Nazarene Space



The Redundant “And” Another Evidence
Of
The Originality of the Old Syriac over the Peshitta
And the Originality of Hebrew Matthew
By
James Scott Trimm



In my book The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament I present clear, compelling and conclusive evidence that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew and/or Aramaic, that the Old Syriac Aramaic version is a representative of that same original Aramaic scribal tradition, that the Greek is a translation from the Aramaic and that the Peshitta Aramaic text is a revision of the Old Syriac toward greater agreement with the Greek Byzantine text type.

Yet another evidence has come forth to support this theory of textual origins in the Hebrew idiom of the “Redundant And”. Charles Cutler Torrey describes this idiom as follows:

“…the conjunction wa may be termed superfluous, inasmuch as it may always be omitted. On the other hand, in its rather widespread use it contributes a shade of meaning which can be recognized. Introducing the conclusion of a compound sentence, in a place where ordinarily no conjunction would be expected, it adds slightly to the emphasis given to the main idea. It is not quite “also.” As thus employed, it appears sporadically in the Semitic languages generally… Hebrew, moreover, occupies a place of its own, for in its syntax the connection of clauses is looser, more primitive, and the conjunction “and” is almost omnipresent. In the [Judean] dialects of Aramaic… this peculiar use of the particle is hardly rare. If it could be rendered at all, it would be in such words as “then, so, thereupon, accordingly. There is good evidence that in Palestine, at the beginning of the present era, it was in vogue,… to a remarkable degree.”
(Out Translated Gospels p. 64)

The appearance of this idiomatic usage in the Greek version of the Gospels is one of the internal evidences of their Hebrew and/or Aramaic Origin. Torrey writes:

“The remarkable use of “and” here described is thus characteristic of a single dialect of Palestinian Aramaic… and equally in the translation Greek of our for Gospels. Since in Greek the redundant use of his conjunction, in any such frequency, is unidiomatic and unpleasing, the translators of the Gospels from the original Aramaic would be likely to omit it where it is evidently unnecessary. Numerous examples of it remain, nevertheless, especially in passages where a succession of ‘and-‘ clauses can create ambiguity as to the logical connection.”
(ibid p. 70)

Now the redundant “And” gives us a very good way to demonstrate the originality of the Old Syriac over the Peshitta. This is because that while this idiom is very prevalent in Biblical Hebrew and in First Century Judean Aramaic, it is generally lacking in the Syriac Dialect of Aramaic. As Torrey writes concerning the “absence” of this idiom in the Peshitta:

“…the syntax of written Aramaic, in all the regions north and east of Palestine, was fixed many centuries before the beginning of the present era; and that its usage, as regards this conjunction, is everywhere and at all times that which is found in the Peshitta [i.e. absent], after due allowance has been made for the fact of translation. Nowhere, in the very many specimens of the native language known to us, is there anything even remotely resembling [the redundant “and” idiom.]”
(Ibid p. 65)

Now in my book The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament there is a section pointing out the “striking feature” of the Old Syriac” in its “Jewish and Judean character”. In this section I point out several examples to show that:

“Despite the fact that the text is written in the Syriac Aramaic dialect, it is replete with elements of Jewish and/or Judean Aramiac which are alien to Syriac Aramaic, as well as to other Jewish elements.”
(The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament p. 34)

In each of the sixteen examples given in my book, the Jewish Aramaic idiom is preserved in the Old Syriac (but generally not in the Peshitta) despite their non-Syriac nature.

Likewise there is a tendency for the Aramaic of the Old Syriac to use the redundant “and”, while the Peshitta Syriac omits it, (even in a handful of cases where the redundant “and” even appears in the Greek text). Torrey points this out saying:

The following illustrations [of the redundant “and”] are taken chiefly from the Old Syriac (“Sinaitic”) version of the Four Gospels. It will surprise many to see this classed as Palestinian. … While in the main it is excellent Syriac, only occasionally tinged by the Greek …, yet it is full of specifically Palestinian words, grammatical forms, and idioms, as to declare the native land of the man, or men, who accomplished the task [of creating it].
(Torrey pp. 64-65)


The following are some examples:


Mt. 2:1

Now Yeshua, having been born in Beit-Lechem of Judea
in the days of Herod the King,
behold magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.
(Greek)

And when Yeshua was born in Beit-Lechem of Judea
in the days of Herod the King,
and behold magi came from the east to Jerusalem.
(Old Syriac)

Now when Yeshua was born in Beit-Lechem of Judea
in the days of Herod the King,
magi came from the east to Jerusalem.
(Peshitta)

And it came to pass when Yeshua was born in Beit-Lechem of Judea
in the days of Herod the King,
and behold star gazers came from the east to Jerusalem.
(Shem Tob)


Mt. 3:16

Now Yeshua having been baptized…
(Greek)

And Yeshua was baptized. And when he was baptized,…
(Old Syriac)

Now when Yeshua was baptized …
(Peshitta)

Mt. 9:20

And behold a woman whose blood had flowed twelve years
having come behind, touched the edge of his clothes.
(Greek)

And behold a woman whose blood had flowed twelve years
and came and touched the edge of his clothes.
(Old Syriac)

And behold a woman whose blood had flowed twelve years
came from behind him and touched the edge of his clothes.
(Peshitta)



Mt. 12:9

And when he removed from there
he came to their synagogue.
(Greek)

And when he removed from there
to their synagogue.
(Old Syriac (s))

And when he removed from there
and came to their synagogue.
(Old Syriac (c))

And when he removed from there
and came to their synagogue.
(Peshitta)

And it came to pass at the end of the days when Yeshua removed from there
and entered to their synagogue.
(Shem Tob)

(Here the Peshitta retains the "and")


Mt. 12:46

While he was speaking to the crowds
behold his mother and his brothers
stood outside wishing to speak with him.
(Greek)

And while he was speaking to the crowds
behold his mother and his brothers
stood outside and wished to speak with him.
(Old Syriac (s))

And while he was speaking to the crowds
and behold his mother and his brothers
were standing outside and were asking to speak with him.
(Old Syriac (c))

Now while he was speaking to the crowds
came his mother and his brothers
were standing outside and were asking to speak with him.
(Peshitta)

While he was speaking to all the crowds
and behold his mother and his brothers
stood outside seeking to speak with him.
(Shem Tob)



Mt. 18:8

But if your hand or your foot offend you, cut it off and throw it from you;
For it is profitable for you that you should come into life being crippled or lame,
and not having two hands and two feet
fall into etrernal fire.
(Greek)

But if your hand or your foot offend you, cut it off, throw it from you;
For it is profitable for you that you should come into life being lame or being maimed,
and not having two hands or two feet
and fall into etrernal fire.
(Old Syriac (s))

But if your hand or your foot offend you, cut it off, throw it from you;
For it is profitable for you that you should come into life being lame or being maimed,
and not having two hands and two feet
fall into Gey Hinnom of fire.
(Old Syriac (c))

But if your hand or your foot offend you, cut it off, and throw it from you;
For it is profitable for you that you should come into life being lame or being maimed,
and not having two hands and two feet
fall into etrernal fire.
(Peshitta)


Mt. 21:21

…but if you will say to this mountain, Be you lifted up, and cast into the sea
it will come to pass.
(Greek)

…but if you will say to this mountain, Be you lifted up, and cast into the sea,
and it will come to pass.
(Old Syriac (s))

…but if you will say to this mountain, Be you lifted up, and cast into the sea
it will come to pass.
(Old Syriac (c))

…but if you will say to this mountain, Be you lifted up, and cast into the sea
it will come to pass.
(Peshitta)

…but if you will say to this mountain, Be you lifted up, and cast into the sea,
and it will come to pass.
(DuTillet)

(Interestingly in this case, a small minority of Peshitta manuscripts retain the redundant “and” in this verse.)


Mk. 4:6

And when the sun came up it scorched: and because it had no root, it withered.
(Greek)

[And because it had no root when] the sun came up and it withered.
(Old Syriac)

Now when the sun came up it withered: and because it had no root, it withered
(Peshitta)


Mk. 6:47

And when evening came, the boat was in the midst of the sea,
and He was alone upon the land.
(Greek)

And when evening came and the boat was in the midst of the sea,
and He was alone upon the land.
(Old Syriac)

And when evening came, the boat was in the midst of the sea,
and He was alone upon the land.
(Peshitta)


Mk. 10:46

And they came to Yericho. And when Yeshua went out from Yericho, and His
talmidim, and a large crowd, blind Timai Bar Timai, was sitting at the side of the road
begging.
(Greek)

And they came to Yericho. And when Yeshua went out from Yericho, and His
talmidim, and a large crowd, and blind Timai Bar Timai, was sitting at the side of the road begging.
(Old Syriac)

And they came to Yericho. And when Yeshua went out from Yericho, and His
talmidim, and a large crowd, blind Timai Bar Timai, was sitting at the side of the road
begging.
(Peshitta)


Mk. 16:2-4

2 And very early, at the first of the week, they came to the sepulcher when the sun
was rising.
3 And they were saying to themselves, Who will roll the stone from the
entrance of the sepulcher for us?
4 And having looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
(Greek)

2 Now at early dawn, at the first of the week, they came to the sepulcher when the sun
was rising.
3 And they were saying among their nefeshot, Who did roll the stone of the sepulcher for us?
4 because it was very great and they came and they saw that the stone was rolled away.
(Old Syriac)

2 Now at early dawn, at the first of the week, they came to the sepulcher when the sun
was rising.
3 And they were saying among their nefeshot, Who did roll the stone from the
entrance of the sepulcher for us?
4 And having looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
(Peshitta)


Lk. 2:21

And when eight days were completed he was circumcised
and his name was called Yeshua…
(Greek)

And when eight days were fulfilled the boy was circumcised
and his name was called Yeshua…
(Old Syriac)

And when eight days were passed the boy was circumcised,
his name was called Yeshua…
(Peshitta)

Here the Greek retains the Semitism and the Peshitta edits it out.


Lk. 2:44

… they searched for Him among their company, among their kinsfolk
and among those who knew them,
(Greek)

… they searched for Him among their company and among their kinsfolk
and among those who knew them,
(Old Syriac)

… they searched for Him among their company, among their kinsfolk
and among those who knew them,
(Peshitta)


Lk. 7:12

And when He approached the gate of the city, He saw a dead man being escorted,…
(Peshitta)

And when He approached the gate of the city and He saw a dead man being escorted,…
(Old Syriac)

And when He approached the gate of the city, He saw a dead man being escorted,…
(Peshitta)



Lk. 17:12

And when He was entering a certain village, ten men--lepers, met Him and stood at a
distance.
(Greek)

And when He was about to enter one village and ten men--lepers, met Him and stood at a
distance.
(Old Syriac)

And when He was about to enter one village, ten men--lepers, met Him and stood at a
distance.
(Peshitta)


Lk. 19:36

Now when He came, they were spreading their garments in the way.
(Greek)

And when he was moving along and came, they were spreading their garments in the way.
(Old Syriac (s))

And when he was moving along, they were spreading their garments in the way.
(Old Syriac (c))

Now when He came, they were spreading their garments in the way.
(Peshitta)


Lk. 20:1

And it happened, that on one of the days when He was teaching the people, and
proclaiming in the Temple, arose against Him the Chief Cohenim and scribes, with the elders.
(Greek)

And it happened, that on one of the days when He was teaching the people, and
proclaiming in the Temple and arose against Him the Chief Cohenim and scribes, with the elders.
(Old Syriac (s))

And it happened, that on one of the days when He was teaching the people, and
proclaiming in the Temple and arose against Him the Chief Cohenim and scribes, with the elders.
(Old Syriac (c))

And it happened, that on one of the days when He was teaching the people, and
proclaiming in the Temple, arose against Him the Chief Cohenim and scribes, with the elders.
(Peshitta)


Jn. 2:23

Now while Yeshua was in Yerushalayim at the Feast of Pesach, during the feast many
believed in Him, …
(Greek)

And while Yeshua was in Yerushalayim in the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and many believed our Adon, …
(Old Syriac)

Now while Yeshua was in Yerushalayim at the Feast of Pesach, during the feast many
believed in Him, …
(Peshitta)


Jn. 4:2

Although Yeshua was not immersing, …
(Greek)

Because our Adon was not immersing, …
(Old Syriac (s))

And while Yeshua was not immersing, …
(Old Syriac (c))

While Yeshua was not immersing, …
(Peshitta)


This enumeration of examples of the redundant “and” in the Gospels is far from exhaustive, but from this sampling we can see plainly that the Old Syriac shows its first century Judaic origin by continually using this idiom which is common to Hebrew and first century Judean Aramaic but alien to both Greek and Syriac Aramaic. While the Old Syriac retains the idiom, it has generally been removed from the Peshitta Aramaic, because it is so unacceptable to Syriac Aramaic. Finally the appearance of the redundant “and” in Hebrew Matthew (sometimes witnessed in DuTillet and sometimes in Shem Tob) even where the “and” is absent in the Greek, demonstrates these Hebrew versions descend from an ancient Hebrew version which lies behind the Old Syriac Matthew.

Friends there is so much more to be done in this field. This is just one of dozens of Semitisms found in the Books of the “New Testament” which can be used to trace the relationships between the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic versions and help us determine which readings are the most original, thus helping us better understand the Scriptures.

We are one of the few ministries conducting this kind of painstaking research, while at the same time bringing milk to young believers and nice juicy steaks to mature believers as we bring the message of Torah and Messiah to a lost world.



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Replies to This Discussion

Dear James

First of all I wish to express my great appreciation

for your work. To my knowledge no one on the www has come nearer

to what ancient Nazarean Faith really was, than you. Especially imporatant is that you distinguish

Nazarean elements from heretical ebionite ones. Ebionites saw Jeschua only as a prophet amongst other prophets.

They did not recognise him as the Messiah. 

Myself I do some studies in the same direction. For instance I have a completed Translation of the sinaitic syriac gospels in german language in my drawer. I took it from Prof. Adalbert Merx, edited and slightly modernised the language. Corrections from 1910 edition of Mrs. Lewis included. Imporatant variants of the Curetonian MS are mentioned. Several Footnotes provide the insights of Merx, A.S. Lewis, Burkitt and other great scholars of the syriac tradition. In a Preface I give my opinion about how the gospels evolved from the first aramaic Matthew. It was so far not possible to get this printed

by a professional publisher.

About the "and" as a sign of jewish Background I fully agree.

Looking at your examples it seems there are only 2 in Johns gospel. Traditions say that St. John dictated it to Papias who was a greek. Yet Prof. Merx showed in his commentary that the first chapters, (which include your 2 examples), come from an aramaic source. The 2 "And" which you quote seem to confirm this. 

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