greek survived the Maccabean revolt is because Maccabean independence was short-lived, and because there were others who lived in Palestine. After the assertion of Roman authority, the Jews became a favored people within the Empire - though the region of Judea had endemic uprisings (Galilee was more peaceful.)

The connection of Qumran with the Essenes is an out-dated theory. At present the prevailing view is that since the documents have such a strong connection with the Temple, that Qumran and other Dead Sea sites represent several different communities with various links - but primarily with the Temple (specifically as some of the documents match the Zadokites - ie, 'Sadducees', who were the mainstream and majority folk - being the Jews who worshipped primarily at the Temple, like Our Lord and his Disciples ... and St. Zacharias, the Forerunner's Father, etc.)

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Truth is not determined by a vote of the majority.

Strawman. Scholars don't 'vote' to decide truth. Majority opinion is based upon evidence and logic - if it can be argued well, stand up to criticism and peer review, then it becomes the majority opinion. So, not voting, but what is *tested* and tried.

St. John's Gospel is authentic - though it was written after the Apostle had a lifetime of experience (most of it in the Greek world.) The important point you are missing though - St. John did not write it himself. The Church remembers that St. John dictated, and it was written down by his scribe, St. Prochorus (the nephew of St. Stephen), later the bishop of Nicomedia.

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Perhaps ethnocentrism is what prevents the Western world from seriously considering Aramaic primacy

That's pretty funny - "Western ethnocentrism". The mark of "Western civilization" has been rather its deracination, and tendency of its members to follow the alien - the exact opposite of ethnocentrism. What prevents Western scholars from seriously considering Aramaic primacy is the lack of evidence, the existence of solid evidence (and continuous tradition) otherwise, and rational thought on the matter. Remember, the Eastern criticism of Western civilization is both in the attempt to emphasize Will over Fate, and in use of Rational Thought over Custom or Emotion. Wink

By all means, buy the Gorgias press edition of the Syriac Peshitto.

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« Reply #68 on: July 31, 2006, 12:44:03 AM »

Majority opinion is based upon evidence and logic - if it can be argued well, stand up to criticism and peer review, then it becomes the majority opinion. So, not voting, but what is *tested* and tried.

Sometimes, majority opinion is based upon groupthink, no matter how educated or credentialed the experts. Until rather recently, the majority of the world's intelligence agencies believed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Before the Copernican revolution, the majority of scientists held that the sun revolves around the earth. Today, we are told that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. Rather than an appeal to the majority, I would prefer for someone to point me toward hard evidence, wherever it may be.

What prevents Western scholars from seriously considering Aramaic primacy is the lack of evidence, the existence of solid evidence (and continuous tradition) otherwise, and rational thought on the matter.

Have you considered the internal evidence within the New Testament that points to its Aramaic origin?
http://aramaicpeshitta.com/WastheNewTestamentReallyWritteninGreek1c.pdf
http://aramaicpeshitta.com/Peshitta_Dummies_FirstEd.pdf

The mistranslations, split words, Aramaic idioms, and puns are reason enough to hold to an Aramaic original. Combined with what historical evidence we do have, Aramaic primacy is the more reasonable option. What you have not addressed is the numerous internal evidences that Aramaic primacists use, instead appealing to the majority of Western scholars.

Did God forsake His own Son on the cross? Am I to hate my mother and father to follow Jesus? Would people hardly die for a righteous man? Did Jesus predict that His second coming would happen within the first century? Is it impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, given that a camel could never pass through the eye of a needle? Does foolishness of preaching save those who believe? Does God lead us into temptation? These and other problems that Western apologists attempt to explain away can be completely avoided if one does not accept the mistranslations of the Greek New Testament.

Peace.
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« Reply #69 on: July 31, 2006, 07:06:44 AM »

In this case, the view of multi-lingual Scriptural tradition based upon an Old Hebrew source through Greek is the prevailing school because of evidence and Tradition. I've already suggested the next steps to take if you want to know why - in the meantime, falling back on Lamsaisms does no good.

As for the internal evidence - there are idioms and puns in the New Testament that work only in Greek, or in Latin, or Hebrew as well - so, no, Aramaic primacy is not the more reasonable option.

The first one is a *big* mistake of Lamsa's - Christ was directly quoting the Psalmist on the cross. It is a Semitic idea of reference - "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me" immediately calls to mind the rest of the Psalm - "they pierced my hands and my feet, I may tell all my bones; they stand staring and looking upon me. They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture." ... "All the ends of the world shall remember themselves and be turned unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him." 

This desire of Lamsa's is no doubt connected to the religion he has bias towards (his Islamo-Christian 'groupthink'.) The problem with his approach of claiming 'mistranslations' is that they provide a whole new theological framework entirely alien not only to the 'West' (which he strangely includes the Greeks with), but even alien to  Syrian, Arabic, Armenian and Coptic theology! There is no 'attempt to explain away' anything, because there are no mistranslations. There are textual variations - something which had never been a problem until most recent times; again, Lamsa showing his quite Modernist Western mindset. Wink
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« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2006, 11:16:18 PM »

As for the internal evidence - there are idioms and puns in the New Testament that work only in Greek, or in Latin, or Hebrew as well - so, no, Aramaic primacy is not the more reasonable option.

Interesting. Could you please provide examples? As far as the mistranslations in the Greek which I have alluded to, could you please explain them?

The first one is a *big* mistake of Lamsa's - Christ was directly quoting the Psalmist on the cross.

Psalm 21 in the Lamsa translation reads, "Why have you spared me?" Nonetheless, the Aramaic word which translates as "spared" in the Gospel can be confused as "forsaken."
If the Father is in the Son and the Son is with the Father, and the Father is always with the Son, how could the Son be forsaken? That sounds like adoptionism to me.

There is no 'attempt to explain away' anything, because there are no mistranslations.

It would be best for you to refute the examples given of mistranslations. Here is one example:
ROMANS v. 7, 8. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Can you believe this glaring contradiction? What difference is there between a "good man" and a "righteous man"? Good thing in the Aramaic original, we find that seldom would one die for a "wicked man."

I know that Lamsa might be a lightning rod for criticism, but attacking the person rather than the actual argument is never good form. Furthermore, misrepresenting him as the entirety of the Aramaic primacy movement isn't accurate. That's like claiming that the theory of evolution is false merely because Charles Darwin popularized it.
As I've stated before, the Aramaic Peshitta is the traditional Biblical text of the Malankara Church. If you could show that it is not the authentic New Testament, but rather merely the copy of a Greek original, please do so.

Peace.

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« Reply #71 on: August 01, 2006, 04:12:55 PM »

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Interesting. Could you please provide examples? As far as the mistranslations in the Greek which I have alluded to, could you please explain them?

Nope - not interested. If you've got some beef to pick with your Greek upbringing, you can work it out on your own time.

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Psalm 21 in the Lamsa translation reads, "Why have you spared me?" Nonetheless, the Aramaic word which translates as "spared" in the Gospel can be confused as "forsaken."

Yes - and he is wrong. The Hebrew Psalm beings - "Eli Eli Lamah Azavtani" - the root "Azav" (Ayin, Zayin, Vet) specifically means to "leave, abandon, leave behind, desert". There is no sense of 'spared' - maybe Lamsa confused Bet/Vet for Resh - Azar being 'help, assist, aid'. So, the Hebrew is literally - My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? - one where the English translation matches the Hebrew *exactly*.

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If the Father is in the Son and the Son is with the Father, and the Father is always with the Son, how could the Son be forsaken? That sounds like adoptionism to me.

Yet it isn't - and don't let their sophistries talk you into it. It is a mystery of the Faith, not something you're going to figure out mathematically - go back and read up on "kenosis." I'll note what you are describing isn't something that Oriental Orthodox would agree to either - officially, and all that I've met (lay and clergy) hold the same Orthodoxy as the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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Can you believe this glaring contradiction? What difference is there between a "good man" and a "righteous man"? Good thing in the Aramaic original, we find that seldom would one die for a "wicked man."

No contradiction - in Hebrew there is a distinction between an "Ish Tov" and a "Tzaddik" - it is said of ha Ish-Tov, that he is as was Joseph - but that the Tzaddik is as was Noah. The distinction, then, is a Hebraism (immediately recognizable to those of us who know Torah.) However, I'm not sure that it illustrates a Hebrew original (as the Jerusalem School postulates) - as Hebrew idioms are carried over in direct translation to Judeo-Greek, Judeo-Aramaic, Judeo-Latin, etc. So, when I read that phrase I see it automatically as a Hebrew literary convention - If +, and even ++, then how much more +++?  (A good man is the one who exercises restraint in the face of temptation - Joseph being called a 'greater Tzaddik' because it was direct temptation, and his restraint was internal. His brother  Benjamin is called a 'lesser Tzaddik', because he lived 'tov' because of the influence of his good brother.) The Righteous (Tzaddik), however, is one who is totally self-less; everything they do is for others - because of a Tzaddik, an Ish-Tov is possible (as Ish-Tov are seen as the recipients of the blessings that God sends down because of a Tzaddik.) How much more so for Christ, who is the very reason there can even be Tzaddiks? - So, there you go - if you want a Semitic reading of that verse. Wink

Quote
I know that Lamsa might be a lightning rod for criticism, but attacking the person rather than the actual argument is never good form. Furthermore, misrepresenting him as the entirety of the Aramaic primacy movement isn't accurate. That's like claiming that the theory of evolution is false merely because Charles Darwin popularized it.

Apples and oranges. Lamsa is being exposed because of his being presented after the manner of his cult-followers. The man was held up as a paragon of Semitic Christianity - so, his person *should* be discussed. If the argument *for* wasn't based so much upon the person of Lamsa, we wouldn't have to discuss him. As for Aramaic 'primacy' - yes, he pretty much was the movement.

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As I've stated before, the Aramaic Peshitta is the traditional Biblical text of the Malankara Church. If you could show that it is not the authentic New Testament, but rather merely the copy of a Greek original, please do so.

The Aramaic peshitto is the traditional text - or does the Malankara church use the Nestorian editing of the manuscript? Also, no question about its authenticity - the Peshitto is authentic, as is the Greek New Testament, the Latin, etc. It isn't an issue of 'primacy'. And, most importantly, the Malankara Church doesn't stand on its own - you are in one Church with the Copts, who also had the Greek texts.
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« Reply #72 on: August 01, 2006, 04:53:06 PM »

Nope - not interested.

You are aware of the examples given of minstranslations in the Greek NT. If you are able to explain how they are not mistranslations, and that I really should hate my mother and father to follow Christ, please do so.

Yet it isn't - and don't let their sophistries talk you into it. It is a mystery of the Faith, not something you're going to figure out mathematically - go back and read up on "kenosis."

Despite emptying himself, the Son would not be forsaken by the Father, given that the Father is always with the Son.


No contradiction

Could you please cite a source for this? That is rather interesting.

Apples and oranges. Lamsa is being exposed because of his being presented after the manner of his cult-followers.

Aramaic primacy did not originate with George Lamsa, and there would be evidences in favor of an Aramaic original without him. Lamsa was not a cult leader, it is more likely that he was willing to speak to any audience that was willing to listen.

The Aramaic peshitto is the traditional text - or does the Malankara church use the Nestorian editing of the manuscript?

The Assyrian Church of the East isn't Nestorian in its christology. Though the Lamsa Bible isn't officially endorsed by my church, it is used by members of the clergy.

Also, no question about its authenticity

The authentic New Testament would be the original, anything else would be a copy. Though we may not have the autograph, we should be able to find whatever is closest.

Is there any book or website which refutes Aramaic primacy, without resorting to strawmen and personal attacks?

Peace.
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« Reply #73 on: August 01, 2006, 05:40:13 PM »

Hate is a term of preference - the change in modern English for the term 'hate' was not intended by the translators. However, that is the same term of preference in use when speaking of Esau - "Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated." Not in the sense in modern English where one 'hates', but that God did give preference to Jacob over Esau, as we are called to give preference to Christ over all - even our own families.

And, as I've pointed out before - you're still trying to untangle the 'forsaking' like it is some mathematical puzzle. It is present in the Hebrew, is present therefore in the Greek - the Psalmist says it as prophesy about Christ, and Christ quotes it. You're not understanding the referential speaking in Semitic thought - as you haven't been raised with Torah from your youth. I'll explain again - if one references the verse, one references the whole. It is the same when Christ says of himself to the Pharisees that he will be seen seated at the right hand of the Father. It doesn't look explicity to the outsider, but to one raised with Torah and the oral tradition - none can sit at the right hand but a Son - inside the culture it is an explicit claim to being the Angel of the Lord. So, saying "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me" brings to automatic recall: "and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him."

As for sources - you'd have to read plenty of Talmud and other Jewish writings. I don't suggest it for a Christian. Much of it is oral tradition passed down in Semitic families. Much of it is inherent in the language itself - see who is called 'Tzaddik' and who is called 'Ish Tov' in the Scriptures.

And, like it or not - Lamsa *was* a cult leader who associated with other cults. (Forget the Christian Mohammedan Society? That doesn't mean 'Christian and Mohammedan cooperation' but a hybrid - the 'Christian Mohammedan' individual or faith.) And the idea of Aramaic primacy is very much tied to Lamsa - which is why your whole argument for the same has revolved around Lamsa, his claims, and his present-day following. Much of the whole 'Aramaic primacy' pseudo-science is predicated upon the 'uniqueness' of Lamsa, and that he was raised so Semitic (before it was wiped out.) Yet - he misses out on some of the basic things inferred from Semitic language, culture, and knowledge of Torah? How un-Semitic.

Quote
Is there any book or website which refutes Aramaic primacy, without resorting to strawmen and personal attacks?

Sure - if you can find a book or website that actually establishes Aramaic primacy without pseudoscience, strawmen, or other logical fallacies. Wink So far, there *is* no claim for Aramaic primacy, as there has been no evidence put forward. See if you can make the argument without using Lamsa and his arguments?

Added:
Quote
Could you please cite a source for this?

I should point out - you've repeatedly said you want Semitic without Western thought. Yet, I've given you Semitic answers - but you now make a Western demand for citation of sources? Which way do you want it? Semitic or Western?

Quote
The authentic New Testament would be the original, anything else would be a copy.


The originals were not in a "New Testament" but separately circulated Epistles and Gospels. Biblical scholars argue for different origins for each text - but there is no evidence of an 'original text' of a single language for the New Testament. At best, we have a complete New Testament by the 3rd c. Before there, no talk of a collection of the same - simply Gospels, Epistles, or the Apocalypse. Nor does the idea of 'authentic' mean there is only one copy with a precise text in a certain text. We don't even have that for the Old Testament (which Qumran shows, as well as the Fathers  - that textual variation was not seen as a threat to authenticity or validity of a text.) Again - another item where modern Enlightenment/Protestant thought isn't necessarily helpful. The urge to try to find some 'pure primitive' text or Church - that isn't Orthodox.
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« Reply #74 on: August 01, 2006, 07:52:37 PM »

Hate is a term of preference - the change in modern English for the term 'hate' was not intended by the translators.

If you consider the context, to "put aside" is a better translation than "hate," if one considers the Aramaic word used in the Peshitta.

And, as I've pointed out before - you're still trying to untangle the 'forsaking' like it is some mathematical puzzle. It is present in the Hebrew, is present therefore in the Greek

Is it present in the Peshitta Tanakh, or did Lamsa intentionally mistranslate his own Scripture?

And, like it or not - Lamsa *was* a cult leader who associated with other cults.

Even if that were true, it could not be used as a logical argument against his scholarship.

See if you can make the argument without using Lamsa and his arguments?

Numerous examples of mistranslations in the Greek have been found since George Lamsa's death. Aramaic primacy did not begin with Lamsa, and it did not die with him. An attack on Lamsa's character does not equal a refutation of Aramaic primacy.

Here is another example, the imfamous false prediction of Matthew 24. Did Jesus foretell His second coming to happen within the first century, or is "generation" nothing more than a mistranslation? The Greek "genea" can mean a race or tribe, but that is not the common definition. In the Aramaic, we find that "tribe" is the correct translation, thus dispelling that Jesus was a false prophet or somehow metaphorically returned in the fall of Jerusalem.ÂÂ  

but you now make a Western demand for citation of sources?

Facts are facts, both in the West and in the East.

The urge to try to find some 'pure primitive' text or Church - that isn't Orthodox.

Orthodoxy is the pure, primitive Church, as founded by Jesus and the Apostles. And if His words will never pass away, there must be a New Testament text that preserves what was written in the original autographs.

Peace.
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« Reply #75 on: August 02, 2006, 08:35:11 AM »


Orthodoxy is the pure, primitive Church, as founded by Jesus and the Apostles. And if His words will never pass away, there must be a New Testament text that preserves what was written in the original autographs.


Not necessary as long as the author is still around, and I don't think the Holy Spirit is going away any time soon. Perhaps you have read the life of St Mary of Egypt, who quoted the scriptures to Fr Zosimas despite not having a bible to hand her entire life.

I remember St John Chrysostom saying something along the lines that scripture was only necessary because we were so useless at purifying ourselves of the passions, otherwise we would all become true theologians and have the Word of God in our minds all the time.

John

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« Reply #76 on: August 02, 2006, 10:05:55 AM »

Not necessary as long as the author is still around, and I don't think the Holy Spirit is going away any time soon. Perhaps you have read the life of St Mary of Egypt, who quoted the scriptures to Fr Zosimas despite not having a bible to hand her entire life.

I remember St John Chrysostom saying something along the lines that scripture was only necessary because we were so useless at purifying ourselves of the passions, otherwise we would all become true theologians and have the Word of God in our minds all the time.

John

Amen.  Nice post John!
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« Reply #77 on: August 02, 2006, 02:11:25 PM »

I remember St John Chrysostom saying something along the lines that scripture was only necessary because we were so useless at purifying ourselves of the passions

How may I purify myself of the passions?
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« Reply #78 on: August 02, 2006, 02:26:32 PM »

How may I purify myself of the passions?

Die.

There is absolutely nothing WRONG with the Passions as long as they do not consume us.
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« Reply #79 on: August 02, 2006, 02:50:07 PM »

Die.

There is absolutely nothing WRONG with the Passions as long as they do not consume us.

The problem is, they do consume each and every one of us, and only a minority of people ever realize this (ie. they respond to grace) and start to try to undo the effects.  Even little things lead to bigger problems.  How many people suffer from a spouse that does not pay attention to them because they are too busy working all the time? Or a child who does not respect them? Or a parent who discourages them?  Or neighbors who are rude? Or a boss who is unfair? The passions are what lead people away from a life of self sacrifice and love to a life of selfishness and self-isolation.  It takes away our true humanity and does not allow us to really participate in the life in Christ and have true communion with our fellow man. Passions are truly insidious, especially when they make us believe we are "happy" with them.

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« Reply #80 on: August 02, 2006, 02:50:53 PM »

How may I become a more selfless person?
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« Reply #81 on: August 02, 2006, 03:10:34 PM »

Quote
Even if that were true, it could not be used as a logical argument against his scholarship.

Sure it does - where it exposes bias and agenda. That Lamsa had 'scholarship' has not been proven either. Do any of the educational institutions he claims to have attended retain records of him? Those who have researched him say no. I should point out - you've argued Aramaic primacy pretty much solely from Lamsa and his followers. Again - can you do so without Lamsa (or without the arguments he presents?)


Quote
Here is another example, the imfamous false prediction of Matthew 24. Did Jesus foretell His second coming to happen within the first century, or is "generation" nothing more than a mistranslation?

Nothing 'infamous' or 'false' about it. 'They knew Him in the breaking of Bread, Alleluia'. We have a Second Coming everytime we partake in Holy Communion (or rather, partake in the only Second Coming, the same way we bloodlessly partake in the Sacrifice on the Cross.) The abomination of desolation occurred in 70 AD - the generation had not passed. That has been the traditional view, and doesn't require a 'cooking of the books'

Quote
Facts are facts, both in the West and in the East.

How Modern. Like it or not, Eastern thought (particularly Semitic) doesn't thing about things quite the same way. Block logic (the normal Semitic mode of thought) means that contradictory 'facts' may both be true without actual contradiction. There is no 'linearity' where everything must fit a 'big picture' (a rather Greco-Roman idea.) Prophecies may also be fulfilled more than once in different ways in Semitic thought.

Quote
Orthodoxy is the pure, primitive Church, as founded by Jesus and the Apostles. And if His words will never pass away, there must be a New Testament text that preserves what was written in the original autographs.

Yes - but you are still talking about the Primitivist urge - which is entirely Protestant. Christ's words never pass away because they are at the heart of the Tradition of the Church. Not because of 'original autographs'. It isn't a text that preserves and is preserved but the Church itself. And, like it or not, Orthodoxy has preserved the Scriptures in Greek as well as other languages - as the Prophets foretold, it would be inscribed in our hearts. So, the search for 'original autographs' is not an Orthodox impulse, or consistent with the Semitic mind.

Quote
How may I become a more selfless person?

Ascesis. The Church is both hospital and school - at some point one has to quit analysis (which is external) and begin praxis (which is internal). Prayer, fasting, study of (not about) the Scriptures and Fathers, good works, the partaking of the sacraments - all many of the actual tools the Church has for us to be purified of the passions, as it were the 'surgical tools' that the Great Physician works on us with.
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« Reply #82 on: August 02, 2006, 05:22:01 PM »

How may I become a more selfless person?

1) As Paul says in an Epistle, pray without ceasing. (The Way of a Pilgrim is a good book on this.)  and...

2) Be like the Sheep in Christ's parable of the Sheep and the Goats (I think in Matthew).

If we all would do this, World Peace would occur.  But we are all such miserable failures.  We need to be as a famous corporation has as it's slogan and "Just Do It."
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« Reply #83 on: August 02, 2006, 07:34:09 PM »

Sure it does - where it exposes bias and agenda.ÂÂ  

The bias of the Western world is that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. There may be evidence to justify that bias, but it still exists. If Lamsa had any agenda, it was to defend the Biblical text of the church in which he was raised.

I should point out - you've argued Aramaic primacy pretty much solely from Lamsa and his followers.

What matters is whether or not the arguments presented are actually valid, not who they are originating from. Once again, attacking the person is not a logical argument. The theory of evolution would not be false if Charles Darwin were an "evil atheist."

Nothing 'infamous' or 'false' about it. 'They knew Him in the breaking of Bread, Alleluia'. We have a Second Coming everytime we partake in Holy Communion (or rather, partake in the only Second Coming, the same way we bloodlessly partake in the Sacrifice on the Cross.) The abomination of desolation occurred in 70 AD - the generation had not passed. That has been the traditional view, and doesn't require a 'cooking of the books'

Did this happen within the generation of Jesus? -

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

"Tribe" or "race" would be a better translation, considering the context.ÂÂ  

If you could point me to a book or website which proves that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, rather than merely taking that for granted, please do so. Otherwise, there is no reason to continue discussing this.
Evidence and facts are what matters, not childish name calling.

Peace.
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« Reply #84 on: August 02, 2006, 07:38:44 PM »

1) As Paul says in an Epistle, pray without ceasing. (The Way of a Pilgrim is a good book on this.)ÂÂ  and...

I often say the prayer of the heart in order to avoid the temptation to sin. It seems to work most of the time.
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« Reply #85 on: August 03, 2006, 02:05:15 PM »

Is it me, or is this conversation getting nowhere quickly?
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« Reply #86 on: August 03, 2006, 03:10:12 PM »

Is it me, or is this conversation getting nowhere quickly?

Right you are, which is why I have requested an outside source which confirms that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, rather than talking in circles any longer.
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« Reply #87 on: August 03, 2006, 03:19:44 PM »

May I ask one simple question? I haven't read the book you're refering to, but this thought came to me...has the author ever seen a fragment of the NT written in Greek?
http://libraries.theeuropeanlibrary.org/TELimages/treasures/va02.jpg
Who on earth, according to him, set the punctuation marks, who put the comma here or the period there, so that the meaning is this and not that? (if not the Church?)
...just my 0.02 Eurocents   Grin
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« Reply #88 on: August 03, 2006, 03:31:34 PM »

Right you are, which is why I have requested an outside source which confirms that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, rather than talking in circles any longer.

Er, well - they're not getting your point, and you're not getting theirs.  I wasn't taking a side, because neither side is making headway.
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« Reply #89 on: August 03, 2006, 03:33:00 PM »

Right you are, which is why I have requested an outside source which confirms that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, rather than talking in circles any longer.

Prolonging the agony of this thread...why don't YOU define an "outside source"? Outside what, the Church? Outside Orthodoxy and 99% of Heterodoxy? Buddhists, perhaps... Roll Eyes
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« Reply #90 on: August 03, 2006, 07:36:23 PM »

Er, well - they're not getting your point, and you're not getting theirs.ÂÂ  I wasn't taking a side, because neither side is making headway.

I agree with you, which is why I'd rather read a book which proves either side than continue this unfruitful discussion.
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« Reply #91 on: August 03, 2006, 07:39:01 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7782.msg130244#msg130244 date=1154633580]
Prolonging the agony of this thread...why don't YOU define an "outside source"? Outside what, the Church? Outside Orthodoxy and 99% of Heterodoxy? Buddhists, perhaps... Roll Eyes
[/quote]

Outside of this forum. Wink

Peace.
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« Reply #92 on: August 03, 2006, 08:05:13 PM »

If Paul Younan were merely a follower of George Lamsa, he wouldn't be creating his own translation which deviates from Lamsa's. Younan is not a Lamsa cult follower, but a member of the Assyrian Orthodox Church.

http://peshitta.org/

Is it possible that the Peshitta does not contain four of the General Epistles, the book of Revelation, nor the story of the woman taken in adultery, because the text dates back to before these were popularly accepted into the New Testament canon?

Peace.
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« Reply #93 on: August 04, 2006, 01:03:59 AM »


Is it possible that the Peshitta does not contain four of the General Epistles, the book of Revelation, nor the story of the woman taken in adultery, because the text dates back to before these were popularly accepted into the New Testament canon?


And thus no one bothered to translate them into Aramaic? I don't think this supports your line of thinking Wink

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« Reply #94 on: August 04, 2006, 04:08:24 PM »

If Paul Younan were merely a follower of George Lamsa, he wouldn't be creating his own translation which deviates from Lamsa's. Younan is not a Lamsa cult follower, but a member of the Assyrian Orthodox Church.

http://peshitta.org/

Is it possible that the Peshitta does not contain four of the General Epistles, the book of Revelation, nor the story of the woman taken in adultery, because the text dates back to before these were popularly accepted into the New Testament canon?

Peace.

I went to that link and found an interesting debate on the antiquity of the Peshitta vs. the Greek.

Here is a snip from that debate:

"The Dictionary of the New Testament Background - "In due course, the rather free translation of the Old Syriac was revised on the basis of an early form of the Koine, or Byzantine, Greek text; this revision, eventually called the Peshitta (to distinguish it from the Harclean), emerged ca. 400 to become the standard New Testament text of the Syriac churches. The Peshitta covers the whole New Testament, apart from 2-3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation (none of which formed part of the early Syriac canon)."

....The oldest MSS of the Peshitta dates from A.D. 463-464, which can't compare to the surviving Greek MSS of the New Testament and the scholarly consensus is that your "holy" book originated from translated Greek MSS.  If I am wrong, then point me to the 30-40 A.D. Aramaic prototype. If you can't, then you are blowing hot air. "

Younan did not rebut this statement in his short reply back to his opponent.  What would the 'pro-Peshitta' rebuttal to the above statement be?  Anybody?
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« Reply #95 on: August 04, 2006, 04:14:36 PM »

Good post, ROCORthodox.

Makes me miss our old 'bookmark' function for future reference.
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« Reply #96 on: August 04, 2006, 10:42:08 PM »

And thus no one bothered to translate them into Aramaic? I don't think this supports your line of thinking Wink

John.

These were translated into Aramaic after the Peshitta was originally compiled. The Western Peshitto, a later translation, does not omit them.
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« Reply #97 on: August 04, 2006, 10:48:37 PM »

What would the 'pro-Peshitta' rebuttal to the above statement be?ÂÂ  Anybody?

Probably that the Peshitta dates back to the second century, and that the Yonan codex testifies to this:
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/khabouris.htm

I have no problem with the Greek New Testament other than its apparent mistranslations. I prefer the Aramaic Peshitta, among other reasons, because it is the traditional text of my church.
If one were able to prove that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, I would not feel disappointed or offended. I have nothing at stake other than finding and holding to the truth, whatever it may be.

Peace.
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« Reply #98 on: August 10, 2006, 07:54:50 PM »

A point made recently, that was ignored, is that the Peshitta contains an earlier New Testament canon than the Greek:

"The seven "Catholic" Epistles (James, Jude, I and II Peter, and the three of John) had not yet been brought into a special group, and, with the possible exception of the three of St. John, remained isolated units, depending for their canonical strength on variable circumstances. But towards the end of the second century the canonical minimum was enlarged and, besides the Gospels and Pauline Epistles, unalterably embraced Acts, I Peter, I John (to which II and III John were probably attached), and Apocalypse. Thus Hebrews, James, Jude, and II Peter remained hovering outside the precincts of universal canonicity, and the controversy about them and the subsequently disputed Apocalypse form the larger part of the remaining history of the Canon of the New Testament However, at the beginning of the third century the New Testament was formed in the sense that the content of its main divisions, what may be called its essence, was sharply defined and universally received, while all the secondary books were recognized in some Churches. A singular exception to the universality of the above-described substance of the New Testament was the Canon of the primitive East Syrian Church, which did not contain any of the Catholic Epistles or Apocalypse."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm

If the Peshitta were translated from a Greek text, why would it omit these books? It is more likely that the Peshitta is of an earlier date, and that these were added to the canon later on.

Peace.
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« Reply #99 on: August 10, 2006, 11:22:57 PM »

If the Peshitta were translated from a Greek text, why would it omit these books? It is more likely that the Peshitta is of an earlier date, and that these were added to the canon later on.

Ummmm, because there wasn't originally a single Greek canon? There are too many possible explanations here. They might have known of the books and rejected them, or they may have worked from a Greek text that omitted them, or.... The absence is interesting but not sufficiently telling in itself.
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« Reply #100 on: August 11, 2006, 01:13:53 AM »

I can see why you'd make those considerations. But Greek primacists, if I am not mistaken, claim that the Peshitta was translated at a time when the Greek canon was long already established. What reasons would the translators have for omitting these books?

I'd like to stop this debate for a moment to say that God's Word is really all that matters, no matter its original language. As I've said before, I have nothing to lose if the Gospel were written in Greek, just as you have nothing to lose if it were in Aramaic.

Peace.
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« Reply #101 on: August 12, 2006, 08:42:28 PM »

Peshitta?

I thought you guys have been arguing over that overpriced Italian ham!! Cheesy
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« Reply #102 on: August 13, 2006, 07:37:50 PM »

Disimus -
What a great line!
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« Reply #103 on: August 13, 2006, 11:59:53 PM »

I know that George Lamsa is quite the polarizing figure, but so was Father Seraphim Rose. Though his position on toll houses may have been questionable, that does not automatically discredit the entirety of his theology and scholarship.
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« Reply #104 on: August 14, 2006, 07:44:20 AM »

Peshitta?

I thought you guys have been arguing over that overpriced Italian ham!! Cheesy

No, just a little bit of baloney.
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« Reply #105 on: August 15, 2006, 08:49:17 AM »

This site provides an explanation for why Greek was chosen as the language of the New Testament, providing evidences that Jesus and the Apostles were fluent in this language:
http://www.ntgreek.org/answers/nt_written_in_greek.htm

Though it may not be enough for me to change my mind, it is the kind of source I would have hoped for in this discussion from someone in support of its position.

Peace.
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« Reply #106 on: August 15, 2006, 11:40:59 AM »

I think I found all anyone needs to know in this book below:

http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Peshitta_Dummies_FirstEd.pdf

You have to admit it is a catchy title.
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« Reply #107 on: August 15, 2006, 12:35:29 PM »

It is a good read, and provides rather solid of a case for Peshitta primacy.
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« Reply #108 on: August 19, 2006, 08:26:46 PM »

I know that George Lamsa is quite the polarizing figure, but so was Father Seraphim Rose. Though his position on toll houses may have been questionable, that does not automatically discredit the entirety of his theology and scholarship.

Except - Fr. Seraphim Rose was/is Orthodox ... Lamsa was not/is not. Lamsa is also not a scholar, but a psuedo-scholar.

The problem with the whole 'Peshitta primacy' argument is that it requires a Protestant worldview; that of a pristine text from the beginnings (or as the beginnings) of the Church. The term used to describe this is Primitivism. The push towards finding evidence for the theory of Aramaic Primacy is simply Primitivism (with a dash of support of local ethnocentrism for those who want to bolster feelings of inferiority vs. Greeks, Copts, Armenians, Arabs, etc.) There is archaelogical evidence enough that the environment was multi-lingual, and enough (onomastic, and cultural inertia) to show Greek, as well as Aramaic, were used from the beginnings. But, the onus is on those who are trying to prove 'Aramaic Primacy' to prove against evidence, that Greek was unknown. That is what the argument is really about for the Aramaic Primacists - their claim that Greek is bad, unknown, contrary to Christianity. It will take much more than the methods of 19th c. German Literary Criticism (extrapolating from prooftexts) to prove Aramaic Primacy. You've got to disprove the existence of 2nd Temple Greek texts in Jewish Palestine (which we do have in the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' from Qumran and else), disprove the cultural impact of the Empire of Alexander (still in evidence even as far east as Afghanistan), and so much more. The most important part - one has to prove a negative - there is no explicit information on the linguistic knowledge or ignorance of the Apostles. We do have onomastic evidence showing they had both Semitic and Hellenic names - and textual/historical evidence (even archaeological) that the Early Christians included both Hebrews, Aramaics, and from early on a *large* number of Greeks (whether ethnic or Hellenized Jews.) So - the advancement of the modern theory of Aramaic Primacy has quite a bit of a ways to go to gain any standing. As of yet, nothing solid has been offered to make the theory acceptable.
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« Reply #109 on: August 20, 2006, 01:52:38 AM »

Lamsa is also not a scholar, but a psuedo-scholar.

That is obviously disputable.

The problem with the whole 'Peshitta primacy' argument is that it requires a Protestant worldview; that of a pristine text from the beginnings (or as the beginnings) of the Church.

If that were true, why would Peshitta primacy be the official teaching of the Assyrian Church of the East?

That is what the argument is really about for the Aramaic Primacists - their claim that Greek is bad, unknown, contrary to Christianity.

I have not seen or heard any Aramaic primacist who has actually made that claim. The argument made is that the New Testament was originally written by Semitic-speaking people, for Semitic-speaking people, and about Semitic-speaking people, and therefore would not have been written in Greek. The question of whether or not the Apostles spoke fluent Greek is beside the point.
The question is what would have been the best language to reach the lost tribes of Israel, who were to be the first receivers of the Gospel message. Numerous times, both Jesus and Saint Paul state that their mission was first for the lost tribes and then the Gentiles. I do not doubt that, early on, Greek versions of the New Testament works were created as to reach the non-Semitic peoples.
That does not mean, however, that Greek was the original language.

There are numerous internal evidences within the New Testament that point to an Aramaic original. For example, while John 12:20 in most English Bibles reads that Jesus was visited by Greeks, the Peshitta more accurately reads that they were Gentiles. This is more in keeping with Eusebius' account that the Prince of Edessa had sent representatives in order to learn of Jesus' mission:
http://www.biblefacts.org/church/edessa.html

As a descendent of the lost tribes, Abgarus wanted to know whether Jesus was the promised Messiah. Furthermore, early on, the Syriac peoples converted to the Christian faith. It is hard to believe that a Syriac version of the New Testament did not exist until centuries later.

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« Reply #110 on: August 20, 2006, 02:58:06 AM »

If that were true, why would Peshitta primacy be the official teaching of the Assyrian Church of the East?

The rejection of the veneration of Icons is also a teaching of the Assyrian Church of the East which will not allow them in their Churches. So, since Protestants also reject the veneration of Icons, should we call it the "Assyrian mindset" since they came first? If they behave like Protestants, can't they be said to have a "Protestant worldview"?
And one more thing, if the Assyrian Church has made a mistake with the veneration of Icons, isn't it possible they also made a mistake with Peshitta primacy?
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« Reply #111 on: August 20, 2006, 03:02:33 AM »

And one more thing, if the Assyrian Church has made a mistake with the veneration of Icons, isn't it possible they also made a mistake with Peshitta primacy?

The Assyrian Christians represent one of the earliest Christian communities. Their rejection of iconography could be that their faith tradition predates the popular usage of icons in liturgical life.
I have no intention of defending Assyrian theology, but to show that Peshitta primacy predates George Lamsa.ÂÂ  

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« Reply #112 on: August 20, 2006, 04:06:34 AM »

The Assyrian Christians represent one of the earliest Christian communities. Their rejection of iconography could be that their faith tradition predates the popular usage of icons in liturgical life.

They predate Luke? Shocked Roll Eyes
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« Reply #113 on: August 20, 2006, 04:12:28 AM »

Either that, or it could mean that their group was isolated from any iconographical tradition, irregardless of when iconography began to be used in the liturgy of other groups.

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« Reply #114 on: August 20, 2006, 06:19:30 AM »

Yes, they rejected icons per se, but they even more heavily venerate the image of the cross - same thing, no?
When they attempted to convert the Mongols khans they demonstrated their faith and praxsis by prostrations and veneration of the cross. Strange evangelizing technique.
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« Reply #115 on: August 20, 2006, 07:09:10 AM »

Quote
That is obviously disputable.

No - not disputable, just being denied by some. Denial doesn't mean something is in dispute - it just means that someone is in denial.

The claims of the Assyrian Church of the East as to primacy of their tradition is a mutable thing. To understand its history, one needs to understand the heavy hand of the Presbyterians and Evangelical/Puritan wings of the Anglican Church upon the Assyrians through the last two centuries. The 'primacy' of texts isn't a concern of traditional Assyrian theology - they got that from the Protestants.

Again: the search for a 'pure' text is not part of Syriac tradition. The best illustration of this is the existence of the canonical Syriac Diatessaron  (the Harmony of the Four Gospels) alongside that of the canonical Syriac Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe (the Gospel of the Distinct Evangelists.) The Syriac tradition was the origin of the 'Harmony' tradition, and was fine with its method of simplification/compilation ... even paraphrase (and that, from as early as the 170s.)

That the Assyrians may claim something now does not mean their claim has any veracity. And, what the Assyrian Church of the East claims does not reflect on the Malankara or Jacobite tradition (they aren't in union with the Assyrian Church of the East, nor share their peculiarities of theology and praxis.) Important to note that the West Syriac tradition *does* venerate icons (and always has) - one Syriac tradition with, one without. The modern 'spin' of ACOE is that the West Syriacs (which includes Malankara) have been 'corrupted by the Greeks'. Does the Malankara Archdiocese admit to such?
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« Reply #116 on: August 21, 2006, 01:50:41 AM »

No - not disputable, just being denied by some.

Numerous scholars in Lamsa's lifetime considered his insight to be important and helpful.

The claims of the Assyrian Church of the East as to primacy of their tradition is a mutable thing.

How long has the Assyrian Church made the claim of Aramaic primacy?

Does the Malankara Archdiocese admit to such?

No, not at all. I'd hope that our Church would not be the kind to refer to our Greek Orthodox brothers and sisters as corrupt in doctrine or practice.
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