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Being new so please excuse my ignorance.

Is there proof the gospels were written in aramaic before the greek?

Thank You

There is plenty of evidence that the Gospels have an underlying Aramaic layer. Some interpret this as the text being originally written in Aramaic (Aramaic Primacy) where others interpret this as the source materials used to compile the Gospels were originally in Aramaic, be they oral traditions or earlier documents (the so-called Q source, or other things like the Gospel of Thomas, now since lost -- this is called Aramaic Source Criticism).

Some of the more obscure ones that are among my favorites I've written up over on (check the Articles tab) but I'm sure that others will be chiming in shortly with their favorites, too. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Some seem to believe that the hypothetical "Q" document (the source of the Synoptic Gospels) was an Aramaic document composed of sayings of Jesus. Some believe John's source was a "Signs Gospel". There is, without a doubt, an Aramaic layer underneath our presently existing Greek versions, made evident by Aramaic wordplay found when translating the Greek text back into Aramaic. A scholarly reconstruction of these hypothetical documents can be found in The Complete Gospels by Robert J. Miller. I firmly believe that Q would be the notes of Jesus's disciples, some of whom later wrote organized Gospels in Aramaic by the leading of God's Holy Spirit.

The strongest evidence of Aramaic primacy is that the primary language of the Messiah and his earliest followers was Aramaic in various dialects. Jesus conversed with and taught Aramaic speakers from Galilee, Judea, Samaria, and even Syria. The Peshitta, whether it is the original or simply a faithful witness to an Aramaic original, contains many wordplays and puns, as well as Semetic poetry. The Peshitta is unusual in it's smooth language and poetic style, which is difficult to achieve with translations. The strongest evidence for an Aramaic ancestor to the Greek New Testament is polysemy, which is when a word can be translated in multiple ways and the various translations of the source text reflect it with multiple readings. Brother Steve has uncovered additional phenomena in his reconstruction of Jesus's native Galilean Aramaic dialect.
If you read the Illustrious Men by Jerome he also speaks of Hebrew/ Possibly Aramaic versions of Mathew and Mark, Also Papias confirms this as well.

However, one of the most compelling interesting evidences are the Abd Al Jabbar Text where a "Jewish-Christian" Sect in a Muslim Polemic outright say the greek traditions of text were not as valid as the Semitic one.

We Also know there is a quotation of Matthew from 95 C.E. in the Talmud by Rabban Gamaliel II in Aramaic which cites a perhaps an earlier version of Mathew in Tractate Shabbat 116B. We also have the Odes of Solomon which are some of the earliest Jewish Christian sources and correspond very heavily to the Peshitta version of John. Both texts are written in Syriac.
The proof is in the pudding... <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

I like what a famous Greek scholar had to say about The Peshitta, after closely examining the whole of it. He said "...It has no marks of the stiffness of a translation, but is written with the ease and fluency of an original:..."

And there is a very good reason for that.
The Peshitta used to be highly revered by scholars in the West, but now it's fallen into obscurity (this has a lot to do with Westcott & Hort, as well as the discovery of the Old Syriac versions). I believe that the Peshitta is, if not the original, the closest representative of the original Aramaic New Testament. I just think the wordplay, puns, poetry, and polysemy are way to strong as evidence for me to ignore.
As someone who knows very little about most things and almost nothing about the rest, let me say a few things:

There is currently an almost poisonous argument about "The First New Testament" copy. What would that first copy look like?
"OH!!! That would be the first all Greek copy of the Scriptures..." Do you see the problem? Aramaic couldn't be the "First" because Aramaic is not Greek.


Please look at the evidence presented on this site and draw your own conclusions. A lot of this material is persuasive. It may never rise to the level of PROOF for many but I believe it is naive at best to ignore what is plain in front of your face.

I follow "Lamb of God" arguments these days and have recently looked at the use of the Idiom. "You must be born again" appears to be Idiomatic (and Semitic in origin...) and such research is fruitful to see how these ideas must have been changed to fit into a Greek mindset.

There are problems!

Mark 6: 48 (RSV):

[48] And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,

There's at least one PhD thesis in this one verse by itself but notice the term "...fourth watch". Jewish fighters had 3 watches at night. "Fourth watch..." is a Roman military term. What's a Roman military term doing in the middle of the Book of Mark? Someone might say that it's a Greek term as well but that evades the point. What does this mean from an Aramaic perspective?

I believe you came to the right place to find your answers. This IS a complex question if you are considering it for the first time.

So this whole topic you bring up about Mark 6:48 really got me thinking.

I know within Judaism that there are Halachic divisions of time, They are called the "Zmanim." This can be referenced here:

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Basically the Rabbis have different ways of dividing up time within a day., the divisions vary some Rabbis said 3 and a half divisions or "milin." Others still said it was 4 divisions and the most ancient of sources within the Talmud said by Rav Bar Bar Hana in the name of Rav Yochanan (circa 180 C.E.), Say 5 divisions. so when I looked that passage up in Aramaic, the word there is "Matarata" which means "watch" in translation, but when I looked it up in talmud it means "bag." but is used in the context of the exchange of bags which is a metaphor for an equivocal exchange of value, Also of note "erev" (evening) in hebrew means something similar it means mixing, evoking the mixing of day and night.

I am wondering if anybody on the forum who is familiar enough with Talmud and Peshitta could answer this because it seems to be a Halachic reference not a Roman military one, but I could be wrong.
Lamentations 2: 19 (RSV):

[19] Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches!
Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord!
Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children,
who faint for hunger at the head of every street.

The Second Watch:

Judges 7: 19 (Moffatt):

[19] So, when Gideon and his hundred men reached the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just when the guard had been posted, they blew their trumpets and smashed the pitchers in their hands.

The Third Watch:

Exodus 14: 24 (RSV):

[24] And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down upon the host of the Egyptians, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians,

The idea that there were three watches in Jewish History goes back a long, long time. To make my other point a bit clearer, *IF* the "watches" are military terms, they were certainly not GREEK military terms since the Greeks did not claim Rulership over the Jews at this time (Except maybe in The Decapolis, mentioned in Mark to the Lunatic who was to return to the Decapolis to show how the Lord took pity on him. Still, the point stands...).

So, why the "Fourth Watch"? Obviously the "Cock Crowing" is important here. It may be as you suggest that there was another meaning to this idea - I wouldn't mind a bit if there was another alternative - but it appears to be pointing to something else.