Nazarene Space

An Open Letter to Roth (Old Syriac and Peshitta)

Andrew,

I appreciate your statement that our academic debate:

…is not meant in any way to be a personal attack upon James Trimm.
This is a scholarly dispute, and I am determined to discuss these issues
in a scholarly manner.

I do find the title of your blog “The Gospel according to Trimm” to be a little more personal than academic, but lets move on.

Andrew Roth and I have an academic dispute within Aramaic Primacy which is roughly equivalent to a dispute within Greek Primacy.

Andrew argues in favor of the Aramaic “Received Text” (i.e. the Peshitta) or Majority Text as the most original (which is of the Byzantine Text Type).

In my book The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament (http://www.lulu.com/nazarene). I argue (conclusively I believe) that the oldest, best text type is the Western Text Type and that the Old Syriac is in general, the oldest, best Aramaic text. This theory is known as the Critical Text Theory and holds that the most original Aramaic text is to be arrived at by examining the readings of the Old Syriac and Peshitta manuscripts and applying objective rules of textual criticism to determine which readings are most likely to be the most original.

A parallel debate exists in Greek Primacy circles in which one group maintains support for the Majority Text which favors the Byzantine Type of text and is reflected in the Greek Textus Receptus. While another group argues that more weight should be given to the oldest Greek manuscripts and these argue for a “Critical Text”.

One major difference is that the majority of the Greek Primacy “Critical Text” scholars support the Alexandrian Text type over the Western Text type. (There are three basic text types (regardless of language): Alexandrian, Western and Byzantine – for the most part the oldest manuscripts are Alexandrian and Western and later manuscripts are Byzantine, but since most manuscripts are later, the Byzantine represents the Majority Text).

Also the Critical Theory tends to also allow more room for Hebrew Matthew and Hebrew Hebrews which Roth tends to regard as medieval compositions.

I know of no doctrinal disagreements that hang in the balance among Nazarenes between the Majority Text (Peshitta Primacy) view and the Critical Text (leaning toward Old Syriac) view. There certainly should be room for friendly academic debate on this issue.

I will prepare an academic response to Roth’s blog, but I wanted to clarify this. So if your eyes are not glazed over yet there will be more academic debate coming soon.


Again I want to thank you all for your continued support. We depend
totally on you for financial support for this profound work.

***We are facing a financial shortfall and we would appreciate any help you can
give us at this time.***


Is this work worthy of your support? What other ministry provides this kind of teaching?



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Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

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James Trimm
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Views: 358

Comment by Wayne Ingalls on March 3, 2009 at 9:45pm
I look forward to it.
Blessings,
Wayne
Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2009 at 12:46am
Which it the Oldest Aramaic
(Part 1)

By James Trimm


INTRODUCTION

I was recently asked why I disagree with the Peshitta Primacy threory
which Andrew Gabriel Roth maintains.

Among Greek Primacists there is an ongoing debate as to which type of
Greek text is the closest to the original. One school of thought hold
that the Byzantine type of text is the most original because this is the
“Received Text” which was passed down by the Church. The other school of
thought in Greek Primacy hold that the best most original text is arrived
at by examining all of the manuscripts which have come down to us with a
set of objective rules of criticism producing a “Critical Text”. This
Critical Text is composed by bringing together those readings which are
most likely to be the most original from the various manuscripts,
especially the oldest copies.

The same basic conflict exists in Aramaic Primacy. Roth holds to the
Peshitta as the “Received Text” which was passed down by the Church of the
East and thus maintains that the Peshitta is the most original Aramaic
Version. On the other hand I advocate a “Critical Text” approach that
examines all of the Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts. This Critical Text is
composed by bringing together those readings which are most likely to be
the most original from the various manuscripts.


THREE TYPES OF NT TEXTS

In New testament Textual Criticism scholars almost universally recognize
three major text types:

Alexandrian – Wescott and Hort called this the “neutral text”, Chase
called it the “true text”. Many Greek NT scholars today see this as the
oldest most original text. Some of its chief exemplars are Codex Greek
Sinaiticus (Codex )); Codex Codex Alexandrinus (Codex A) and Codex
Vaticanus (Codex B). It is characterized by shorter readings and more
idiomatic Greek language than the Western Text. These are among the most
ancient of witnesses although they are only a small minority of Greek
manuscripts.

Byzantine – Also identified with the “Majority Text”. This it the text
type of the “Textus Receptus”. It is also characterized by a smoother
Greek idiom but is less abbreviated. Many textual critics see this as a
sort of “Greek Vulgate” or a standardized Greek text. It is witnessed t by
the vast majority of Greek manuscripts, however they tend to be the later
witnesses. The Byzantine type text eventually eclipsed all other types.

Western – One of the most striking features of this text type is the
Semitic idiom in which it is written. The primary witness to this text
type is Codex Bezae (Codex D) however there are others. Like the
Alexandrian texts the Western texts tend to be ancient.

Some scholars have theorized other text types such as a proposed Caesarean
text type (which is a sort of Alexandrian/Western half-breed). However
these are not universally recognized. Greek Text Types as Alternate

Those Greek Primacists which hold to the “Received Text” favor the
Byzantine Type text. Most Greek Primacists which hold to a “Critical
Text” favor the Alexandrian Text, though some favor the Western Text.

The Old Syriac is generally regarded as a Western type of text while the
Peshitta is generally classed as a Byzantine type of text.


THE OLD SYRIAC AND THE PESHITTA

Some Peshitta Primacists have claimed that the Old Syriac and Peshitta
Aramaic versions are unrelated to each other. They maintain that the
Peshitta is the original Aramaic while the Old Syriac is simply a
translation from the Greek.

That the Old Syriac and Peshitta share a common origin is easily
demonstrated. There are several passages where the Old Syriac and
Peshitta agree with each other against the Greek in such unusual ways as
to make it clear that both versions are related directly to each other
apart from the Greek textual tradition.

For example:

“For to you is born today, in the city of David, the Savior, who is *YHWH*
the Messiah”
(Luke 2:11)

Both the Old Syriac and the Peshitta have MARYA here. MARYA is a
surprising word to find here. If one were simply looking at the Greek
text and translating into Aramaic one would almost certainly translate
this passage with MAR or MARON (which the Old Syriac and Peshitta use for
“Lord”) and not MARYA (which they use for YHWH).


“my eyes have seen *your mercy*”
(Luke 2:30)

The Old Syriac and Peshitta agree in the reading CHET-NUN-NUN-KAF (your
mercy) which the Greek translator seems to have misread as
CHET-YUD-YUD-KAF (your salvation/life).


“in the plain”
(Luke 3:4-6 = Is. 40:3-6)

The Old Syriac and Peshitta agree in including the phrase “in the plain”
which agrees with the reading of this verse of Isaiah as it appears in the
Masoretic Text “in the desert”. However the Greek of Luke 3:4-6 omits the
phrase and agrees with the reading and quotes this verse of Isaiah as it
appears in the Greek Septuagint.


“And Yeshua cried out with a *high* voice”
(Luke 23:46)

The Greek reads literally “with a loud voice” but the Old Syriac and the
Peshitta agree against the Greek with the unusual reading “a high voice”.


“and these words seemed *in their eyes* as foolish”
(Luke 24:11)

The Greek has “before them” but the Old Syriac and Peshitta agree with the
unusual reading “words… in their eyes”


“Yeshua *came and he reached them*”
(Luke 24:15)

The Greek has “having come near”. The Old Syriac and Peshitta agree in
using this peculiar phrase here.

“What are these words *that you are speaking*”
(Luke 24:17)

The Old Syriac and Peshitta both have this reading “that you are speaking”
but the Greek reads here “which you are exchanging”.


“were not our hearts *heavy*”
(Luke 24:32)

The Old Syriac and the Peshitta agree in reading “heavy”. The Greek
translator must have misread the Aramaic word YUD-KUF-YUD-RESH (heavy) as
YUD-KUF-YUD-DALET (burning) (the letters DALET and RESH appear almost
identical in Hebrew/Aramaic). To have a “heavy” heart is an Aramaic idiom
meaning to have a sluggish mind (see verse 25).


From these examples we can Cleary see that the Old Syriac and Peshitta are
directly related to each other apart from the Greek textual tradition.
The Old Syriac and Peshitta are part of the same Aramaic scribal textual
tradition and neither was translated directly from the Greek.


THE PESHITTA AS A REVISION OF THE OLD SYRIAC

Now having established that the Old Syriac and Peshitta are part of the
same Aramaic textual scribal tradition, we shall now demonstrate the
direction of this revision. There are a number of readings in this
Aramaic tradition that, when compared, make it clear that the Peshitta is
the revision of the Old Syriac

Matthew 4:4
OS “every word that comes out of the mouth of YHWH (MARYA)”
GK “every word that comes out of the mouth of God (THEOS)”
P “every word that comes out of the mouth of God (ALAHA)”

This passage is quoting Deut. 8:3. The Hebrew of Deut. 8:3 has “YHWH”
here but the Greek Septuagint of Deut. 8:3 has “THEOS” (God). The Greek
of Matthew 4:4 quotes this passage as it appears in the Greek Septuagint.
However the Old Syriac in Matthew 4:4 agrees with the Hebrew of Deut. 8:3
(as well as Hebrew Matthew and the Peshitta Aramaic of Deut. 8:3). Now
the fourth century “Church Father” Jerome wrote:

Matthew, who is also Levi, and from a tax collector came to be
an emissary first of all evangelists composed a Gospel of
Messiah in Judea in the Hebrew language and letters, for the
benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed, who
translated it into Greek is not sufficiently ascertained.
Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the
library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently
collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this
volume in the Syrian city of Borea to copy it. In which is to be
remarked that, wherever the evangelist... makes use of the
testimonies of the Old Scripture, he does not follow the
authority of the seventy translators [the Greek Septuagint],
but that of the Hebrew.
(Jerome; Of Illustrious Men 3)

Thus Jerome states that unlike Greek Matthew, the original Hebrew of
Matthew agreed with the Hebrew Tanak against the Septuagint in its
citations from the Tanak. But the Aramaic Peshitta follows Greek Matthew
in following the Greek Septuagint here. Clearly the Peshitta was revised
to agree with Greek Matthew here because we know that the true and
original reading is reflected by the Old Syriac.


Mt. 22:37
OS: …with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Gk: …with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
P: …with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your
strength, and with all your mind.

Again we can be fairly certain that the Old Syriac has the original
reading here since Deut. 6:5 is being quoted and since the Peshitta
clearly conflates the readings of the Old Syriac and the Greek. The Old
Syriac has “your strength” in agreement with the Hebrew Tanak, Aramaic
Peshitta Tanak, and Hebrew Matthew. Greek Matthew appears to have misread
CHET-YUD-LAMED-KUF ”your strength” as HEY-VAV-NUN-KUF (dianoia sou) “your
mind” (CHET and HEY look alike in Hebrew; YUD and VAV also look alike).
Then the Peshitta scribe in revising the Aramaic to agree with the
traditional Greek text, conflated the reading by including both “your
strength” and “your mind” but translating dianoia sou (your mind) with
HEY-VAV-NUN-KUF.


Lk. 2:1
OS: …had decreed all the Land that they should be enrolled.
Gk: … all the world…
P: …all the people of his dominion…

In Jewish Aramaic the word ERA has the same usage as the Hebrew cognate
ERETZ. It can mean “world, earth or land” and is often used as a euphemism
for the Land of Israel as it is here. The Greek has misunderstood the
meaning of he word as “world” or “dominion” and the Peshitta was revised
to agree with the Greek.


Lk. 6:22
OS: and cast out your evil name
Gk: and cast out your name as evil
P: and cast out your name as evil

We can be fairly certain that the Old Syriac preserves the original
reading because the phrase “evil name” is a Jewish idiom meaning “to give
have a bad reputation”, which also appears in the Tanak (Deut. 22:14, 16).
The Greek translator attempted to render this with “your name as evil” and
the Peshitta revises the Aramaic to agree with the Greek here.


Lk. 2:22 … days of her purification

The Peshitta Aramaic has “of their purification” in agreement with the
Greek. The Old Syriac is more accurate in reading “of her purification”.
It was Miriam (Mary) only who needed a purification ritual after forty
days as described in the Torah (Lev. 12:1-8). The Old Syriac displays a
knowledge of Judaism which is absent in the Peshitta and the Greek.


There are also many places where the Peshitta has been revised to a more
Syrian dialect so as to purge elements of Jewish Aramaic found in the Old
Syriac.


Mt. 3:4
OS(s): and honey of the open country
P & OS(c): and honey of the wilderness (agrees with Greek)

Lk. 12:28
OS(c) the grass of the open country that today is in the open country
OS(s) the grass of that today is in the open country
P: the grass that today is in the field (agrees with Greek)

In Syriac Aramaic the word TURA can only refer to hills or mountains, but
in the Judean dialect the word could also refer to the “open country” as
it is used here. The Peshitta has been revised to better fit a less
Judaic, more Syriac dialect.


Lk. 1:39
OS:…and went-up quickly to a mountain, to a city of Judea.
P: …and went quickly to a mountain, to a city of Judea. (agreeing with
the Greek)

Here the Old Syriac makes use of a common idiom in Hebrew and in Jewish
Aramaic whereby any approach to Jerusalem or Judea is usually describe as
“going up” but the Jewish idiom is lost here in the Greek and in the
Peshitta.


Lk. 2:14
OS: peace on earth, and *good-will* (Strong’s 7470) to the sons of men
P: … and a *good hope* to the sons of men

The Aramaic word R’OT (Strong’s 7470) is used in Western and Jewish
Aramaic for example in the Aramaic portion of Ezra we read:

And let the king send his *good-will* (Strong’s 7470) to us concerning
this matter
(Ezra 5:17)
…do you after the *good-will* (Strong’s 7470) of your God.
(Ezra 8:18)

But this word does not exist at all in the Syriac dialect of Aramaic. So
intolerable is the word in Syriac Aramaic that the Peshitta text for these
passages of Ezra renders the word with TZ’VA (Strong’s 6634) instead. The
Old Syriac retains the original Judaic Aramaic word here and the Peshitta
has been revised into better Syriac Aramaic by substituting the phrase “a
good hope” for the non-Syriac Jewish Aramaic word R’OT (Strong’s 7470).


Lk. 11:10
and whoever knocks it will be opened to him

Lk. 13:25
and knock on the door

In the Old Syriac the word for “knock” is in the APHEL verb form but in
the Peshitta it appears in the PEAL verb form. In Syriac Aramaic this
word usually appears in the Peal form and in fact nowhere else in Syriac
(besides these two instances in the Old Syriac) does this verb appear in
the Aphel form . The Aphel form is, however, common in the Jewish dialects
of Aramaic. The Peshitta has revised this Jewish Aramaic into a form more
common to the Syriac dialect.


Jn 3:2
OS: no one can do these *miracles* (NISA)
P: no one can do these *signs* (ATUTA)

Jn 4:48
OS: if *miracles* and signs you see not… (NISA)
P: if signs and wonders you see not… (ATUTA)

The word NISA is rare in Syriac and never appears in the Peshitta NT.
However this word is commonly used in the Judean dialect. The Peshitta
has revised this Jewish Aramaic into a word more common to the Syriac
dialect.

Scholars widely agree that the Peshitta is a revision of the Old Syriac,
as Voobus states:

The Peshitta is not a new translation, but a revision
of the Old Syriac version. … As the result of this revision,
digressions were eliminated, additions removed, omissions
supplemented and peculiarities retouched. Through this process
the Peshitta lost its former singularities and variants which were
much cherished and so deeply rooted in Syriac textual traditions.
After this process, the text assumed a wholly new complexion,
conforming more or less to the Greek… This distinguishes the
Peshitta from the Old Syriac. Its back is turned on the ancient
and endeared traditions, and its face is decidedly turned toward
the Greek form. …many idiomatic expressions found in the
Old Syriac, particularly the conjunctive construction over against
the use of the infinitive, and the predilection towards the nominal
sentence, have been modified and adapted more to the Greek.
But… much of the idiomatic phraseology… was still retained.
(Early Versions of the New Testament; Manuscript Studies;
Arthur Voobus; 1954 pp. 97-98 )

And Kenyon says of this revision:

…he [the Peshitta redactor] must have used Greek MSS.
of a different family from that which is represented by the
Old Syriac. This [Old Syriac], as we have seen, belongs to
the d-type [Western Type], agreeing mainly with [Codex] D
and the Old Latin, and often also with [Codecies] ) [and] B;
while the Peshitto ranges itself rather with the authorities
of the a-type [Byzantine Type].
(Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament;
Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, K.C.B., F.B.A.; 1951 p. 164)


GENERAL ANTIQUITY OF THE OLD SYIAC

As we discussed earlier the Old Syriac is of the Western type of text
while the the Peshitta is of the Byzantine text type.

Scholars generally recognize the Western text type as one of the oldest
text types (some argue it is the oldest). At the same time the Byzantine
type of text is generally regarded as much later that the Western and
Alexandrian text types. Metzger writes:

“The Byzantine text… is, on the whole, the latest of several
distinctive types of the text of the New Testament.”
(A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament; 2nd Ed.;
Bruce Metzger p.7*)

The Western text type may well be the oldest Greek text type. Its claim to
antiquity seems solid. The quotations of the “New Testament” books by many
of the second century “Church Fathers” generally support the Western type
of text. Moreover it was clearly the Western type of text, which served as
the basis for the earliest versions including the Old Latin (a point which
will be further discussed in the Chapter on Latin Versions). Many of the
oldest Papyri fragments of the New Testament agree with the Western text
Type. Among these are:

P29 - This is a 3rd century fragment in the Oxford Bodl. Library
containing Acts 26:7-8, 20

P38 - This is a 3rd century fragment at the University of Michigan
containing Acts 18:27-19:6, 12-16

P45 - This is the well known 3rd century “Chester Beatty I” Papyri
containing several fragments from the Four Gospels and Acts.

P48 - This 3rd century fragment contains Acts 23:11-17, 25-29.

P69 – A 3rd century fragment containing Luke 22:41, 45-48; 58-61

P52 - This is the famous “John Rylands’ Fragment” containing John
18:31-33, 37-38. This fragment dates to about 130 C.E. and is the oldest
known fragment of any portion of the New Testament. This fragment follows
the Western Text against the traditional Greek text as shown below:

Jn. 18:33a
P52 follows the word order:
“entered then again into the praetorium Pilate”
In agreement with the Western type text of Codex D, the Old Latin and the
Latin Vulgate.

However the Alexandrian and Byzantine types (such as Codex ), Codex A, and
the Majority Text) read with the word order:
“entered then into the praetorium again Pilate”
- ), A, C2, Mj.

Thus the oldest fragment of any New Testament book is of the Western Text
type.

Not only is the Western text type of the Old Syriac older than the
Byzantine text type of the Peshitta but much of the earliest Aramaic
Church Literature cites readings as they appear in the Old Syriac rather
than the Peshitta, though later manuscripts of these same writings have
often been revised to agree with the readings in the Peshitta.

As Voobus writes:

While older liturgical manuscripts show the influence of the Old Syriac,
the revised manuscripts contain the text according to the Peshitta.
(Early Versions of the New Testament; Manuscript Studies;
Arthur Voobus; 1954 p. 103 )

One of the most ancient documents circulated in the early Church of the
East was the apocryphal “Acts of Thomas”. The acts themselves may well be
a first century production. They recount the story of how Thomas brought
the Messianic movement to the East. Within this ancient document the
Lord’s Prayer is quoted verbatim as it appears in the Old Syriac rather
than the Peshitta version.

Another foundational document in the ancient Church of the East is “The
Doctrine of ‘Addai”. According to the tradition of the Church of the East
this book was delivered to them in the first century by the Apostle ‘Addai
(Thaddeus). There are a number of places in which ‘Addai quotes or cites
the Gospels in agreement with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta (and the
Greek).

Another ancient Aramaic “Church Father” of the “Church of the East” was
Aphraates whoh wrote his Homilies in the years 337, 344, and 345 CE. In
his Homilies, Aphraates often quotes the Aramaic of the Gospels in
agreement with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta.

Among the best known and highly revered Aramaic “Church Fathers” of the
“Church of the East” was the fourth century “Church Father” Ephraim Syrus.
Ephraim often quoted and cited the Gospels in his works, often agreeing
with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta.

Many of these citations in the Doctrine of ‘Addai, Aphraates and Ephraim
Syrus. May be seen in my book The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament http://www.lulu.com/nazarene


(TO BE CONTINUED)

James Trimm

"A coward is a frightened man who's scared to be brave. A brave man is
only a coward who isn't scared of being frightened." - Maxwell Smart,
Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2009 at 12:47am
WHICH IS THE OLDEST ARAMAIC?
(Part 2)

By James Trimm


SEMITIC NATURE OF THE GREEK WESTERN TEXT

Matthew Black states, that “Semitisms” are “a special

feature of the text of [Codex] D”.
Black states:

“The Bezean [Western] text in all the Synoptic Gospels…
is more frequently stained with Aramaic constructions
and idiom than the [Alexandrian] text.”
(An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts; 1st & 2nd ed.

P. 212; 3rd ed. P. 277)

In fact in an extensive study of the occurrence of Semitisms

in the Book of Acts, Max Wilcox found something very

amazing, something which he viewed as a “textual problem”.

He found that Codex D (and the Greek Western text in

general) was far more replete with Semitisms than any of the

other Greek texts:

“ …there is the textual problem of Acts. In this connection

we may recall that in no inconsiderable number of places,

where the evidence indicated or suggested Semitism, that

evidence was not found in all the manuscripts, but was

confined to one manuscript or group of manuscripts,

frequently D (and its allies).”
(Semitisms of the Book of Acts; Max Wilcox; 1965; p. 185)

The Greek Western text of Codex D plays as a missing link

between the original Aramaic New Testament and the received

Greek text.

In Hebrew and Aramaic when a preposition applies to more

than one noun in a series the preposition is usually

repeated. In the example below we have a case where the

normal Aramaic grammar appears in the Old Syriac as well as

the Greek Western text of codex D both of which repeat the

preposition. However the Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek

text types eliminate the second occurrence of the

preposition creating a more natural Greek reading. In some

cases the Peshitta agrees with the Old Syriac but in some

instances the Peshitta has been revised to agree with the

Byzantine Greek.

Matthew 14:9
Greek Western text of Codex D:
”And because of the oath and because of the guests”

Byzantine and Alexandrian Greek:
”and because of the oath and the guests”


Mark 6:36
Codex D has:
"to the surrounding fields and to the villages"

Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek has:
“to the surrounding fields and villages"


Mark 8:31
Codex D:
"by the elders and by the chief priests and the scribes"

Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek:
"by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes"

Luke 2:34
Codex D:
"for fall and for rising"

Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek:
"for fall and rising"


Luke 2:52
Codex D:
“with God and with men”

Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek:
"with God and men"


The second evidence for the Aramaic origin of the Greek

Western type text of Codex D is its tendency to use two

verbs where the later Greek text types use a participle

construction. This is important because this type of use of

a participle construction is common in Greek (and in

English) but impossible in Aramaic.

The following is an example:

And having approached, the Tempter said to him….
(Mt. 4:3 from Greek Alexandrian and Byzantine)

But this grammatical construction is impossible in Aramaic

so when we look at the Aramaic we see the participle

construction replaced by a normal verb and an “and” placed

before the second verb as follows:

And he approached (to him) the Tempter and said to him…
(Mt. 4:3 from Aramaic; portion in parenthesis is in OS only)

Wherever the Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek use the

participle construction as shown above, the Aramaic has a

normal verbal construction followed by “and” prefixed to the

second verb as shown above. Now one might wrongly take this

as evidence that the NT had been written in Greek and that

the Aramaic was translated from the Greek. On the surface it

might appear that Mt. 4:3 is written in idiomatic Greek that

an Aramaic translator had to adjust for the Aramaic

language. (since the Aramaic could have been a natural

translation of the Greek but the Greek could not have been

translated literally from the Aramaic without being either a

paraphrase or a more idiomatically Greek revision of an

earlier Greek version). But the key missing link is the very

Semitic style of the Greek Western text type of Codex D.

The Aramaic has:

And approached (to him) he the Tempter and said to him…
(Mt. 4:3 from Aramaic; portion in parenthesis is in OS only)

The primitive Western Greek text of Codex D translates the

Aramaic literally to mean:

And approached (to him) he the Tempter and said to him
(Mt. 4:3 from Western Greek of Codex D)

And the later Greek scribes revised this into more idiomatic

Greek to mean:

And having approached, the Tempter said to him
(Mt. 4:3 from Byzantine and Alexandrian Greek)

Now one example does not make a pattern. But we have more

than one example. One can also cite LOTS of examples of this

same pattern throughout the text of Codex D where the

Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek use a participle

construction and the Western Greek uses a normal verbal

construction and adds an “and” before the second verb:

Mt. 4:3; 5:13; 9:28; 13:1, 4, 48; 17:7; 20:6, 30; 21:6; 25;

26:51; 27:58; 28:19 Mark 2:16; 4:36; 5:23; 8:10; 10:22;

12:20; 14:22 Luke. 5:14, 24; 8:27; 15:23; 19:5, 35 Jn. 6:11;

9:35; 11:17; 12:36

In addition, in some of the passages where the Greek Western

text of Codex D does use the participle construction, the

Western Greek STILL adds the “and” to the second verb, as if

an earlier version had the normal verbal construction and

had been revised to a less choppy participle construction

but the reviser had neglected to remove the “and” from the

second verb. Examples may be found in:

Mt. 27:33 Mk. 2:1; Mk. 5:27; 6:48; 7:25; 8:10; 10:22; 11:2;

14:63; 15:46; 16:11, 15 Lk. 8:8; 9:6 Jn 12:3

This pattern of literal translation from the Aramaic in the

Western type text and revision toward less choppy, more

flowing Greek in the Alexandrian and Byzantine text types

should forever satisfy those Aramaic Primacists who have

expressed doubt that the Greek Western text of Codex D is

the most primitive type of Greek text and, in fact, a

“missing link” between the original Aramaic and the

Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek text types.

Another evidence for the Aramaic origin of the Greek Western

type text of Codex D is that of the use of relative pronouns

(some English relative pronouns are: this, that, those,

these). Aramaic has no definite article (in English the

definite article is “the”). As a result Aramaic makes more

use of relative pronouns in order to compensate for its lack

of a definite article. However Greek does have definite

articles, making many of the relative pronouns in the

Aramaic unnecessary in the Greek versions. Now as we examine

the Greek Western text type of Codex D we find that yet

another pattern develops. In many places where the Aramaic

Old Syriac text uses a relative pronoun, Codex D retains the

relative pronoun (often also adding a definite article) and

then the Greek Alexandrian and Byzantine text types drop the

relative pronoun which is not really needed in the Greek,

and leave only a definite article. The following is a list

of examples:

Mt. 15:24
Codex D: "the sheep, those"
Alexandrian & Byzantine Greek: "the sheep"

Mt. 15:32
Codex D: "the crowd, this"
Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek: "the crowd"

Mk. 8:2
Codex D: “the crowd, this”
Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek: “the crowd”

Mk. 10:22
Codex D: “This the word”
Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek: “the word”

Luke 17:17
Codex D: “these ten”
Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek: “the ten”



WESTERN TEXT A TRANSLATION FROM ARAMAIC

Torrey refers to “…the Aramaic which (as I believe)

underlies the Bezan Grk….” (Our Translated Gospels p. 4 n.

19) and later refers to “…the Aramaic retro-version which

lies back of the Bezae Greek…” (ibid p. 134)

Fredric Henry Chase stated:

“The Syriac text of the Acts, on which large portions
of the Bezan text are based, is not that of the Syriac
Vulgate [the Peshitta]. It is that of an old Syriac

version,…
The conclusion that it is an Old Syriac text which lies
behind that of Codex D is founded on the consideration
of two lines of evidence—external and internal.
(The Old Syriac Element in the Text of Codex Bezae;
by Fredric Henry Chase B.D.; 1893 p. 1)

However, rather than come to the obvious conclusion that the

Greek Western text of D represents a translation from the

Aramaic Old Syriac text, Chase instead theorizes: The Bezan

text of the Acts is the result of an assimilation of a Greek

text to a Syriac text. (ibid) It is the conclusion of this

author that Torrey and Chase were each close to the truth.

Torrey was correct that the Greek Western text was a

translation from an Aramaic original but was blind to the

fact that the Aramaic original which lies behind the Western
Greek text was the Old Syriac. On the other hand Chase

recognized that the Old Syriac underlies the Greek Western

text, but failed to acknowledge that the Greek Western text

was a translation from an Aramaic original.

The evidence that the Old Syriac is the Aramaic which lies

behind the Greek Western text represented by Codex D is

clear. It is also clear that the Peshitta is a revision of

the Old Syriac. The following examples demonstrate this

point:

Matthew 14:9
Old Syriac: ”And because of the oath and because of the

guests”
Greek Western text of Codex D: ”And because of the oath and

because of the guests”
Byzantine and Alexandrian Greek: ”and because of the oath

and the guests”
Peshitta: ”but because of the oath and the guests”

In this example the Old Syriac repeats “because” as is

normal in Aramaic. The Western Greek translates literally.

The Byzantine (and Alexandrian) Greek were revised into

smoother Greek thus removing the additional “because” and

the Peshitta was revised to agree with the later Greek

reading.


Luke 2:52
Old Syriac: “with God and with the sons of man”
Codex D (Greek Western Type Text): “with God and with men”
Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek Text Types: "with God and

men"
Peshitta: “with God and men”

In this example the Old Syriac repeats the preposition

“with” as it should in Aramaic Grammer. The Greek Western

Text translates literally, retaining the additional “with”

even though this is choppy Greek. The Alexandrian and

Byzantine text types were revised into smoother Greek,

omitting the unneeded second preposition. Finally the

Peshitta was revised to agree with the later Greek reading

even though it is poor Aramaic.


Mt. 15:24
Old Syriac: "[the] flock, those"
Codex D: "the sheep, those"
Alexandrian & Byzantine Greek: "the sheep"
Peshitta: "[the] sheep"


The Aramaic uses a relative pronoun here (remember Aramaic

has no “the”) and the Greek Western Text translates

literally retaining the unneeded (in Greek) relative pronoun

“those”. The Alexandrian and Byzantine Greek were revised

to read more smoothly in Greek, removing the unneeded word

“those”. Finally the Peshitta was revised to agree with the

later Greek reading thus omitting the relative pronoun.


Mt. 18:2

DuTillet Hebrew Matthew:
“And Yeshua called to one boy…” (a certain boy)

Shem Tob Hebrew Matthew:
“And he called one boy…” (a certain boy)

Old Syriac Aramaic Matthew:
“And Yeshua called to one boy…” (a certain boy)

In the Hebrew and in the Old Syriac Aramaic (but not the

Peshitta) we have a common Semitic idiom by which a

“certain” thing is modified with the word “one”. In this

case Yeshua calls “one boy” in the Hebrew and Aramaic, i.e.

“a certain boy”.

Codex D has:
“And Iesus called the one boy…”

This Western Greek reading preserves the Semitic idiom “one

boy” which has no place in the Greek language. However the

later Greek has been revised into smoother Greek to read:

“And he called a boy…”

And the Peshitta was revised to agree with the later Greek

text to read:

“And Yeshua called a boy…”


HEBREW MATTHEW AND THE OLD SYRIAC

Many Peshitta Primacists have attempted to shrug off Hebrew

Matthew (Shem Tob and DuTillet both) as having no ancient

origins at all but as being late translations from Greek or

Latin made in the Middle Ages.

Many readings in Hebrew Matthew make it clear that it is not

a translation of either that Latin Vulgate or a Greek

Byzantine type of text but is of ancient origin having many

agreements with ancient versions unknown in the Middle Ages.

Matthew Black has noted these “unexpected variants” found in

DuTillet Matthew but then suggested that they could be

“satisfactorily accounted for by the assumption of an Old

Latin original for the Hebrew text.” However Black betrays

the shortcoming of his own theory by admitting that many of

these “unexpected variants [are] found elsewhere in Syriac

sources only.” (An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts

by Mathew Black 3rd edition; 1967 p. 295) In fact there are

several passages in which DuTillet agrees with the Old

Syriac against all other versions including the Old Latin:

An important quality of the Old Syriac Aramaic is its close

agreement with Hebrew Matthew as represented by the DuTillet

and Shem Tob versions. The frequent agreement between the

Old Syriac and Hebrew Matthew, combined with a lack of

correspondence between definite articles (in DuTillet and

the Greek) point to Hebrew Matthew as the source for the Old

Syriac Aramaic Matthew.

Among the more telling connections between Hebrew Matthew

and the Old Syriac are:

1:13 The DuTillet Hebrew manuscript of Matthew contains the

missing name "Avner" which occurs between Aviud and

Eliakim in the DuTillet Hebrew text of Mt. 1:13. The Old

Syriac Aramaic version of Matthew has "Aviur" where the

Peshitta and Greek have "Aviud" .

5:34
DT:”for it is Elohim’s throne (theirs)”
OS: ”which is Eloah’s (their) throne”
(both have the same grammatical error!)


CONCLUSION

I have done my best to explain some very complex issues in a

way that (I hope) anyone can understand without having a

knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and without already

having a background in the various text types and versions

of NT manuscripts.

I hope that this paper has clarified why I differ with the

Peshitta Primacy theory which Andrew Gabriel Roth has

maintained.

I believe the evidence is clear that the Old Syriac is the

oldest type of Aramaic text extant, that the Western Greek

text represents a literal Greek translation of this Aramaic.

Furthermore the Alexandrian and Byzantine text types

represent revisions of the Greek to a smoother Greek text.

Finally the Peshitta represents a revision of the Old Syriac

to a more Syriac, less Judaic dialect with somewhat better

agreement with the revised Greek Byzantine type of text.

James Trimm

For more info see my book:
The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
http://www.lulu.com/nazarene
Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2009 at 12:47am
Another example of the original reading being better preserved in the Old Syriac rather than the Peshitta can be found in Matt. 11:19 = Luke 7:35.

In some manuscripts and versions of Matthew including the Peshitta this verse has "deeds" rather than "children".

The original reading of Mt. 11:19 = Luke 7:35 is as we find it in the Old Syriac (and in the Peshitta Luke 7:35): BENEH – “her sons” (Hebrew Matthew also has “her sons”)

This Aramaic word found in the Old Syriac could be read as "beneh" (sons/children) or as "bineh" (deeds) depending on the vowels (which were unwritten in the first century).

Clearly the reading "my sons/children" is correct because Yeshua is referring back to Matt. 11:16 where Yeshua and Yochanan are likened to "children" playing in the marketplace.

This was badly translated into Greek as ERGON (works/deeds) in the Alexandrian text (as Codex ALEF)

But it was better translated into Greek as TEKNON (children) in the Western text (as Codex D)

Eventually the Western text prevailed in this reading and became the reading in most Byzantine type manuscripts.

However in any case the Peshitta does not have the word BINAH (her deeds) or BENAH (her sons) in Matthew 11:19 but ABDEH (her deeds) in this verse. And the Peshitta does not even agree with itself because in Luke 7:35 the Peshitta has BENAH (her sons).

The Peshitta does not have the original reading in Mt. 11:19 while the Old Syriac does.

The Peshitta was revised to agree with a very early Byzantine leaning type Greek text which happened to have this Alexandrian reading in this verse. The Peshitta editor revised the reading of Matt. 11:19 to ABDEH (her deeds) to better agree with the Greek ERGON but failed to make the same revision to Luke 7:35 which has BENEH “her sons”.

Roth translates “works” in both Matt. 11:19 and Luke 7:35 (despite the fact that those Peshitta mss. That include vowels indicate the word in Luke 7:35 means “her sons”).

The HRV translates “her sons” in both Matt. 11:19 and Luke 7:35.
Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2009 at 12:49am
Andrew Roth wrote:

Embarrassed over the fact that the Old Syriac was abominably treated by the monks who had it--that it was left to rot on a shelf for centuries and had the biography of a Roman saint written over the "holy script"--Trimm shifts gears to say that Peshitta mss were also treated this way in some cases.

If so, then James, NAME THE MANUSCRIPT OR BACK OFF. The COE has never scratched off sacred text and put other writing above it. It would go against everything they believe in to do so. Therefore, the burden is on you James to prove that they did, not me to prove they did not. What I believe is going on here is that Trimm is following the scholars who believe that the Old Syriac was the precursor to the Peshitta. These scholars also allege that the Old Syriac is a Peshitta mss, and therefore, since it is scratched off, a Peshitta family mss is also scratched off. Semantics, smoke and mirrors, is all that is.

However, once again I ask that we take the word of the people who have held to their traditions as to what does and what does not constitute their body of sacred writings. Also, there are some mss that have minor holes in them due to age, or whose ink has faded over the many centuries, but there is no mss in the Peshitta collection where a keeper in the COE deliberately scratched off holy text and put their grocery list or other things over it instead. It simply does not and cannot happen.

Name it James, go ahead, and I will check into it. But until I am proven wrong completely I will never, ever back off that this is a terrible falsehood and a smear on the COE that you have propagated.

In response to this I quoted Arthur Voobus:

Roth’s 6 point wrongly claims that I am “embarrassed” by the fact that our oldest copy of the Old Syriac is a palimpsest (scratched off, reused codex). There is no reason to be “embarrassed” at all as Arthur Voobus (who was until his death, easily the world’s leading authority on Syriac manuscripts) states:

"[speaking of Peshitta NT manuscripts] ...there are not only
ancient portions and fragments salvaged from the bindings of
books and in palimpsest leaves -- these belong incidentally
to the fifth and sixth centuries-- but there are also very
ancient manuscripts."
(Early Versions of the New Testament;
Manuscript Studies by Arthur Voobus;
Stockholm; 1954; page 89)

I now provide full descriptions of two palimpsests (velum mss. which had been scratched off and reused) in which the Peshitta version had been scratched off and the velum reused:

London, British Library, Add 14512
Palimpsest: 124 folios of vellum. Octavo. See Hatch 1946 p. 53 & pl. II.
See Wright 1870 p. 251, codex cccxii
Lower writings:
I. Folios 1 - 35 Sermons by Jacob of Serug or Batnae, written in the
VIth or VIIth century.
II. Folios 36 - 66, 125 - 144 A volume of discourses or sermons, written
in the VIth or VIIth century.
III. Fifty-four folios, folios 67 - 69, 72 - 88, 91 - 124 The book of
Isaiah according to the Peshitta version. The lower writing of these
folios is dated AG 771 = AD 459 to 460, i.e. of the Vth century.
IV. Folios 70, 71, 89 and 90 are from other codices. See Hatch for a
reference.
Upper writings: Choral services for the festivals of the year including
hymns by Ephrem Syrus and sermons by Jacob of Serug or Batnae;
imperfect. of the xith or xiith century, (though Hatch gives the date of
the upper writing as Xth century).

London, British Library, Add 14651
Palimpsest: Small Quarto. See Hatch 1946 p.153 & pl. CII. See Wright
1872 p. 1103, codex dccccxlviii
Upper writing: Extract: Lives Of holy Women; A Letter of Athanasius to
the virgins going to pray at Jerusalem; Various Lives, by John of Asia,
and others; Mar Jacob of Serug or Batnae, Three sermons; Ephrem Syrus,
sermon on Elijah and the widow of Zarepath. Jacob again, a sermon on
pride, Ephrem again, a sermon on the sinful woman, Jacob again, a sermon
on the ten virgins, Isaac of Antioch: a funeral sermon on priests and
deacons. 217 folios of vellum written in the Serta script, written in
the year of the Greeks 1161 = AD 849 or 850.
Lower writing: The four gospels according to the Peshitta version of the
Vth or VIth century written in the Estrangela script, (Wright gives a
date 100 years less ancient).
Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2009 at 12:49am
17136 Wright's codex ccccxxvii (see vol. 1, p. 344 f.). The underwriting
of this Ms has many of Paul's letters which Wright dates to the 6th cent.

17164 Wright's codex dccxlv. The underwriting of this Ms has Paul's
letter to the Romans which Wright dates to the 6th cent.

17195 Wright's codex dcccliv. The underwriting of this Ms has Paul's
letter to the Hebrews which Wright dates to the 6th cent.

17196 Wright's codex dcclxxxvii (see vol. 2, p. 776). The underwriting
of this Ms has large pieces of the gospels which Wright dates to the 6th
cent.
Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2009 at 12:50am
Examining the Doctrine of Providential Preservation
By James Trimm
An excerpt from The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament
http://www.lulu.com/nazarene


The doctrine of “Providential Preservation” is actually not a critical issue at all but a theological one. However, for many it is the primary reason for their rejection of the critical text in favor of the received text. Therefore we shall deal with this theological issue. Now since this is a theological issue, it may only be discussed on a theological basis. As a Nazarene Jew I will try to discuss this issue from my own understanding as a Nazarene, while at the same time interjecting thoughts on the issue from other popular theological positions.

It should be understood that some Peshitta Primacists hold to the superiority of the Peshitta text based solely on Critical evidence. This treatment of providential preserbvation is not directed to those who prefer the Peshitta text for critical reasons alone, but is addressed to those who prefer the Peshitta text based largely on the doctrine of Providential Preservation, on a theological rather than a critical basis.

First of all let us define the doctrine of “Providential Preservation”. The claim of the doctrine of Providential Preservation is that Elohim has "providentially preserved" a given text since it best represents the autographs. Within Greek Primacy this is applied to the Byzantine type texts which form the basis for the Greek Majority Text and the Greek Textus Receptus. KJV-only Greek Primacists also hold to this theory. Within Aramaic Primacy the Aramaic “received text” is the Aramaic Peshitta New Testament preserved by the “Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East”. This text is, like the Greek Received Text, of the Byzantine Text type.

At this point I should point out that the doctrine of Providential Preservation is often confused with the doctrine of Inerrancy. The doctrine of Inerrancy is simply the doctrine that the original autographs, from the hands of the original authors, were inerrant. This is not the same as the doctrine of Providential Preservation which teaches that Elohim has actively preserved that inerrant text in an inerrant form to this very day.

Now on the surface the doctrine of Providential Preservation might seem a valid corollary of the axiom of an Omnipotent Deity. However when we look deeper there are several problems with this doctrine which I would like to explore.

The first problem with Providential Preservation is that it presumes that Elohim will exercise his Omnipotence in a certain fashion. The Omnipotent One has not exercised his sovereignty to prevent poverty or injustice in the world. Why should we assume he would exercise his sovereignty to preserve the New Testamant text in a certain way?

As a Nazarene I do not believe Elohim has acted to preserve the uncorrupted faith in a majority received form (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Rabbinic Judaism) so why should I expect Him to have made special intervention in the preservation of the New Testament in its Majority Received form? This argument also applies to Protestants, Reformers and Restoration Christians who also see the uncorrupted “true faith” as the result of restoration and reconstruction and not simply receiving the majority faith as it was passed to them.

Elohim has not acted to perfectly preserve the original Hebrew text of the Tanak in its majority text (the Masoretic Text) or even in any one textual source. There are many examples where the reading of the Masoretic Text is clearly in error while the reading of another witness (often expressed in copies found among the Dead Sea Scrolls) clearly expresses the original reading. For example Psalm 145 is an acrostic Psalm. This means that each section of the Psalm begins with each of the 22 Hebrew letters from ALEF through TAV. However in the Masoretic Text the section that should begin with a NUN is missing from the text entirely! However in the Septuagint, the Peshitta Tanak, one Hebrew ms. from the middle ages, and the Qumran copy of this Psalm (11QPs(a)) the missing section appears immediately after Ps. 145:13: "YHWH is faithful to all his promises, and loving toward all he has made." This is just one example, many others could be given. If Elohim has not acted to preserve the inerrant text of the original Hebrew Tanak in its received majority text, then why should we assume that He has acted to preserve the New Testament in this fashion?

Another question arises from known textual corruption. Textual Corruption is a fact. Everyone admits that some texts have been corrupted. If Elohim acts to preserve the text providentially, then why has He allowed textual corruption at all? Are we to view these corruptions as things that the Omnipotent One overlooked in his ongoing effort to perfectly preserve the original text? Why has he allowed the Greek Majority text to become the more commonly accepted “received text”?

This brings us to our next issue. Even if we assume that Elohim has acted to providentially preserve the New Testament, why should we assume that Elohim has Providentially Preserved the text in a given way? Why assume that the Majority Aramaic text is that preserved text? Perhaps He has preserved the text in a minority text. Perhaps he has preserved the text in bits and pieces in various manuscripts by giving mankind the mental capability to identify these readings objectively? Perhaps He has preserved the original text in a clay jar in a yet to be discovered cave?

This brings us to our next consideration. Why should we assume that our generation is special? Surely everyone will admit that the original inerrant text has not been preserved to all people in all times. If we were having this debate in Europe 1,000 years ago we would almost certainly, as laymen, not have access to either the Greek or Aramaic Received Texts. In fact we would be unlikely to have access to text in our own language and if we were lucky, might have access to the Latin Vulgate. And if we were having this debate in the Americas 1,000 years ago we would certainly agree that the text would not be available to us in any language at all. So if we can agree that the original text has not been preserved to all people, at all times, why should we assume that our generation is special and have to have the perfectly preserved original text available to us in the majority received text?

Finally it must be recognized that within the realm of Aramaic Primacy this creates yet another issue. The Peshitta has no representatives for the books of 2Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude or Revelation. Why has Elohim not acted to preserve these books in the Aramaic Peshitta Text? In fact a complete acceptance of Providential Preservation of the Aramaic majority received text would lead to the rejection of the canonicity of these extra-Peshitta books, and in fact some Peshitta Primacists who hold to Providential Preservation have done just that.

My own view of the text of the New Testament is well illustrated by the Parable of the Talents. Like the stewards in this parable we are intended to apply ourselves to do the best we can with what we have. The text has come to us in many witnesses, none of which are perfect but each of which contains original readings. We are intended to use the brains that Elohim gave us to determine which readings are the most likely to be the original ones. Once we have done so then this critical text is the best text we can achieve. At this point this text should be the primary basis for our applied hermeneutics. And having accomplished this, Messiah will return to say “well done good and faithful servant”.

The determination as to which text has the reading which is most likely to be the original, must be based on critical criteria and not on the basis of an assumption that Elohim has intervened to preserve the Original text in the Received Majority text of the Peshitta.
Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2009 at 12:51am
n response to Andrew’s

EX-NIHILO: Exposing the Errors of "The Gospel According to James Trimm"

Throughout I refer to "my book" meaning The Hebrew and Aramaic Origin of the New Testament at http://www.lulu.com/nazarene

Roth lists 9 supposed errors in my Critical Text theory.

Roth’s point 1 has to do with a difference of opinion Andrew and I have over how to interpret the dalet clause in Eph. 2:15 and while this is a very interesting subject to debate… it has absolutely NOTHING to do with our subject. I want to avoid changing the subject to an entirely unrelated issue, so I will simply say that item 1 has absolutely no bearing on the debate between Peshitta Primacy (Majority Text) and Critical Text Theory.

Roth’s point 2 has to do with the KHAD (“one”) as a Semitism for “a certain”. Roth argues that there is no such Semitism. While my overall theory does not rest on this one idiom, let me make it clear that this is a real Semitism. The Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament by William Jennings lists “a” and “a certain” as a secondary meaning in Aramaic for KHAD (“one”). This usage occurs commonly in Hebrew and Aramaic because both languages lack any form of “an” or “a” (the indefinite article). Greek has an indefinite article, so in Greek, as in English one generally calls “a boy” not “one boy”. At any rate a comparison of passages demonstrates that the idiom occurs more frequently in the Old Syriac than in the Peshitta and is often reflected in the Greek Codex D (Western Text) supporting my theory).

Roth’s point 3 is to challenge my claims that Ephraim the Syrian in the fourth century often quotes a text which agrees with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta. In my book (pages 40-43) I cite 17 instances where Ephraim cites the Old Syriac over the Peshitta. On page 40 I cite 9 instances where the Syriac Church Father Aphraates (337-345) similarly cites the text as it appears in the Old Syriac over the Peshitta. Also I cite 3 cases where the “Doctrine of Addai” which the CoE dates to the first century, agrees with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta.

Roth refers often to the CoE which is short for the “Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, with Holy See at Babylon”. Roth seems to venerate the official positions of this Catholic Church. I do not agree that their positions impact this debate.

I will add that no all of the Church of the East officials agree with Roth, at least one has voiced his agreement with my theory as he writes:

While I appreciate your mutual interest in the Church of the East, as a
clergy member of the Church I appreciate the historical facts even more. Jovial [and James Trimm] is correct, the Old Syriac is closer to the autographs than the Peshitta and in fact the Old Syriac was in use in the Church of the East until the eleventh
century (see Voobus, "Studies in the History of the Gospel Text in Syriac). The
Old Syriac is integrated into the liturgy and quoted by the Syrian
Fathers.........but so too is the Peshitta! The Peshitta seems to be an
accommodation to the Western tradition (nothing new for the Church of the East) which began as an alternative and later (11th century?) became the norm.
Dimitri Grekoff,
Assyrian Church of the East
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Heb-Aram-NT/message/1257

I am not sure there is any real point to respond to in Roth’s point 4

Roth’s point 5 is worthy of a reply. This issue began when Roth had challenged the veracity of the Old Syriac on the basis that only the four Gospels have survived in this version in manuscript form and that our only witness to other books in this version is indirect (I deal with these indirect witnesses in depth in chapter 6 of my book.)

I have in the past said that if Roth wants to maintain that the Peshitta represents Elohim’s special preservation of the original Aramaic NT, that he would ultimately have to eliminate the canonicity of the books of 2Kefa, 2&3 Yochanan, Jude and Revelation. It seems that Roth certainly leans toward a 22 book NT Canon. In short his theory is essentially incompatible with the traditional 27 book NT Canon. If Yah has not preserved 2Kefa, 2&3 Yochanan, Jude or Revelation in the Peshitta, then there is no reason to believe he has actively preserved the other 22 books in the Peshitta either.
In short, to accept Roth’s theory to its fullest, means to eliminate 5 books from the canon, including Revelation.

This involves the doctrine of “Providential Preservation” which I will post on separately.

Roth does not even seem familiar with the contents of the Old Syriac. The Old Syriac preserves 94% of the Gospels and none of the Book of Acts at all, at least not in manuscript form (for secondary witnesses to the Old Syriac see chapter 6 of my book

How about anything other than 60% of the Gospels and a smattering of Acts?

Of the 3,780 verses of the four Gospels we lack only 227 verses in the Old
Syriac. In other words we are lacking only 6% of the text and that means
that 94% of the Aramaic Old Syriac text is represented by the two
fragmentary Old Syriac manuscripts that have been found thus far.

Now there is a BIG difference between 60% and 94%!

Roth’s 6 point wrongly claims that I am “embarrassed” by the fact that our oldest copy of the Old Syriac is a palimpsest (scratched off, reused codex). There is no reason to be “embarrassed” at all as Arthur Voobus (who was until his death, easily the world’s leading authority on Syriac manuscripts) states:

"[speaking of Peshitta NT manuscripts] ...there are not only
ancient portions and fragments salvaged from the bindings of
books and in palimpsest leaves -- these belong incidentally
to the fifth and sixth centuries-- but there are also very
ancient manuscripts."
(Early Versions of the New Testament;
Manuscript Studies by Arthur Voobus;
Stockholm; 1954; page 89)

Today I received an email from one of Voobus’ former students:

Dear James,

I studied under Voobus (back in the late 70s) and we looked at many "leaves" with Peshitta Syriac underneath the writing. I remember vividly how I was coached by Voobus after I got back from the Middle East where I microfimed many manuscripts for what is now the Voobus Syriac Institute. I also brought back two Syriac manuscripts which were purchased from private collections. I am not sure this would be legal now but back in the late 70's this was possible. I handed one of the mss to Voobus who immediately began to peel back the cover and exposed several leaves of Syriac, Arabic, and Kharshuni that were used to stiffen the binding. At first I was horrified that he was doing this to a "sacred" ms. But he explained how some of the most important "leaves" including palimpsests have been discovered this way.

I know this probably does not help you much but your statement is correct. I do not have access to a great library anymore, but I do recall there were some examples of palimsests in Hatch where he presents photos of Syriac texts including a few palimpsests. Also, Voobus over the course of 36 years saw many mss he was not able to microfilm but saw evidence of palimpsests, some of which he was able to identify and others in which he did not have enough time or liberty to view. So just because there is not a citation of a mss in a western university does not mean that these mss do not exist. There is a bias in academia against anything it does not verify.
I know that sometimes Voobus was not thorough enough in his writings but let me say he was about the most honest and scrupulous man I ever knew.

Remain in Peace
Father Dale A. Johnson (Barhanna)

I am working on actual manuscript numbers, but frankly this might involve traveling the globe, which I cannot afford to do right now. At this point I am more apt to accept the testimony of Voobus over Roth’s hear say from CoE officials.

Roth’s 7th point is that Origin supposedly quotes the Peshitta reading of Heb. 2:9 This is covered on pages 138-139 of my book discussing the Munster Hebrew text of Hebrews:

[Hebrews] 2:9 This is a passage of particular importance to students of the Peshitta text. This is one of the few passages in which there is a disagreement between various manuscripts of the Peshitta.

Munster’s Hebrew: For by the grace of Elohim…

Nestorian copies read: For apart from Eloah he tasted death…
Jacobite copies read: For by his grace Eloah tasted death…

CPA has: That by his grace Eloah tasted death…

This textual variant is also found in the Greek: 0121b, 0243, 424c, 1739:
For apart from God …

P46, ALEF, A, B, C, D :
For by the grace of God …

Although the reading “apart from” appears only in later Greek manuscripts it is supported by several “Church Fathers” who quote the passage in agreement with the reading “apart from”. These include Origen (254 CE), Ambrose (397 CE) , Jerome (420 CE) and Fulgentius (527 CE).

It is difficult to be certain which is the original reading. P46 demonstrates that the reading “grace” existed in the 3rd century while Origin’ quotation of the passage establishes that the reading existed in the 3rd century. Moreover the similarity of the appearance of the words in Greek, but not in Aramaic makes it clear that this variant originated in Greek and was brought into the Aramaic by way of revision.

(in the printed edition of my book you can see the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek readings in Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek fonts and can see that the words look alike in the Greek but not in the Aramaic)

I am not going to go into depth on Roth’s 9th point because like his first point it has nothing to do with our topic. Revelation does not exist in either the Peshitta or Old Syriac, and in my book I argue for a Hebrew original of Revelation and argue that in places Crawford was modified to agree with the Greek (see chapter 7 of my book).
Comment by Wayne Ingalls on March 5, 2009 at 12:37pm
To me, perhaps the most stunning statement is the one by Dimitri Grekoff of the Assyrian Church of the East that the Old Syriac was in use in the Assyrian Church of the East until the 11th century.

Wayne

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