Tell me about these "Ancient Eastern Manuscripts: Containing the Old and New Testaments Translated from Peshitta"

The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts: Containing the Old and New Testaments Translated from the Peshitta, The Authorized Bible of the Church of the East

If there are Aramaic texts, then why are Catholics always focused on the Greek texts???

I don’t understand.

It might have to do with the fact that the Septuagint was written before the Peshitta and was generally easier to translate from as it was written in a relatively common language. That doesn’t mean the entire bible is believed to be written in Greek, but rather the Septuagint is a more reliable source than the Peshitta (one assumes they would have thoroughly vetted a translation for non-Aramaic speaking Jews). Church Fathers have been noted to reference the Septuagint as well.

But I’m not a biblical scholar, so don’t take my word for it.:stuck_out_tongue:

Jesus probably did most of His teaching in Aramaic, though he may well have used Hebrew to teach with some frequency, especially in the synagogues. And there are ancient versions of Scripture in Aramaic. So it is useful to consider these manuscripts and useful to have a version of the NT based on the Aramaic. It gives us perhaps some additional insights into the meaning of the text, esp. into the spoken words of Jesus.

Lamsa asserts that the NT was not written in Greek at all, but in Aramaic. I suggest that it is possible some of the NT was writting in Aramaic, but very unlikely that it all was written in that one language.

His translation is available online (copyrighted, but used online with permission)

Most scholars think that the NT was written entirely or almost entirely in Greek.

Well, unless you’re an Aramaic Primacist (which, as Ron pointed out, is a belief that the NT was originally penned in Aramaic), that’s basically because the majority opinion today is that of Greek Primacy; i.e. the NT (or at least, a great part of it or its sources) was originally penned in Koine Greek.

Even then, there’s some internal disagreement: some believe that the Syriac P’shitta is the closest text to the original New Testament (late George Lamsa is of this camp, as well as a number of Aramaic Primacy folks on the internet); others advocate comparing the P’shitta and other Syriac versions in existence in order to see which text is closer to the original, similar to how Greek manuscripts of the NT are critically compared with each other; still others do not rely solely on manuscripts but also do some research on 1st-century Aramaic, culture, and psychology to reconstruct the New Testament sources in dialects contemporary to its authors (which are, by now, extinct).

That being said, let me just note that the P’shitta is not really in the same exact Aramaic dialect that Jesus would have probably used, the now-extinct Galilean dialect of Late Old Western Aramaic (BTW, there is only one surviving Western Aramaic language, spoken in three villages in western Syria; all other Aramaic dialects/languages spoken nowadays belong to the Eastern Aramaic branch). The P’shitta is actually written in the Eastern Aramaic language of Syriac. Yes, one can say that it was in the same ‘language group’ as Jesus’ probable mother tongue, but not the actual language/dialect He spoke itself.

Also, that’s not to say that non-Greek (possibly even Aramaic) source could be lying under the parts of the text of the New Testament. There are certainly scattered Aramaic words and expressions, transliterated and then translated, say within the Gospels.

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