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Full Version: Arabia misspelled in Peshitta Gal 1:17 / 4:25?
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Great day everybody,

It has been pointed out that the word "Arabia" is spelled with an aleph instead of an ayin in Peshitta Gal 1:17 and 4:25, and that this is a mistake that a Jewish scribe would never make. All the Tanakh versions (MT, PT, Targums) spell "Arabia" with an ayin, so is this a mistake in the Peshitta or evidence for translation / transliteration from the Greek spelling of "Arabia"?

Grace and peace,

Hi Thomas

In Aramaic the word for "Arabia" is spelled with an Aleph, not an Ayin. There are no spelling errors in the Peshitta, especially not any relating to the spelling of a bordering nation <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Dear Paul,

It is nice to finally meet you. Please see my responses below:

Quote:In Aramaic the word for "Arabia" is spelled with an Aleph, not an Ayin.

Being the junior here, I must be mistaken, but weren?t the Peshitta Tanakh and targums written in Aramaic? All the occurrences of ?Arabia? in the Tanakh (2Ch 9:14, Isa 21:13, Jer 25:24, Eze 27:21) are spelled with an ?ayin? and not an ?aleph,? both in Hebrew and Aramaic.

Isaiah 21:13
(?burden on Arabia in the forests of Arabia?) ? Westminster Leningrad
(?oracle of Arabia in the evening in Arabia?) ? Peshitta Tanakh
(?the cup of the curse to Arabia?) ? Targum Jonathan

In Galatians 1:17, 4:25, even the modern Hebrew versions (Delitzsch, Salkinson) chose to spell ?Arabia? with an ?ayin? instead of an "aleph." I haven?t checked other Aramaic versions, but the Khabouris & Mingana both spell it with an ?aleph.?

Quote:There are no spelling errors in the Peshitta

What would these be classified as? The word "mhymna" (eunuch / believer) appears five times in Mat 19:12 of Khabouris, but it is clearly missing the "nun" in one of those places....

Mark 11:15 Khabouris has "hykla" (Temple) spelled as "hykna"

I could probably find plenty more where those came from.

Hi Thomas

Anything translated into Aramaic from Hebrew by Jews is going to retain the Ayin for Arabia, since that is how it is spelled in their native Hebrew. This goes for any translation from the Tanakh (including the Peshitta OT), or the Targums themselves because they are referencing the underlying Hebrew.

Native Aramaic spells Arabia (the geographic name) with an Aleph, which is how we know that the Peshitta NT wasn't originally translated from Hebrew. However, we spell "Arab" (the ethnicity) with an Ayin. For reference, see Acts 2:11 for "Arab" (the ethnic designation) spelled with an Ayin.

The other examples (for instance, from the Khabouris) you gave are scribal errors, where missing letters and such are common. Scribal errors aren't the topic here.

I think, for example, what you are referring to is the spelling of Arabia in Aramaic in such places as 1Kings 10:15, where it is spelled ayin-resh-bet.

You can view it for yourself here: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

I will leave it for others more fluent in their ability to explain to do so if they choose, but this (and other instances) are not a case of an incorrect spelling, but of a change in spelling where one letter is used for another (similar sounding ones).

Others can correct me if I am wrong, but here is another example:

Nehar is the Aramaic word for 'stream'. It is found in Ezra and Daniel. In Daniel 7:10, you can see it spelled as nun-hey-resh. In the other instances however, it contains the hey suffix indicating 'the' (similar to Hebrew, except as a suffix instead of a prefix). So in those other instances, it would be translated 'the stream'. And yet, right along with those instances of hey being used as a suffix indicating 'the', we have the familiar aleph suffix being used to indicate 'the' as well. One example can be found in Ezra 4:10 where you have 'raba' (resh-bet-[aleph suffix]) indicating 'the great', and right in the same sentence 'neharah' (nun-hey-resh-[hey suffix]) indicating 'the stream'.

Both are correct spellings, and the hey and aleph contain similar sounds.

Hi Ronen

The alternation of similar sounding consonants are very common in Semitic languages. For this case in particular, reference Oraham's Dictionary for alternating entries for "Arabia" spelled with both Ayin and Aleph.

None of this points to any sort of origin in Greek - but is merely a well known anomaly in all Semitic languages.

Dear Paul,

Thank you so much for enlightening me, as I wasn't aware that "Arabia" was spelled with an ayin in Acts 2:11, nor did I consider your point that the Peshitta Tanakh was a translation of the Hebrew Tanakh while the Peshitta NT wasn't likely to have been translated from any Hebrew or Greek source, and that might account for an "original" Aramaic spelling with the aleph.

(05-23-2015, 01:49 PM)Paul Younan Wrote: [ -> ]Hi Thomas

In Aramaic the word for "Arabia" is spelled with an Aleph, not an Ayin.
You're such a spoil sport Big Grin