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Greek words in Peshitta - jdefrancisco - 06-11-2019

I would like to hear various opinions on this question:  There are various Greek loan words in the Peshitta.  Examples are pentecosta (Acts 2), namosa, Christiana, etc.  These words beg several questions.  Were they in common usage by Jews in the 1st century?  Were they put into the Peshitta text later?  Why were words like Shavuot, Oreta, Meshikya not used in their place?  This should be especially important for Peshitta primacists.  All viewpoints are welcome and will be helpful to me.  Thank you.


RE: Greek words in Peshitta - Nimrod Warda - 06-14-2019

(06-11-2019, 10:31 PM)jdefrancisco Wrote: I would like to hear various opinions on this question:  There are various Greek loan words in the Peshitta.  Examples are pentecosta (Acts 2), namosa, Christiana, etc.  These words beg several questions.  Were they in common usage by Jews in the 1st century?  Were they put into the Peshitta text later?  Why were words like Shavuot, Oreta, Meshikya not used in their place?  This should be especially important for Peshitta primacists.  All viewpoints are welcome and will be helpful to me.  Thank you.

Hello jdefrancisco,

These types of questions have been answered elsewhere in the forum previously, when it was more active many years ago (i.e. before social media took over).  Nevertheless, with a bit of digging you will find lots of useful discussions.  For now, below is a brief summary of of few things others have explained previously.

First, most of the Greek loan-words found in the Peshitta (148 in total) fall into fairly predictable categories:

(a) units of measure and weight in use at the time in the Roman empire;

(b) items bought/sold/traded in the Roman empire;

© titles of officer ranks, government officials, etc.;

(d) names of locales; or

(e) cross-cultural or commonly known terminology, including some religious expressions.

This is to be expected since these Aramaic-speakers lived on the eastern edge of a Greek-language dominated empire.

Next, the word "Christyana" specifically is only used in three places in the Peshitta (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16).  In all three cases the writer is either referencing to or writing to Greek speaking people, hence using the term in context.

For a modern example of this happening, think about the below scenario.


Many Neo-Aramaic (Assyrian - Syriac) speakers here in the U.S. will commonly say something like:

"Ahu Poleesa qam yawillee ticket. Zilee court oo preelee 100 dollare".

(Translation: That policeman gave me a ticket. I went to court and paid 100 dollars.)

Notice that of course we have English loan-words here in America that they do not use in Iraq (i.e. poleesa, court and dollare). This is to be expected of all languages based on context.

In short, if we did not see Greek loan-words (especially of that nature) in the text of the Peshitta, then it would be impossible that it were written by Jewish Aramaic-speakers living in 1st-century Palestine.



Lastly, the PowerPoint presentation found in the below link can also help clarify many misunderstandings when it comes to the origins of the Peshitta.
http://www.peshitta.org/images/Peshitta.pps

Regards,

Nimrod Warda


RE: Greek words in Peshitta - Thirdwoe - 06-14-2019

The main languages of the realm in which the Christians who spoke and read Aramaic, such as Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew would understandably have some bleed over. Loan words are common in such cases. It happens with the English lingo as well.


RE: Greek words in Peshitta - Thomas - 02-19-2020

Quote:Why were words like Shavuot, Oreta, Meshikya not used in their place?

This is a good question, and Nimrod's common categories for loan words above doesn't address these three terms.  I would think they are important enough in the Jewish mindset to stay Hebrew / Aramaic, and not slip into loanword usage.  But then again, other religious words unique to Judaism, such as "Sanhedrin," "synagogue," and "Diaspora" all come from a Greek or Latin root.

By the way, Oreta / Aurayta *does* appears in the Peshitta, though only three times (Matt. 11:13; 12:5; 22:40).  The fact that OSS (Old Syriac Sinaiticus) uses "Aurayta" 8 times (Matt. 22:36, 40; 23:23; Luke 2:27, 39; 24:44; John 7:19, 49, 51; 12:34) makes OSS appeal to me more than the Peshitta in this particular regard.

However, "namusa" *is* used in the (Jewish) Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on 1Sa 2:13 and (Jewish) Targum Psalms for Psa 1:2, so it has at least some witness in other Jewish sources outside of the Peshitta KN ("NT"), not to mention that it is used over 200 times in the Peshitta Tanakh, which I hold to have been composed originally by Jews.

Real quick, I disagree with some of the evidences of Peshitta "primacy" from that Powerpoint posted up above. For instance, there is no contradiction to begin with in the slide that says,

"Who named the child?
^Thereforethe Lord himself will give you a sign; Behold, a virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
Greek Gospels
Matthew 1:21 - “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Luke 1: 31 - “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”"

This is narrow thinking to call this a "contradiction." The angel could have told *both* Yoseph and Miriam to name him "Yeshua." If you consider this a "contradiction," then you're going to have a difficult time defending the Peshitta "NT" against other alleged contradictions, such as "I saw 1 angel," and "there were 2 angels" (just for example). So this kind of so-called evidence above means nothing to me.

Next, the proposed reading of Mat 7:6 in the Peshitta is wrong: "“Do not hang rings on dogs: and cast not your pearls before swine; lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Aramaic version)"

This reading has no lexical support, though it would make for a nice parallelism between "rings" and "pearls." But it simply doesn't work. The Peshitta in Mat 7:6 reads "קֻודשָׁא" and not "קדשׁא" (cf. Gen 24:22 in PT, TO). The difference between the "vav/waw" is important, given that "קֻודשָׁא" never *once* means "ring / earring" in 300 other places--200 occurrences in the Peshitta Tanakh and Targum Onkelos, and 100 times in the Peshitta KN ("NT").

And I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of erroneous claim about a superior reading in the Peshitta isn't common to a lot of the alleged "mistranslations" and "polysemy" examples. One more for now.

The Greek translators mistook “Bnayah” to mean “her children” instead of the proper translation of “her works.” (Mat 11:19). So the "Bnayah" refers to the Peshitta's reading in Luk 7:35, and you think it means "works"? Just show me one (or more) other places where בּנֵיה means "works" (with certainty, and not ambiguous claims like Luk 7:35).

Lastly, claims of polysemy have long since lost their luster to me, since simple logic proves that if the Peshitta wasn't translated from the Greek, nor (based on the vast differences between the Peshitta and Greek) was the Greek translated from the Peshitta.

What I mean is this. Simply read the Peshitta, and read Greek versions / manuscripts. They differ so much from each other, that it is impossible that one was translated from the other. Also, I don't see much lexical support for many examples of polysemy, meaning actual verses cited to show that an Aramaic word can legitimately be understood in multiple ways. Mostly, the claims seem to be based on dictionary entries, which themselves come from translators' opinions about literature, which makes somewhat of circular reasoning.

An exception to this would be the Peshitta's reading of חֵבלֵ (chebel) in Act 2:24, which has lexical support from both the Peshitta Tanakh (and Hebrew in this case), and the Peshitta KN ("NT"). But most other examples aren't cited with many examples showing that the Aramaic word truly has more than one meaning. And even the rare cases like this one in Act 2:24 just *may* show that the Peshitta had a more logical reading there. But that doesn't mean that the Peshitta came first, or was more inspired. Scribes tend to smooth things out, and the Lectio difficilior potior principle of textual criticism could actually argue that the Greek, which makes less sense in those places, actually came first.

In other words, polysemy claims are essentially illegitimate and irrelevant to me. I could say more against many Peshitta "primacy" claims, but this will have to suffice for now.