Was the New Testament Originally Written in Aramaic?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Re: Early Christians who may have edited or wrote the NT books were Hebrews who spoke Aramaic

Post by DCHindley »

ebion wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 9:54 am
DCHindley wrote: Sat Nov 11, 2023 6:29 am I have also researched this matter to death. You might like my research on why Hegesippus said that James was nicknamed "Oblias." There is a table showing a little Hebrew analysis, which you might find entertaining.

As an aside on another topic; if the the Ebioneans consider Jesus to be a man born of Joseph, who acquired his divinity at the baptism by John, does this mean the Ebionaens felt Jesus survived the cruxifiction?)
The folks that the proto-orthodox church called "Ebionites" may not have been the same as those who might have followed the Jesus movement under James' leadership.

I think that the former (those referred to as Ebionites by 2nd or 3rd century Church fathers) were actually gentiles who had adopted Judaic ways.

The latter (the real followers of Jesus as governed by his brother James) would be the gentile followers of Jesus, which I had proposed were already (under Jesus) proselytes on the path to full conversion, if not already there. To me, Jesus had a vision of a future messianic age where gentiles might exist as subjects, but would live in such a bountiful land that even table scraps were enough to live on. But many had apparently converted. They wanted to share in the inheritance promised by God to Abram, it was as simple as that. This inheritance is about the only thing these Jesus followers had in common with Paul's followers.

Paul had opened the door to non-Jews participating in the future age inheritance simply on the basis of their faith that God will make it happen one day, something that he pointed out had justified Abraham in God's sight before he had himself circumcised, making them spiritual children to Abraham. In Paul's scheme, faithful gentiles should share as equal partners when it comes, whether they are living or resurrected from dead, not just be second class subjects living on scraps, however plentiful they would be.

I do not think any Jesus follower, whether gentile or Judean, thought of Jesus as divine. Highly elevated, sure. If he was not to be the Messianic leader (because of his death) he would surely be resurrected from the dead to serve as anointed leader when that day does come. This is the deification process utilized by Greeks and later Romans to grant honors to persons who had made a significant contribution towards bettering the lives of many. It was 100% ceremonial. These folks did not become "real" gods.

Honestly I would *not* expect Judeans, even those in the diaspora, to attribute divine status to Jesus. To me, this is something derived from former gentile Jesus followers who became "radicalized" by Judean-Gentile strife and social stratification that accompanied and followed upon the Judean war (66-74). They transformed Jesus the anointed ruler of a blessed coming age into some sort of divine redeemer mystery figure, which sounds similar to the Stauros myth of the Valentinians.

Don't forget that Birger Pearson also thinks that the same sort of social stresses of the war had caused Sethian gnosticism to develop from disillusioned Judean intellectuals (I think he had Philo in mind, but Philo did not know Hebrew and the scholars who created Sethian gnosticism did, so I tend to think they developed from rabbinic circles. I wonder how far back in time we can project Merkabah mysticism back to? It may not be far enough, but I think Merkabah mystics and Sethian gnosticism share a belief in a multilevel universe with a way up to the top for those in the know.

But that jus' me.

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Moved: Early Christians who may have edited or wrote the NT books were Hebrews who spoke Aramaic

Post by ebion »

Moved the response over to a new thread What were the beliefs of Early Ebionaen Christianity? because we're gone off topic (Was the New Testament Originally Written in Aramaic?), and it's time for that thread anyway.

See you over there!
Last edited by ebion on Mon Nov 20, 2023 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: KJV Blooper: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs Matthew 7:6 [KJV])

Post by ebion »

This is not a KJV Howler, but it's another of my favourite verses because every KingJamesOnlyist knows it:
  1. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6 [KJV])
This is a double mistranslation from the Aramaic (§ 1.4).
There are two mistranslations in this one verse! The more important one involves the Aramaic word 04dwq - here are the relevant Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon entries:
qwd$#2 N qd$)
1 JLAGal,JLATg,Sam,Syr ear-,nose-ring
LS2 649
LS2 v: qdA$A)

qwd$#3 N qwd$)
1 Syr consecration
2 Syr eucharist
3 Syr voice crying 'holy'
LS2 649
LS2 v: quwdA$A)

qwd$ N
1 passim holiness
2 Syr holy place
3 JLATg pl. consecrated objects
4 JLATg various sacrifices
LS2 649
LS2 v: quwd$A)
As you can see, the exact same spelling is interpreted as either "ear-, nose-ring" or "consecrated (holy) thing".

The second word that is mistranslated is the Aramaic root 0lt - it should be translated as "hang", rather than "give" (see word# 22596 in the Lexicon.)
Therefore, the verse should read:
"Hang not earrings on dogs: and cast not your pearls before swine; lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
As you can see, there is a beautiful parallelism here only apparent in the Aramaic (rings/pearls - dogs/swine). The Greek totally misses it!
Shamasha Paul Younan explains:
The reason, Akhi, that the word in question cannot mean "(that which is) Holy" in Mattai 7:6 is because it is not preceded (or, followed) by a noun. It is not an adjective at all, it is itself a noun which is preceded by the verb "hang."

Masoretically speaking, the word in Mattai 7:6 is not "Qud-sha" as in the examples above, it is "Qud-a-sha", a noun in Jewish Galilean Aramaic which means a sort of ear or nose ring. Remember we had no vowel points back then - the consonants are the exact same, which led to the confusion on the Greek translators part.

It's only in the original Aramaic, that the parallelism (dog-pig, ring-pearl) is preserved. This is not apparent to Assyrians, as it is not part of our dialect. In fact all the Assyrians here will think that's crazy. Had I not referenced the C.A.L., I would have not known this either. We never use that word for a ring, we say "aziqtha" (ref. James/Yaqub 2:2).

Mattai 7:6 was Yeshua speaking to the Hebrews in their "dialect".
The KJV is from Tyndale which is the same.
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Brooke Foss Westcott: "no one ever supplanted the Peshitto for ecclesiastical purposes"

Post by ebion »

ebion wrote: Thu Oct 26, 2023 7:41 pm There are at least 4 or 5 Early PeshittA Codicies (used by the Ancient Apostolic Church of the East) that have near perfect agreement regardless of the century they date from:
Much as it pains me to cite him, here is Brooke Foss Westcott in support of PeshittA Primacy unsupplantedness:
"Another circumstance serves to exhibit the venerable age of this Version. It was universally received by the different sects into which the Syrian church was divided in the fourth century, and so has continued current even to the present time. All the Syrian Christians, whether belonging to the Nestorian (Church of the East--AGR), Jacobite (Syrian Orthodox Church--AGR) or Roman communion, conspire to hold the Peshitto authoriative and to use it in their public services. It must consequently have been established by familar use before the first heresies arose or it could not have remained without a rival. Numerous versions or revisions of the New Testament were indeed made afterwards, for Syriac literature is peculiarly rich in this branch of theological crticism; but no one ever supplanted the Peshitto for ecclesiastical purposes...

"But meanwhile there is no sufficient reason to desert the opinion that has obtained the sanction of the most competent scholars, that its formation should be fixed to the first half of the second century. The text, even in its present revised form, exhibits remarkable agreement with the most ancient Greek Manuscripts and the earliest quotations from, The very obscurity that hangs over its origin is a proof of its venerable age, because it shows it grew up spontaneously in Christian congregations, and it was not the result of any public labour. Had it been a work of late date, of the third or fourth century, it is scarecly possible that its history should be so uncertain as it is."
Brooke Foss Westcott, "A General Survey of the History and Canon of the New Testament" (Seventh Edition, 1896), p. 244-8.

PS: Steven Avery points out that this text cannot be read as a claim for PeshittA Primacy. I guess it depends on your reading of "but no one ever supplanted the Peshitto for ecclesiastical purposes..". But he's probably right.

I'll leave it up as a claim of unsupplantedness, for the sheer novelty of citing the nemesis once in my life.
Last edited by ebion on Tue Nov 21, 2023 7:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Was the New Testament Originally Written in Aramaic?

Post by StephenGoranson »

Westcott's use of the word "Version" plainly means Translation (from Greek) in this context. Note even the word "Translator" in the previous paragraph,
pages 241-242 in the fifth edition, 1881; pages 245-246 in the seventh edition.
In other words, according to Westcott, though an important translation, not originally written in Syriac Aramaic.
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Re: Brooke Foss Westcott: "no one ever supplanted the Peshitto for ecclesiastical purposes"

Post by Steven Avery »

ebion wrote: Mon Nov 20, 2023 11:23 pm Much as it pains me to cite him, here is Brooke Foss Westcott in support of PeshittA Primacy:
Word games.

The phrase peshitta primacy is used to claim primacy over the Greek text.
Westcott says no such thing.

In terms of Syriac texts, he was not in a position to really study the Old Syriac compared to the Peshitta.
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Re: Was the New Testament Originally Written in Aramaic?

Post by ebion »

Looks interesting, thanks. See also

And it turns this excercise ofwhat was originally written in Aramaic into something more multi-layered.

I think there's a concensus that Revelations is in such bad greek it must have originally been written in HAramaic. But it's not in the PeshittA so there's no counterpoint there. It does exist in an Aramaic that's very beautiful and well written, and in the translator's opinion, definitely not a translation - in the Crawford Codex. With significant (but not huge) differences from the TR greek.

And Patterson Brown did a careful analysis of the asyndetons in the Coptic Gospels off Philip and Thomas that made him think they were originally in Aramaic. Janet Mageira's english translation of the PeshittO points out the asyndetons in the text in her footnotes.

And the one you link to suggests John originally in Aramaic: it's not one of the synoptics, so it's age and origins are completely separate from the possible Matthew->Luke->Mark synoptic grouping.

What started out as a black and white thing is getting more nuanced, and more fun.

I'll ignore the Faulines because I don't know what Marcion spoke. Does anyone know?
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Re: KJV Blunder: Peace or cultivated land? Acts 12:20

Post by ebion »

This isn't a KJV Howler or Blooper, so we'll call it a Blunder.
  1. The KJV says: “And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and
    Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus
    the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their
    country was nourished by the king's country.”
From: This mistranslation from the Aramaic (§ 2,23) shows up in two places in the KJV.
  1. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:18 [KJV])

Proofs of linguistic primacy in the book of James are very important. For James wrote to the scattered ones of the 12 tribes of Israel (James 1:1). He writes to them all, with this one letter, so it could be assumed that they all knew ONE language. We know that the Jews/Judeans, who spoke Aramaic, were part of the twelve tribes (Judah, Benjamin and part of Levi), so perhaps the crucial point made by the very first verse of James shows us that ALL the Israelites spoke Aramaic (unsurprising, since they were scattered by Aramaic-speaking Assyrians), no matter where they were in the world!

Both instances of “peace” in this verse are translations of “eyrene” which appears in the Greek texts.
This whole verse sounds quite silly.

The PeshittA agrees with the Greek in the second usage of “peace”, with 0ml4 “shlama”. But for the first reading, the Peshitta has 0yn4 “shayna”.
The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon shows us the meanings of shayna:
$yn#2 N $yn)
1 Syr cultivated land
2 Syr favorable conditions
3 Syr peace
4 Syr %d$aynA)% tame
5 Syr love of peace
LS2 773
LS2 v: $aynA)
abs. voc: $iyn
So now we have: “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in the cultivated land of them that make peace.” Now THAT does not sound silly! The “cultivated land” reading flows perfectly with the “sown” theme.

It was so easy for Zorba to make this mistake, as not only can the Aramaic words share the common meaning of “peace”, they look and sound very similar.
The PeshittA gets it right:
Yet, The Fruits of Righteousness are sown in tranquility unto those who produce peace. (James 3:18 [HAS])
The KJV follows the Tyndale.
Last edited by ebion on Sat Nov 25, 2023 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PeshittA and early Greek? by the grace of God Hebrews 2:9

Post by ebion »

Heb. 2:9 KJV 'by the grace of God' should be 'apart from God'.
This is the most theologically important difference between the PeshittA and the KJV. All of the Bloopers and Howlers demonstrate Peshitta Primacy, but don't change the theology in more than subtle ways. This difference is different, and Origen quoted it the PeshittA way, so it may be that the PeshittA is preserving the original text that was subsequently changed.

The KJV says:
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9 [KJV])
I don't pretend to understand it, and I'm not sure the Trinitarians will be happy with Jesus being "made a little lower than the angels", but let's look at the PeshittA:
But, He who was humbled to be less than The Heavenly Messengers , we behold to be Yeshua, and because of the suffering of His death, Glory and Honor was placed upon His Head, for, apart from God *, He tasted death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9 [HAS])
This is the kind of difference Councils are made of - the Church of the East stands by the Eastern reading.

RE: Hebrew 2:9 Peshitta cf. Peshitto: Shamasha Paul Younan, May-14-2001,
The phrase, "S'tar (#14219) min Alaha" means "Apart from God", in other words, God did not die on the Cross, only His humanity (His human nature died, not his divine nature.)

The Eastern Peshitta is the only version which has preserved this original reading. This reading is more ancient, as witnessed to by Origen (185-232 A.D.)
Paul is mistaken in saying it's not in other early versions (as are others mistaken e.g. Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET):
How Did Jesus Die: χαριτι θεου or χωρις θεου?
χωρις θεου is found in the manuscripts 0121b, 424c, and 1739*. It is also found in some manuscripts of the Vulgate, and is attested by Origen (†ca. 254), Ambrose (†ca. 397), Jerome (†ca. 420), and Fulgentius (†ca. 527).
On the other hand, perhaps one would have to agree with F.F. Bruce and Bart Ehrman (as I tentatively do) and say that χωρις θεου is the original reading that was later changed into χαριτι θεου.[11] An early clash with a gnostic form of Christianity, centering on the relation of the divine and human natures of Jesus, could have very well resulted in an early textual alteration of χωρις θεου to χαριτι θεου by a proto-orthodox scribe. This reading could have found favor with other proto-orthodox scribes and could have reasonably found its way to end up being the dominant variant in later generations due to the fact that proto-orthodox Christianity wound up being the dominant form of Christianity.
Wickedpaedia lists:
Hebrews 2:9
χάριτι θεοῦ (by the grace of God) – 𝔓46, א, A, B, C, D, K, P, Ψ, 33, 81, 88, 104, 181, 326, 330, 424, 436, 451, 614, 629, 630, 1241, 1877, 1881, 1962, 1984, 1985, 2127, 2492, 2495, Byz, Lect, it, cop, arm, eth, Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria.
χωρὶς θεοῦ (apart from God) – 0121b, 424c, 1739, mss, Peshitta, Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome, Fulgentius, Theodoret.
RE: Hebrew 2:9 Peshitta cf. Peshitto: Shamasha Paul Younan continues,
Notice the Aramaic phrase Nm r=s "S'tar min" (apart from, besides) also occurs in Hebrews 4:15.
The Church of the East has always held that Maran Eshoa's Divinity and Humanity, although united, were separate in their own Qnuma's (underlying substance, nature.)

God did not "die" on the Cross. A human cannot raise Lazarus from the grave. These properties, although in the same Son of God, were separate from each other. United in one Person, but distinct from each other.

So, what Hebrews 2:9 is saying is "Maran Eshoa, apart from his Godhead (in his Humanity), died for everyone."
PS: Interesting to see Ambrose of Milan in the list of old witnesses; he was quite an unorthodox free-thinker, and may have been in contact with the early Waldensians/Vaudious in Switzerland just north of him.

See also: https://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blo ... ws-29.html
Last edited by ebion on Sun Nov 26, 2023 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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