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In a discussion regarding the primacy of Peshitta over GNT at another forum, I was met with this argument:

Quote:The Peshitta is written in Syriac, an Aramaic dialect from the East, whereas in the West (Jerusalem counts as West), Palestinian Aramaic would have been the common dialect. This would mean that, if the originals of those 22 books of the NT were originally written in Aramaic, they would have had to be translated into the Syriac dialect

I know its not quite right but I'm having trouble articulating why.

For one, it is not accurate to speak of "translating" from one dialect to another; I'm an American but I don't need a translator to communicate with Australian, even though we both speak different dialects of english.

I also know that "syriac" is a made-up word never used by native speakers of Aramaic, but what I'm not clear on is whether the word was made up to describe the entire Aramaic language, or, as my opponent suggests, to describe a particular eastern dialect of Aramaic.

Appreciation to anyone who can point me in the right direction, I'm just trying to share what I've learned and its becoming evident I have a lot more to learn still.
bknight Wrote:In a discussion regarding the primacy of Peshitta over GNT at another forum, I was met with this argument:

Quote:The Peshitta is written in Syriac, an Aramaic dialect from the East, whereas in the West (Jerusalem counts as West), Palestinian Aramaic would have been the common dialect. This would mean that, if the originals of those 22 books of the NT were originally written in Aramaic, they would have had to be translated into the Syriac dialect

I know its not quite right but I'm having trouble articulating why.

For one, it is not accurate to speak of "translating" from one dialect to another; I'm an American but I don't need a translator to communicate with Australian, even though we both speak different dialects of english.

I also know that "syriac" is a made-up word never used by native speakers of Aramaic, but what I'm not clear on is whether the word was made up to describe the entire Aramaic language, or, as my opponent suggests, to describe a particular eastern dialect of Aramaic.

Appreciation to anyone who can point me in the right direction, I'm just trying to share what I've learned and its becoming evident I have a lot more to learn still.

Ask the poster if the supposed "Palestinian Aramaic" that is preserved in the Greek ("Talitha Qumi", "Maran Atha", etc.) needed any translating into "Syriac."

Sit back and watch your opponent dance around your question. It's fun. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

+Shamasha
I know several Aramaic primacists, like Janet Magiera, believe the Peshitta is merely the most reliable text of the New Testament that we have in Aramaic. She believes the New Testament was written in the Palestinian dialect. I have heard some people state that the Aramaic of Jesus is "very different" from the Aramaic of the Peshitta, but it seems to me like the Syriac we have in this version of the New Testament and the Aramaic of Christ are exactly alike. All of the words of Jesus that we have recorded in the Greek New Testament fit perfectly in with Syriac. James Murdock, Adam Clarke, and Joseph Bryant Rotherham (all three biblical scholars, two translators and one a commentator) referred to the language of Jesus as Syriac.
I know several Aramaic primacists, like Janet Magiera, believe the Peshitta is merely the most reliable text of the New Testament that we have in Aramaic. She believes the New Testament was written in the Palestinian dialect. I have heard some people state that the Aramaic of Jesus is "very different" from the Aramaic of the Peshitta, but it seems to me like the Syriac we have in this version of the New Testament and the Aramaic of Christ are exactly alike. All of the words of Jesus that we have recorded in the Greek New Testament fit perfectly in with Syriac. James Murdock, Adam Clarke, and Joseph Bryant Rotherham (all three biblical scholars, two translators and one a commentator) referred to the language of Jesus as Syriac. Rotherham makes brief mention of Aramaic primacy in the introduction to his Emphasized Bible.
Maybe all those "Palestinian Aramaic" dialect words found in the Greek NT version just by chance read the same as the "Eastern Syriac" Aramaic dialect of the Peshitta. Perhaps they can show which words are not the same? Put the ball in their court.
I think the dialects (plural) that Jesus and the Apostles spoke were many. I also think the composers of the NT chose the one dialect that was most widespread in the world, to reach the widest possible audience.

That's why you see the Aramaic words in the GNT are exactly like "Syriac" (my God, I hate that term). It's a translation of it.

+Shamasha
I prefer to use "Aramaic" myself. People almost treat "Syriac" and Aramaic as two completely different things.
ScorpioSniper2 Wrote:I prefer to use "Aramaic" myself. People almost treat "Syriac" and Aramaic as two completely different things.

And that, my dear friend, is the Greek Primacist goal. By giving a certain Aramaic dialect a completely different name, they hope to disassociate it from Aramaic completely in your mind. Words have powerful imagery.

Imagine if Mishnaic Hebrew were renamed to, simply, "Mishnaic." Over time, people would begin to disassociate it from "regular" Hebrew.

Imagine if Koine Greek were simply renamed to "Koinaic." Over time, people would begin to disassociate it from "regular" Greek.

Why isn't "Palestinian Aramaic" called "Palestiniac?" Why isn't Galilean Aramaic called "Galiliniac?" Why isn't Talmudic Aramaic called "Talmudiac?" Why isn't the Aramaic of the Zohar called "Zohardiac?"

Why, exactly, is the Aramaic of Edessa the *only* Aramaic dialect that is worthy to have its own etymologically-unrelated name? Ponder that.

The fact that the GNT is written in a single dialect of Greek doesn't bother anyone. Never mind that none of the Apostles had this as their native tongue. However.... merely suggest that the New Testament might have been written in Aramaic, and suddenly they get very picky, and their requirements change - it must be EXACTLY the same Aramaic dialect the Apostles spoke at the time. (a single dialect, too. Never mind Luke was a Syrian, and Paul was from Tarsus in modern day Turkey.)

Their argument for Koine Greek is that it was the most widespread dialect, and it makes sense for the New Testament to have been written in this particular dialect, so as to reach the widest audience.

They don't afford the same to the Peshitta, which was written in the dialect in most common use among the Aramaic-speaking world. They don't consider that the vast majority of Aramaic-speaking Gentiles alive during that time would have understood that dialect. Somehow, Aramaic was not a factor outside of the Jews or the Holy Land. Never mind the vast Aramaic "Syriac" speakers (Jew and Gentile) just outside the border in the other empire. The Apostles didn't have them in mind when penning the NT.

The Apostles knew Koine Greek so well, but another "eastern" dialect of their own language was too hard for them to write in. Of course, it makes sense. Right?

Ponder the above for a moment. Are we in a fair fight with our opponents, with conditions like these?

+Shamasha
I used to identify myself as a Greek primacist, but now I'm more neutral (but leaning more toward Aramaic for the most part). I just love studying the Peshitta text. Just out of curiosity, how similar is the Talmud, Targum, and Babylonian Aramaic dialects to the Syrian dialect?
ScorpioSniper2 Wrote:I used to identify myself as a Greek primacist, but now I'm more neutral (but leaning more toward Aramaic for the most part). I just love studying the Peshitta text. Just out of curiosity, how similar is the Talmud, Targum, and Babylonian Aramaic dialects to the Syrian dialect?

Any serious Aramaic speaker (I don't mean student, I mean someone who actually speaks any dialect of modern Aramaic on a daily basis with family and friends) can, with only a little bit of effort, understand any other modern or even ancient dialect.

Aramaic has a nearly four thousand year history. The farther you go back in time, like English, the more study is needed.

However, dialects from the same general time period are less different. First century Aramaic, no matter which geographic area it was spoken in, had a very high degree of intelligibility.

What I'm saying is that if someone understands Edessene Aramaic of the first century, they will have very little trouble understanding Galilean Aramaic of the first century.

That's why Eusebius didn't bring up a dialectic divide in the story of the literary exchange between Our Lord and King Abgar of Edessa. Eusebius wasn't an uneducated man. He was a student of Aramaic, and he obviously didn't see a linguistic problem in the exchange (whether it really happened or not is not important.)

The various Aramaic dialects you listed, and the Aramaic of the Peshitta (even though written in different scripts) are very close, about as close as various English dialects. There are small differences even among the ones you listed, but not anything that would make them not understandable to a speaker of a different dialect who actually studied the differences and adjusted himself to them.

If a non-native speaker can study and translate multiple dialects (many clergy and professors can do just that), how hard would it be for a speaker in any dialect to learn others?

Aramaic has always been varied in dialect, as varied as modern Arabic or modern Spanish. Doesn't mean we should call Mexico's Spanish "Mexicaniac."

+Shamasha
Paul Younan Wrote:Aramaic has always been varied in dialect, as varied as modern Arabic or modern Spanish. Doesn't mean we should call Mexico's Spanish "Mexicaniac."

+Shamasha

Paul, right <!-- s:mad: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/mad.gif" alt=":mad:" title="Mad" /><!-- s:mad: -->
Let the world also cease then calling us Dutch: lovers of windmills, wearing wooden shoes, tulips, etc <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
Shlama,


just wanted to say that i've enjoyed the contributions made so far in this thread. good points worthy of serious consideration by the Greek-Primacists.

my own offering:

this is just a sampling of English dialects, but it is interesting. any English speakers here not understand the audio samples in the following link?

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://aschmann.net/AmEng/#LargeMap5Right">http://aschmann.net/AmEng/#LargeMap5Right</a><!-- m -->

hover your cursor over the map that comes up, and click on the green circle next to a city to hear the dialect in typically a youtube audio link.


i'm a Texan, and i just don't think those Iron Mountain, Michigan goobers will get what i'm trying to say. i'm gonna start writing in Esperanto from now on to be clear...


Chayim b'Moshiach,
Jeremy
Nice link, Jeremy! I love hearing the different American dialects of English.

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to restate this very important point about what we have to deal with in the Greek Primacist camp:

Quote:The fact that the GNT is written in a single dialect of Greek doesn't bother anyone. Never mind that none of the Apostles had this as their native tongue. However.... merely suggest that the New Testament might have been written in Aramaic, and suddenly they get very picky, and their requirements change - it must be EXACTLY the same Aramaic dialect the Apostles spoke at the time. (a single dialect, too. Never mind Luke was a Syrian, and Paul was from Tarsus in modern day Turkey.)

+Shamasha
distazo Wrote:
Paul Younan Wrote:Aramaic has always been varied in dialect, as varied as modern Arabic or modern Spanish. Doesn't mean we should call Mexico's Spanish "Mexicaniac."

+Shamasha

Paul, right <!-- s:mad: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/mad.gif" alt=":mad:" title="Mad" /><!-- s:mad: -->
Let the world also cease then calling us Dutch: lovers of windmills, wearing wooden shoes, tulips, etc <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

And, you guys make the best beer in the world. OK, not really, that's Belgium. But, close enough.

+Shamasha
Paul Younan Wrote:Nice link, Jeremy! I love hearing the different American dialects of English.

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to restate this very important point about what we have to deal with in the Greek Primacist camp:

Quote:The fact that the GNT is written in a single dialect of Greek doesn't bother anyone. Never mind that none of the Apostles had this as their native tongue. However.... merely suggest that the New Testament might have been written in Aramaic, and suddenly they get very picky, and their requirements change - it must be EXACTLY the same Aramaic dialect the Apostles spoke at the time. (a single dialect, too. Never mind Luke was a Syrian, and Paul was from Tarsus in modern day Turkey.)

+Shamasha


Shlama,


yeah, that is a great point to remember, because it effectively reduces that argument from their side to ZERO!


Chayim b'Moshiach,
Jeremy
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