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I really hope to become a New Testament scholar and write books on theology and textual criticism, as well as Aramaic Primacy. It would be great to build on the findings of William Norton, George Lamsa, Paul Younan, Dave Bauscher, and Andrew Roth to bring Aramaic Primacy to the mainstream. I use to think Aramaic Primacy was ridiculous, but I believe now that the Peshitta is the best New Testament text we have available. I firmly believe that God led me to the Peshitta. I love God's Word and I am thankful to have the Peshitta. Thank you all for the great work you have done in showing the antiquity and importance of the Aramaic language and the Peshitta New Testament. God bless all of you!
Goodness, you remind me of the zeal and focus I had when I first started down the path of Aramaic Studies.

I only wish that I could persuade you towards a path of more conventional, rigorous academic achievement in the direction of Aramaic Source Criticism (or even entice you towards Galilean Aramaic Studies). But perhaps with time and honest effort you may come upon that path on your own. :-)

Good luck and God bless.
When I get the money, I certainly do plan on starting to study the Galilean Aramaic work that you're doing on your website. It seems very interesting. I'm hoping to be in college in January. I just graduated in May, so I have a long road ahead of me. Working in a field that requires me to study the Bible is one of my big desires.
Steve,

Could you be wrong about the origin's of the Eastern Peshitta text? Yes or no? Please answer.

Also, if one were to take your position, then do we have the text as it was, when The Apostles wrote it in the 1st century, in any language text? If not the Greek versions (and if so, which one), then what Aramaic text can be considered true to form, as it was in the 1st century? Has no one preserved the text as it was?

It seems to me, based on what I have heard you say so far, is that The New Testament of the 1st century Church 30-100 A.D., has not survived down through the centuries, as it was worded then.

If you believe the Greek is the original form, then which Greek text?, if you believe it was a lost "Galilean text", then how would you be able to reconstruct it?

I too believe that the Eastern Peshitta, is the most accurate text available of the NT for us to study, as it existed in the 1st century. Exact, word for word, letter for letter? I don't know for sure, but, it is a far better text than what I see in the Greek versions.
Thirdwoe Wrote:Steve,

Could you be wrong about the origin's of the Eastern Peshitta text? Yes or no? Please answer.

I won't make absolute truth statements in such a manner as I do not believe that they are helpful. What I will say, though, is that given what is known about the Peshitta, and the cumulative effort of thousands of scholars over many, many years, I believe that it is very unlikely that the conventional understanding of the origins of the Peshitta are far off the mark.

Quote:Also, if one were to take your position, then do we have the text as it was, when The Apostles wrote it in the 1st century, in any language text? If not the Greek versions (and if so, which one), then what Aramaic text can be considered true to form, as it was in the 1st century? Has no one preserved the text as it was?

It seems to me, based on what I have heard you say so far, is that The New Testament of the 1st century Church 30-100 A.D., has not survived down through the centuries, as it was worded then.

If you believe the Greek is the original form, then which Greek text?, if you believe it was a lost "Galilean text", then how would you be able to reconstruct it?

In order to answer your question, I must first break it down into its constituent parts to give appropriate context:

1) It is conventionally understood that the New Testament, as a unit or decided upon volume of canon, did not exist in the period of 30-100 A.D.. Where many of the individual works did exist, the present understanding is that 1) the individual writers didn't think they were writing scripture, 2) some of them were not exactly as we have them today or are in turn smaller compilations of multiple works, themselves, and 3) that *set* of the canon was decided upon after that period (we can even see this in the tradition of the Peshitta, this wasn't settled until *much* later). So if I were to refer to the New Testament as "the text" as if it is a singular work, it would be disingenuous. Even in Jesus' day, what we call the Tanakh *today* wasn't fully settled upon. This was a major source of friction between the Saducees and the Pharisees, for example.

2) To ask whether something is "true to form" or "the original form" is a bit nebulous and isn't truly the heart of the issue. As it stands there are no surviving documents about Jesus in the actual language he spoke (old Galilean Aramaic) as if the choice here is between Greek or Syriac, there would have to be some translation somewhere as Jesus and his earliest Disciples from Galilee spoke neither (although one is much closer than the other).

Obtaining or finding the "original," in this sense, is chasing a rainbow.

To wax theological for a moment, think of of 2 Cor 3:6. Whether or not we get it down to the exact "original wording" is inconsequential. If we harp upon one version over another as some infallible holy grail, we cannot help but be off the mark *every single time.* The exact word-for-word, punctuation-mark-for-punctuation-mark "original" can never be obtained as much as we cannot obtain the "original" Peshitta as if you're after the *original* it doesn't matter how small the differences: All one can do if they're after the *original* is argue "acceptable" thresholds of difference.

The devil is certainly in those details (or rather arguing over them), and that is how entire theologies -- and denominations -- can split over minutia.

Quote:I too believe that the Eastern Peshitta, is the most accurate text available of the NT for us to study, as it existed in the 1st century. Exact, word for word, letter for letter? I don't know for sure, but, it is a far better text than what I see in the Greek versions.

I'm not sure I could call it the "most accurate" rather than call it "a good witness." It is an old document with a (mostly) solid textual transmission, and it is written in a language that is closer to the Aramaic Jesus spoke than Greek by several orders of magnitude. When working on my own reconstructions, I do consult the Peshitta as one of my three major Aramaic sources to get a first-glance idea of what to look for -- those being the Peshitta, the Old Syriac, and the Christian Palestinian Aramaic Lectionary. Dialect-wise, portions of the CPA Lectionary are about as old as the Peshitta, and the language is closer to the dialect that Jesus spoke than Syriac (the vocabulary and grammar are both very distinctly Western); however, it is fragmented and unstandardized and has been heavily influenced by Syriac in several regards in a manner that old Galilean would not have been. This leaves no optimal *one* source.

In the end when a holographic approach is needed, no *one* tool or witness is perfect or "the best," nor should *one* tool be relied upon exclusively as an authority. When you consult *many* sources and tools that help broaden your context while narrowing your solutions, you can more readily arrive at an informed and contextualized picture.
Steve. Thanks for all your thoughts there, I know you are not wanting to speak just to me, so you went further than I had asked...but that's fine, I understand.

It seems you assume I think certain ways, which I don't think like at all...and you have listened to the same things I have looks like, and have believed them it seems. But, I'm past all that speculation and educated guesses now, Steve...thank God.

I've spent 30 years looking at all the witnesses, and listening to all the ideas of what might have been, and what went wrong here and there... though, when it comes to The Message, all the text versions say the very same thing. Men didn't mess things up that bad, not in the Greek and Latin versions, or in the edited Aramaic versions.

But, as for the original content and how well the whole content has been preserved...I say you can't beat The Eastern Peshitta Aramaic Text, not even close, which I say best represents what was 1st read in the 1st Century.

If you don't agree, then I challenge you to show me/us any text that you might feel better represents the original form of the text, all things considered, as it existed in the 1st century, I would like to know what it is, if you know.

.
Thirdwoe Wrote:If you don't agree, then I challenge you to show me/us any text that you might feel better represents the original form of the text, all things considered, as it existed in the 1st century, I would like to know what it is, if you know.
.

Shlama Akhi,

I don't mean to speak for Akhan Steve, but my understanding of his posts throughout the years gives me the impression that the concept of a single source representing something more accurate than the Peshitta is simply not an option in his thinking. As he has stated several times, his understanding of these issues has evolved over time.

In some ways, Akhan Steve is not much different in approach than the mainstream Greek Primacists and their reconstructionalist/critical method. The only difference that I can really see is that (to his credit, and my blessing/support) perhaps Steve looks to filter the problem through the Aramaic language, rather than the Greek. But in almost all other aspects (i.e., no one text, textual criticism, reverse engineering, etc.) his approach is not much different than those who subscribe to the theory that the texts in question were written in an Indo-European tongue.

To summarize:

Greek Primacist: Jesus and the Apostles spoke Aramaic (and at times, Greek and Latin), but the authors of the NT committed the writings first in Greek. And there is no surviving text that best represents the "original." So we must be critical in our approach and reconstruct.

Steve Caruso: Jesus and the Apostles spoke (Galilean! <-- stress here always) Aramaic (and at times, Greek and Latin), and the authors of the NT committed the writings first in this one particular dialect (stress here!). And there is no surviving text that best represents the "original." So we must be critical in our approach and reconstruct (see his website, and posts here, for examples.)

In other words, I believe that Akhan Steve's main focus is not on the original language of the New Testament, or which single version best represents the accurate transmission of the text from the 1st century to today. I believe his main focus is on reconstructing what he believes must have been the language that Jesus and all His Disciples spoke, and use that as the "filter" (if I may) that he uses to better understand *whatever* text or manuscript he is looking for insight into. Whether that is the Greek(s), or the CPA, or the Peshitta is of little significance to his approach.

Akhan Steve, not too much unlike our Greek Primacist friends, believes the "original" is lost and no one bothered to save it. Maybe one day it will be found in a cave somewhere, and look just like how Steve envisioned it. But in lieu of that miracle, and in the meantime, it is our mission now to reconstruct, each man to himself (or, each camp to itself) what that original must've looked like, in our own wisdom, after much prayer (for the non-Atheists in this field) and study.

I do believe Akhan Steve will tell you that the "what it is" in your question above, does not exist. Your question, rather, should be rephrased as "what they are, possibly, in your opinion?"

Akhi Steve, this post was made in love and I in no way meant to butt in. If I've mis-represented your views, please let me know and my apologies in advance.

+Shamasha
Thirdwoe Wrote:Steve. Thanks for all your thoughts there, I know you are not wanting to speak just to me, so you went further than I had asked...but that's fine, I understand.

It seems you assume I think certain ways, which I don't think like at all...and you have listened to the same things I have looks like, and have believed them it seems. But, I'm past all that speculation and educated guesses now, Steve...thank God.

Please don't think that I was trying to talk past you or speak broadly. I simply wanted my own position to be properly understood, in context. Nothing further.

I'm also prone to ramble and well... anyone can see where that lands me. :-)

Quote:...

If you don't agree, then I challenge you to show me/us any text that you might feel better represents the original form of the text, all things considered, as it existed in the 1st century, I would like to know what it is, if you know.

To this end, I am going to have to partly defer to Akhan Paul's subsequent post as he's seeing where I think our collective disconnect is:

Paul Younan Wrote:I believe that Akhan Steve's main focus is not on the original language of the New Testament, or which single version best represents the accurate transmission of the text from the 1st century to today. I believe his main focus is on reconstructing what he believes must have been the language that Jesus and all His Disciples spoke, and use that as the "filter" (if I may) that he uses to better understand *whatever* text or manuscript he is looking for insight into. Whether that is the Greek(s), or the CPA, or the Peshitta is of little significance to his approach.

Akhan Steve, not too much unlike our Greek Primacist friends, believes the "original" is lost and no one bothered to save it. Maybe one day it will be found in a cave somewhere, and look just like how Steve envisioned it. But in lieu of that miracle, and in the meantime, it is our mission now to reconstruct, each man to himself (or, each camp to itself) what that original must've looked like, in our own wisdom, after much prayer (for the non-Atheists in this field) and study.

I do believe Akhan Steve will tell you that the "what it is" in your question above, does not exist. Your question, rather, should be rephrased as "what they are, possibly, in your opinion?"

What you said, Akhi Paul, is on the whole essentially correct with some minor qualifications.

I do not quite feel that "no one bothered to save" the original in the same sort of way that I feel that the caretakers of the Library of Alexandria "didn't bother" to try and save their stacks (as a trained Librarian, myself, I can all too readily imagine the sheer terror of such a situation). But life happens, most readily when you're making other plans. Before the time of Josiah, even the Torah was apparently lost, and I can only imagine the difficulties of early Christians living in persecution. In the case of the New Testament as a single volume, all we have are fragments and partial copies (all in Greek) until the 4th century, and many of the more complete New Testaments from *that* time period contain a number of "non-cannonical" books. Even as that stands, several hundred years for *any* complete text in any language is a large gap and one that has yet, in my opinion, to be bridged in any definitive manner.

Also, I do not quite believe that it's a matter of "each man/camp to himself." There is a very large body of research that has come before us and there is ongoing research to be done that must be rooted in what has already been explored. Otherwise, it becomes like that one joke about two Baptists (or other insert-denomination-here's) who met on a bridge, if you know the one I'm talking about. :-)

So, yes do not believe that there is a singular New Testament text as a unit that is definitively the best "choice" or "best example" overall; I could not point you towards one. I could only give my opinion on what is known about individual pericopes, vis-a-vis what was likely said and in what contexts.

I'm trying to compile what I've found all in once place over at AramaicNT.org for reference, but it's a continual work in progress and draws from a very large number of sources. I'm quite sure that it will not be finished to my satisfaction within my own lifetime.
I understand Akh Steven, our work is never quite complete is it? Again I commend you and your enthusiasm for the Aramaic language. You truly inspire me, and I am sure, others. And I am grateful that you understood my post in the spirit I intended it.

We may have different opinions when looking at the same evidence, but that's ok with me. Our focus is on related, but yet different things. I am happy that your study enriched your life and the lives of those who share your passion. It certainly enriches our study here and is an important opposing viewpoint that adds value to the topics we discuss.

God bless and regards.

+Shamasha
Brother Steve,

I have tried that for many years now, and find that it is an endless critiquing guessing game.

But, the more I study the Eastern Aramaic Peshitta text, the more I see that it has the best text (I have yet to see the problems that the Greek versions have), and it's readings are also witnessed by 2nd century sources, which no doubt come from a 1st century text. Also the amazing purity and agreement of the Eastern Peshitta Manuscripts themselves, says something important to me, that the other versions just don't say.

I'm not meaning to put anyone down...I've just been there, done that, and am done with it. I feel very safe with what I find in the Eastern Peshitta text. And if you know of anything that is amiss there, please show me where and why it is lacking...and please know...I'm not looking for a fight. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Shlama,
Chuck
I do agree with Steve we have more sources to use as an object of study, it's not just and only the (as)syrian text as if that IS the Original, just to name an example, where only a Greek John 8 includes the woman in aldultery story, which to me is certainly authentic.
The apostles impossibly (like in Acts 15) could have written using Estrangelo to the congregations using the Sriac dialect, just to name an example, another sample where Paul spoke to the Athens, in Aramaic? No, of course, in Greek, so Acts 17 is a translation of the 'pure original', not the original itself.

But I do not cease to be surprised. For instance, John 19:19,20 is writing about the writing above Yeshua's cross. Was it a stone tablet? According to the Greek it was a 'titron' (and that can be either stone or wood, is it?). And the Syriac lexicon seems to imply that as well, (compare Lamsa translation) John 19:19. So, it looks as if somebody could write in an instance of time, during that timeframe, in 3 languages, on stone tablets, I?m not a historian, but writing on stone tables in 3 languages looks like an expensive and time consuming operation.
But the same Syraic word is used in Acts 27, where the people from the boot escaped to the coast using 'stone tables or 'titrons'? <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> I think not, so the correct translation must be a (wooden) board, since boats were made of wood.

You cannot get this kind of nice details using a lexicon, because these lexicons, of course, have been made while comparing the Greek NT, so kinda, tiny mistakes are being included in the modern Aramaic translations as well, unless you really do a word-context research on the peshitta itself. (Dukhrana is really helpful)
The story of the women caught in adultery is found in a number of places in the Greek version of the Gospels, and not in just one Gospel book either, and no one can tell for sure if any of the places that it has been placed there in the Greek copies, is where it really belongs, or if it was originally part of any of the 4 Gospels. There is also speculation that it came in from "the gospel of the Hebrews", which was seen in the 2nd century, but is no longer extant. So...there is a big question, even in the Greek versions and Greek tradition, if it really is authentic or not.

Distazo, maybe someone can make a NT with the Aramaic language being used when it is Aramaic being spoken by the people, (Galilean, or whatever is thought to be the Aramaic dialect in use in the narration there), or Hebrew, or Latin, or when the Greek is perhaps used in certain places as well...then this multilingual NT text could then be rendered into regular classic Peshitta Aramaic in Estrangela...and guess what you will have. The Aramaic Peshitta. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

I don't say we should not look at the other language versions, but I don't look for the original text there, and try to find it. I believe I have found it in the Eastern Peshitta text.

If I'm wrong, show me where it isn't the original form of the wording, as it was seen in the 1st century, and given by the Apostles to the Church of the East. Do you have an example where you think it isn't the original words? Let's look at it if so.

Blessings,
Chuck
Thirdwoe Wrote:If I'm wrong, show me where it isn't the original form of the wording, as it was seen in the 1st century, and given by the Apostles to the Church of the East. Do you have an example where you think it isn't the original words? Let's look at it if so.

Well, there are inherent subtle differences in dialect between Matthew and the other gospels. Which one is the original wording? It seems that Luke used more common Aramaic, while Matthew was using more native Jewish Aramaic.

There is also a different wording at all between the gospels. So, this begs the question, which line did Jeshua exactly say?

Tell you what? It does not matter really.
If you believe that Yeshua today still speaks to people who seek him, I've not heard once a witnessing that Yeshua complained to somebody about our todays Bible translations. Something he could do, if the 'original wording' is so important.
What is important, is The Message of Salvation through The Messiah....and we have that, preserved by God. And I believe that it has been best preserved in the Eastern Aramaic Peshitta text, which I believe is the oldest and best form that has come down to us. If I could be proven wrong about that, I'd be happy to know of a better one.

But, don't get me wrong, I'm not a Peshitta only kind of guy, who thinks all the others should be burned or is of the devil, or some crazy headed idea like that...it's just that they are not as pure through their transmission of copies...and we can't tell which of the families might be the most true text as it was in the 1st century Greek version.

We don't have the audible words that were spoken in some audio recording, that would be the original form of what Jesus said. but we have what was written down about what was said. And when you have various eye witnesses to what was said audibly, you might get more info from one and less from another, as some might remember things more than others, or some might leave out some details that the others mention. It's amazing that there is such agreement when you think about it, and only God could help them remember all those words that Jesus spoke...I often wonder just how that all happened exactly.

Blessings,
Chuck
Thirdwoe Wrote:What is important, is The Message of Salvation through The Messiah....and we have that, preserved by God. And I believe that it has been best preserved in the Eastern Aramaic Peshitta text, which I believe is the oldest and best form that has come down to us. If I could be proven wrong about that, I'd be happy to know of a better one.

I hope you're right. But up to now, it comes to 'believe', since you said: "I believe". We cannot be certain if the 22 differences with the UBS text when compared with the khabouris, is really just faulty at the side of the western Peshitto, that's just a believe. The statement which I have red here (don't know who said it) that the Peshitto was changed to match with the Greek, is not really credible.
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